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Kertha Gosa, Bali Overview

Kertha Gosa in Klungklung, Bali is a walled complex featuring two primary structures: the Bale Kertha Gosa halls with kamasan-style painted ceilings, and the Bale Kambang pavilion that is surrounded by a moat. Locally referred to as the Taman Gili Kertha Gosa, this grandiose structure was previously used as a court of justice, a place where the ruler could discuss the affairs of the state with the Brahman judges.

The Kertha Gosa was commissioned by the last ruler of the Klungkung Kingdom, Dewa Agung Jambe. Kertha Gosa, or Kerta Gosa, is a part of the regal Puri Semarapura Palace Complex. Along with being recognized as a National Heritage Site, this splendid exemplar of heritage is open to the public and is a renowned stopover while touring Bali.

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History of Kertha Gosa

Even though the main structure of Kertha Gosa was built in the early years of the eighteenth century, the monument has undergone a number of changes in the years to come. In 1908, a battle broke out between Dewa Agung Jambe and the Dutch military expedition, widely known as the Puputan Klungkung, which witnessed the death of the former.

Shortly after that, the Dutch were in power in Indonesia, and this landmark acted as a place where violators of the law were persecuted. This is the reason why Kertha Gosa is also known as the ‘Hall of Justice’. During this time, the inner courtyards of the Semarapura Palace were demolished. Following the earthquake that hit this place in 1971, Kertha Gosa was renovated. The latest renovation of the site took place in 2014.

Features of Kertha Gosa

Grand and spacious, the halls of Kertha Gosa lay sprawled within a walled compound. Delightful, traditional Balinese architecture can be found in the majority of structures present within the complex, which include the gates and the walls. One of the most interesting aspects of the building is the sheer beauty of the ceilings, painted in the renowned Kamasan style, which depict scenes from the Hindu epics like Mahabharata and Ramayana.

A section of the ceiling is solely depicted to the episode of Bhima Swarga. Paintings in this style reflect the conventional Hindu-Javanese culture of Bali. A majority of these paintings depict spiritual guidance as well as religious teachings, which include the various phases of human life, karma, a human being’s journey from birth to death, reincarnation, and the attainment of nirvana, among other things.

The Bale Kambang floating hall is encompassed by a moat which teems with colourful lotuses, and its painted ceilings narrate tales from the ancient Javanese Sutasoma epic. Two bridges on each side lead to this pavilion and are ornate with guardian statues. To the west of the complex stands a museum which displays several artefacts of Klungkung’s rich history.

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