DAYS 9 - 10



Day 9 : Wednesday 23rd of may

Gianyar (market)

Gianyar is bustling market town, famous for its Babi Guling, roast-suckling pig, which is sold at stalls in a small enclave in the center of the town.




Capital of the Klungkung District, this town is known for the famous Royal Courts of Justice of Klungkung.  They are a reminder of the power and glory of this former kingdom.  Meaning literally "island garden," the Taman Gili complex consists of the Bale Kambang and the Kerta Gosa, set within an extensive garden enclosure and framed by a tall gateway to the west.

These two stately pavilions in their lotus pond gardens at the center of the town of Klungkung, were built in the 18th century, at which time they acted as the islandís highest court of law. Their fantastic ceiling murals in the traditional "Wayang" style of painting depict the punishments in hell for wrong-doers, as well as the rewards heaven for those who are good and honest in their lifetime. 

The scenes picture terrifying episodes defendants would meet after their deaths, before rebirth as dogs, snakes, or poisonous mushrooms. Thieves are boiled in oil in large copper kettles; souls are castrated, beaten, burned, and torn; birds peck out eyes; decapitated whores walk planks over seas of flames; unfortunates are sawn in half for disrespecting their parents; liars suffer clawing by tigers; women who underwent abortions have their breasts gnawed away by rats; miscreants are crushed by the elephant-king Gajahraja.  All these lurid punishments are executed by fierce little demonic spirits called buta who work in the Kingdom of the Dead. They place wrongdoers under sword-trees which they then shake; they remove the intestines through the anuses of those who farted in public. Old maids are chased by boars and poked with tusks; childless, promiscuous woman are forced to suckle a huge caterpillar. Lawbreakers were obliged to attend their own trials. While relatives waited in the adjoining Bale Kambang, the accused would kneel before the all-powerful tribunal, their eyes taking in the horrendous punishments portrayed on the ceiling above. But if the wrongdoers lifted their eyes from the horrors of hell, they could perhaps find some comfort.  Above hell's gruesome miseries and agonies shine the delights and beauty of heaven. The highest panels show pious souls attended by councils of divinities, the just rewards for those who lead good and honest lives. 

The paintings show a highly evocative view of the Balinese belief in "Kamapala" every action bears fruit, be it good or bad.  Judgments were made according to traditional law by three Brahmana high priests. 

Meetings were also held during the full moon of every fourth month of the Balinese calendar, attended by the regional kingís throughout Bali, wherein the high king of Klungkung gave his directives and decisions concerning the problems of the greater Kingdom of Bali. The hall of Kertha Gosa was also often used for audiences granted to guests and foreigners by the king. 
Although the 1908 fire destroyed most of the palace compound, the Kerta Gosa was officially reopened in 1909. 

In the northwest corner is a kulkul tower; on a side street to the west is the great stone gateway the Pemedal Agung, riddled with bullet holes during the Puputan battle.  Its main door, side doors, and arch are extensively carved; note the ridiculous-looking Dutchmen in top hats.
The tall gateway behind Kerta Gosa once led into Baliís most splendid palace, which was destroyed in the Dutch bombardments of 1908 that resulted in the conquest of the island. A memorial to this terrible Puputan battle, that ended 600 years of glorious rule in Bali by the descendants of Majapahit, has been erected on the eastern side of regentís office , across the road from Kertha Gosa. 



Goa Lawah with bat cave

Pura Goa Lawah, 10 kilometers east of Klungkung , is a Shivaite temple founded one thousand years ago. Its three meru stand at the entrance to a deep cavern, their tiered roofs of black palm fiber stained with the dropping of the thousand of bats which dangle from the rocky overhang. A thick layer of slippery, sickly sweet bat droppings also carpets the cave floor. The bats flit out at night to feed on pollen and nectar. Regarded as the guardians of the temple, they are protected by the Balinese. They are not the only sacred creatures in Goa Lawah. The priests are happy to show visitors the large rock phytons, which coil luxuriously near the shrine and feed on fallen and wounded bats. Nobody knows, how far the cave extends. One story claims that there is a submarine tunnel to the powerful temple, Pura Peed, on the facing coast of Nusa Penida. The cave is also believed to lead  all the way to Gunung Agung.

Watch for cheeky young girls who drape a shell necklace around your neck as a "welcome gift," then demand payment.




This regency is located at the eastern tip of Bali, mountainous with valleys, with beautiful terraced rice fields.  

A small road to Besakih

This incredible 30-km-long road is one of the wildest and most unvisited on Bali.  It follows a tortuous route through arid hills high above the coast.  
It's second and third gear nearly all the way, the steeply undulating road is crawling through one of the poorest districts of Bali. It winds through palm-leaf fenced rice fields, flowering teak, fragrant clove trees, and plenty of snakeskin-like salak. Since 1950 Sibetan has been the salak center of Bali, hundreds of hectares planted of this low, thorny palm. The area salaks are known for their crisp, sweet taste, somewhere between apples and strawberries.


