Kertha Gosa Tracing Klungkung’s history
For anyone who is especially interested in history, Kertha Gosa could be an alternative tourist attraction. VisitingKertha Gosa is like tracing the history of Klungkung.
Kertha Gosa is located in downtown Klungkung, about 40 kilometers east of Denpasar. It takes only about 45 minutes to get there by car or motorcycle. You will pass through Gianyar regency during the trip, with Kertha Gosa lying in the heart of Klungkung regency.
Kertha Gosa is a telling memorial of the Klungkung kingdom’s past glories. It was built during the reign of Ida I Dewa Agung Jambe, one of the most charismatic kings of Klungkung. Even though it was smaller than other kingdoms in Bali, Klungkung’s rulers had always been respected as “kings of kings” because of their direct blood relationship with the rulers of East Java’s mighty Majapahit empire that conquered Bali in the 14th century.
The compound comprises two main open pavilions, the Bale Kertha Gosa and the much larger Bale Kambang, which appears to float in the middle of a lotus pond. During the kingdom period, Bale Kertha Gosa was a place where kings from all over Bali convened for their meetings. It was also the judicial compound where Brahmin high priests examined legal disputes, charged criminals and dispensed punishments; hence the name Kertha Gosa, which in the Balinese language means “the Hall of Justice”.
In the Bale Kertha Gosa, there are six chairs and one table used for the gathering of Balinese kings and a law court. On the ceiling of Bale Kertha Gosa are 144 panels of paintings drawn in the Kamasan style, an old style of painting from Klungkung. Kamasan is a small village about 5 kilometers south of Semarapura. During the feudal period, the village was home to the palace’s most accomplished artisans.
The panels narrate the Bima Swarga, an episode from the popular Hindu epic Mahabharata. In that episode, Bima, the most powerful member of the Pandawa, is instructed by his mother Kunti to go to hell and rescue the souls of his father, Pandu, and his stepmother, Madri.
There are two other establishments in the area, the Pemedal Agung and the Semara Jaya Museum. The Pemedal Agung is the main gate to Klungkung palace. Nowadays, however, the main palace has been transformed into a housing complex, leaving only the main gate.
In the museum, there are many ancient objects that have historical value. For instance, a stone throne, the original chair used in Bale Kertha Gosa, ancient endek cloth, keris and old newspaper collections.
The ticket seller, Ida Bagus YudiWiguna, said that around 50 to 200 tourists visit every day. “Most of the tourists visiting Kertha Gosa are
Europeans. There are also domestic visitors coming from Jakarta and other cities in Java,” Wiguna said.
To enter Kertha Gosa, visitors pay Rp 12,000 (US$1.27) for adults, while children receive 50 percent discount and pay only Rp 6,000.