The scent of flowers and frankincense fills the air, accompanying the people who had gathered since the early hours of the morning at the tombs of Mataram’s kings in Pajimatan, Yogyakarta. The hundreds of steps that lead up to the Supit Urang Gate fail to dissuade them from Ngalap Berkah (looking for blessings) through the Nguras Enceh ritual every month of Suro.
The Nguras Enceh ritual is usually held on Friday Kliwon, based on the Javanese calendar. This year, however, it took place on Tuesday Kliwon in the Suro month.
The ritual is a form of purification through the intercession of sacred water from four enceh (jars from the Sultan Agung era). Sequentially from east to west, there are the Enceh Nyai Danurmurti from the Kingdom of Sriwijaya (Palembang, South Sumatra), Enceh Kyai Danurmaya from the Kingdom of Samudera Pasai (Aceh), Enceh Kyai Mendung from the Kingdom of Ngerum (Turkey) and Enceh Nyai Siyem from the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand). This is a form of respect from the four kingdoms to Sultan Agung along with the Mataram Kingdom he led.
In the Nguras Enceh procession, there were two groups of abdi dalem (courtiers) on duty from the Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat sultanate and the Surakarta Hadiningrat palace. The two groups of courtiers distributed sacred water from the enceh to the people who had been patiently waiting.
Only courtiers who have the title of Tumenggung or Ngabei titles were allowed to take water from every enceh. The people flocked to get sacred water from the four enceh. They believe the water offers blessings, giving them health and prosperity, and fertilizing their agricultural land.