Bali's oldest, largest and most impressive temple complex is situated a thousand meters above sea level on the slope of the sacred and still active volcano, Gunung Agung (3140m).   Pura Besakih, actually consisting of three temple compounds, is the Mother Temple of Bali and the most important of the island's sad-kahyangan religious shrines. It's Bali's supreme holy place, the essence of all Bali's 20.000 temples, a symbol of religious unity, and the only temple that serves all Balinese.

Besakih was built on a terraced site where prehistoric rites, ceremonies, and feasts once took place. Perhaps it was here where the spirit of the great, angry mountain, which loomed menacingly above the island, received pagan sacrifices. The great 1917 earthquake destroyed the temple complex, but it was subsequently restored by the Dutch to its original form (only two structures survived this quake). The entire temple complex was again badly damaged in the 1963 eruption of Agung, but since then has been almost fully restored. You will notice many pagoda roofs are now made of iron. Because it is a state shrine, the provincial and national governments pay for its upkeep.

Besakih is a very complex architectural structure venerating the holy Hindu trinity.  Pura Penataran Agung is dedicated to the god Shiwa, Pura Batu Madeg is dedicated to Wisnu,  Pura Kiduling Kreteg is dedicated to Brahma.  Their orientation in relation to each other and the mountain. 

Around the three main temples are 18 separate sanctuaries belonging to different regencies and caste groups which contain a befuddling array of over 60 temples and 200 distinct structures. These were added by wealthy honored Brahman families, artisan guilds, and aristocratic families.
Beyond a great split gate, a broad terrace leads to a gapura, which opens onto 50 black, slender, pagodalike meru temples. The more roofs, the higher-ranking the god or deified ancestor to whom the meru is dedicated.  The Pura is divided into 19 minor temples, each dedicated to a particular deity; the Trimurti: three shapes of the supreme God, the Panca Dewata: gods of direction, Pura Puseh: temple of origin, Pura Desa: temple of community and Pura Dalem: temple of the dead.
Long flights of stone steps lead to the main central temple, Pura Penataran Agung, which consists of six rising terraces built on a slope and is dedicated to the god Shiwa.  In the third inner court of the central temple is the sanggar agung, a beautifully decorated 17th-century triple lotus stone throne representing the divine triad, wrapped in cloth and decorated with flower offerings. This is the ritual center of Besakih.

Because so many gods, regencies, and old Bali clans are represented here, there's always something going on.  About 70 rituals are held regularly at Besakih's different shrines, with banners representing each god hung on or near the temple and long lines of women walking up the terraces, their heads piled high with offerings.
A visit to the sanctuaries of Besakih is a special pilgrimage each Balinese must undertake periodically. They return with holy water for use in ceremonies back home. A visit to Besakih is also required to properly consecrate the soul of a dead relative as a family god in the house temple.
Each of Besakih's temples has its own odalan, and on the full moon of the 10th lunar month, vast crowds pack the entire compound to celebrate the visit of the gods. This rite also commemorates Besakih's founding.  During Galungan, enormous throngs of pilgrims turn Besakih into a hive of activity. An important island-wide Water Opening ceremony also occurs here, long-nailed priests dramatically gesticulating, sprinkling holy water, ringing tinkling bells.
The most majestic event is held only once every 100 years, the spectacular Eka Desa Rudra, a purification ceremony in which harmony and balance in people and nature are restored in all 11 directions. All the Balinese people attend this ceremony which is held over 1 month. The rite last occurred in March 1963, some 16 years before the proper date, apparently because Sukarno wished to impress a convention of travel agents. Midway through the opulent ceremony, Gunung Agung began to shower the whole area with ash and smoke, finally exploding in its most violent eruption in 600 years. Earthquakes toppled temples, hot ash ignited thatched roofs, volcanic debris rained upon the earth. As the molten lava moved toward them, Hindu priests prayed frantically, hoping to appease the angry gods, assuring worshippers they had nothing to fear. In the end, 1.600 Balinese were killed and 86.000 left homeless. The Balinese don't take such extraordinary coincidences lightly; the catastrophe was attributed to the wrath of the god Shiva in his most evil aspect as Rudra.  It ultimately became a damning judgment on the entire Sukarno era. Miraculously, the flaming lava flowed around Besakih, sparing most of the temple, though shrouding it with black ash for months.
The ceremony was held again in 1979, this time on a Saka year and with all the proper sacrifices such as of an elephant, a tiger, an eagle and 77 other animals. Eka Desa Rudra was completed without incident, and Besakih reestablished its place as the principal Hindu sanctuary in Indonesia.



Day 10 : Thursday 24th of may

Last day at the pool - checking out (14h) - flight to Bangkok at 17:20 (50.000 Rupiah airport taxes) - back to hotel Holiday Mansion in Bangkok.