Kerta Gosa justice place at Klungkung Bali

Kerta Gosa is located right in the center of Klungkung next to the main roundabout. The gardens of Taman Gili, in which Kerta Gosa sits, were built in 1710. For me the impressive thing was to look up at the ceiling and check out the terrifying artwork depicting good vs evil.

Thereby, the word’s meaning of Kertha Gosa is a building of a kind Jurisdiction in form of Bale for the king who announces the legislation, jurisdiction, penalization etc. The building of Kertha Gosa is very unique and full of high art value so that this place is a unique place to visit in Bali.

The entire complex is known as Taman Gili, but the name Kerta Gosa is better known. Balinese culture has its own system called adat, meaning traditional law, but for serious offenses Kerta Gosa was the end of the line. Kerta Gosa is located right in the center of Klungkung next to the main round about. The gardens of Taman Gili, in which Kerta Gosa sits, were built in 1710. The most impressive thing is the decorated ceiling containing terrifying artwork depicting good vs. evil. No doubt criminals facing trial shivered before the judges realizing the seriousness of their actions. While enjoying the royal court at Kerta Gosa murals featuring the Pan Brayut story, inside the Bale Kambang, located behind it. The Hall of Justice sports gruesome paintings highlighting what happened to sinners. Above these panels is the story of Bima Swarga, who goes to hell to search and redeem his parent’s souls.

The style of the paintings is Kamasan (wayang) and has a 2-dimensional puppet-like appearance, as it takes its form from the wayang-kulit shadow puppets. The humid atmosphere and lack of close attention mean these precious pieces will not be with us for long. Originally the paintings were on canvas, but in the course of restoration work in 1960 they were transferred to fibrous cement sheets. More restoration was done 15 years ago but the painting area again falling into disrepair as they are open to the elements.

The other bale structures have some decoration and the museum is set back from the road, featuring early farming tools, paintings, models, kris (traditional knives) and other items including a Barong, the lion dance costume.

The Karmic fate of those who have transgressed is illustrated, while Bima battles with demons and overturns cauldrons in his quest. We follow Bima’s journey through the various stages of the heavens in quest of the elixir of immortality that will revive his parents. The entire epic is, in fact, a heroic journey of self-discovery. The astrological calendar appears on some panels, with particular emphasis on earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, which must have been on everyone’s mind at time.

The ceiling of the beautiful “Floating Pavilion” is painted in Klungkung style. Again, the different rows of paintings deal with various subjects. The first row is based on the astrological calendar, the second on the folk tale of Pan and Men Brayut and their children, and the upper rows on the adventures of the hero Sutasoma.

There are a few archeological pieces and some quite interesting contemporary accounts of the 1908 puputan on display in this simple museum. There are old photos of the royalty, and displays in English as well. The rigors of salt production along the nearby coast are well documented.

For day or half day tour bookings to the Place please contact Ketut Maryana at
Phone/WhatsApp: +62 81 2397 7705 (Mr. Ketut Maryana)

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