No, this is not a Bali Hotel. Royal Palace Bali Klungkung is an interesting place to discover a little bit of the glorious history of this island of the gods and its kings and rituals. It is a good reason to explore the east of Bali; you will visit the center of a provincial town not explored and developed for tourist. And on the way there you drive through coastal areas and also through rice fields and little villages.
This is a perfect day excursion combined with for example River Rafting; that is how we came here. Or you can also go further to the east from here and visit the Temple in the Bat Cave or Pura Goa Lawah, or go the mother temple of Besakih further to the north.
Klungkung was the seat of power of the descendants of the Majapahit kings from East Java. The first great king was Raja Kepakisan the first of the dynasty Dewa Agung (great god)who took seat in Gelgel Bali. After some mismanagement and misfortunes the kings moved to Klungkung and built this new palace in 1686. This was still considered the center of Bali and other kings although somewhat independent followed the guidance in government, diplomacy and arts of the ruler of Klungkung.
The palace was bombarded by the Dutch and destroyed in 1908 after which the king Dewa Agung together with other kings lead the puputan the ceremonial suicide, since it was clear that the Balinese could not push back occupation. Given the fact that most of the Balinese royalty are descendant from this long line of kings, Klungkung and its history are still important to the whole of Bali.
Two stately pavilions sit in lotus pond gardens in the center of the city of Klungkung in the East of Bali. They are a reminder of the power and glory of Dewa Agung and long gone times. They used to host the highest court of law in Bali. The Wayang style paintings on the ceilings depict the different punishments and also rewards awaiting people in hell or paradise for their actions; or how the Balinese view it: Karma Pala, every action bears fruit, be it good or bad.
Three Brahmana high priests would sit in judgment here, even during Dutch colonial rule cases on customs and traditional law were still heard here. All Kings of Bali still met here during the full moon of every fourth month and the high King of Klungkung would give his directives and decisions. The Kertha Gosa pavilion was also used for audiences granted to guests and foreigners by the King.
Of course most people come to visit the royal palace Bali Klungkung from the south and a few other centers. To the east you will find Padang Bai harbor it is the departure point for ferries to Lombok and other islands. Cruise ships also stop here and embark and disembark passengers. In olden days when we took the ferry and also a small cruise ship to visit Komodo, this harbor was pretty empty and forlorn. Today there are a few accommodation choices together with cafes and eateries. I will soon go and visit and report on this site.
Even further east you will find the tourist center of Candidasa with yellow sand beach and several good hotels and resorts. This beach has been developed for many years and still remains a hidden gem. It is quiet and calm, far away from the huge centers of the south.
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