In the 16th century, Arya Penangsang, the enemy of the Sultanate of Pajang (now Central Java), was defeated by Ki Ageng Archipelago. No one thought that this event would be significant for the existence of Tembi Village. Arya Penangsang offered Alas Mentaok (Alas means “forest”) as a tribute to Ki Ageng Arrowing in 1558.
According to ancient Javanese history, Alas Mentaok was once the ancient Hindu Buddhist Mataram kingdom (Mataram Kuno), which fell. The fall of the ancient Mataram kingdom was caused by two events: the eruption of Merapi which destroyed and buried most of the royal temples, and the economic-political crisis between 927-929 BC. Ki Ageng Nusantara changed the face of Alas Mentaok. He cleared the Mentaok forest and built a village, Kotagede (meaning “new city”), which started as a small center where his family and relatives lived in 1577.
Ki Ageng Penggahan was the founder of this small village and had built Kotagede for 7 years before he died and was succeeded by his son, Sutawijaya or better known as Panembahan Senapati, who eventually became the first king of the New Mataram Kingdom (now known as the Yogyakarta Sultanate). After Sutawijaya died in 1606, his son Mas Jolang continued his father’s throne as king of the New Mataram Kingdom. He strengthened the royal army to expand the territory of the Kingdom. After 12 years in power and the conquest of Ponorogo, Kediri, Kertosono and Wirosobo, Mas Jolang died in his final battle at Krapyak in 1613.His son Pangeran Arya Martapura replaced him temporarily, but due to ill health, before dying he gave the throne to his son Raden Mas Rangsang. who later became known as Sultan Agung Senapati Ingalaga. Towards the end of Sultan Agung’s reign, royal politics became unstable. Sultan Agung himself was a very wise leader, but many people in the kingdom and in his family had conflicting political interests, due to the interference of the Dutch government through his trade partnership V.O.C (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, Dutch East India Company). The political situation was increasingly critical in the royal family of the New Mataram kingdom. The fighting resulted in a toxic environment for the inhabitants of the kingdom, especially for children and adolescents to live and study in their early years. Therefore, the royal family decided to send their children and youth to live away from the palace in a safe, neutral and healthy atmosphere to continue their education and self-development. Tembi was chosen as the location for the young royal family to spend most of their day. The couple Kyai and Nyai Tembini, are the founders of this learning hermitage, which is known as Dalem Katemben. Kyai and Nyai Tembini become teachers and mentors of all children of the royal family. Children learn martial arts, traditional music and other traditional art forms. They teach philosophy, history and character development. By the guidance of Kyai and Nyai Tembini, the youth of the New Mataram Kingdom were raised to be strong, humble, tolerant and caring for the needs of others based on the teachings of their Javanese ancestors.
Taking time travel and returning to the present, now we can tour Tembi village and enjoy the authentic nuances of the Javanese countryside. You can visit the historical remnants of the heyday of the Tembi hermitage in the form of a tomb under a sacred banyan tree, where Kyai Tembini and Nyai Tembini were last seen. It was there that one of his beloved students, Prince Diposono, was buried. Although now Dalem Katemben no longer exists, and traces of the traditional institutional legacy that go with it can no longer be found, Tembi village remains special, because the cultural heritage and Javanese practices that were before taught by Kyai and Nyai Tembini which are full of meaning have become integrated into the daily life of residents.