An old palace restored
Published/Last edited or updated: 19th April, 2016
The large two-storey teak building was originally built in 1885 for the then-sultan, Sultan Mohammad Jalaluddin III, apparently without a single nail.
The Sultan moved to a new residence (the Yellow House, a short walk from the Dalam Loka) in the early 1930s. The palace was largely abandoned from that point on and fell into a state of disrepair. Extensively restored since then, Dalam Loka has had a redo at least twice, first very badly in the 1980s, then later around 2009-10 it was completely and properly restored, or rebuilt really by a Japanese-funded project, perhaps with nails this time around. It rests on 99 teak columns, a representation of the 99 names of Allah, we were told.
Dalam Loka has a cavernous interior and while there are a few photos on display in the first anteroom you enter, most of the rest is bare and undecorated. You’re welcome to explore throughout though -- watch your step on the stairs to the upper floor (from where you can sneak a view over the surrounds). The palace in Bima is considerably more interesting for the artefacts inside, but Dalam Loka is an impressive building from outside. A large mosque sits right beside it.
The Balai Kuning (Yellow House) is a short walk up the road from Dalam Loka. To reach it, walk out of Dalam Loka onto Jalan Sudirman, turn left, then take the first right (Jalan Doktor Wahidin) and follow it north a couple of blocks. Cross Jalan Merdeka and Balai Kuning is on your right. You can’t miss it as it is bright peach and yellow, set back off the road behind a lawn. The descendants of the Sultan still live here and there is apparently a small museum on site, but nobody appeared to be home when we wandered by ... despite a benhur (horsecart) driver steering us in from the fence and banging on the door trying to raise someone.
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.