The Kertha Gosa

Kertha Gosa
The Kertha Gosa pavilion is an example of Balinese architecture located on the island of Bali, in the city Klungkung, Indonesia. The Kertha Gosa Pavilion at Klungkung Palace was first built in the early 18th century by Dewa Agung Gusti Sideman. The first function of the pavilion was for the court of law in 1945.

The Kertha Gosa Pavilion at Klungkung has the story of Bhima Swarga painted around the ceiling. The name of Kerta Gosa is taken from Sanskrit where Kerta means serene and meanwhile Gosa word is derive from Gosita that mean established or announced. Kertha Gosa means - “the place where the king meets with his ministries to discuss questions of justice.”

About Kertha Gosa

Kerta Gosa complex dates back to 1686 when it was commissioned by Dewa Agung Jambe, then ruler of the Klungkung kingdom. Kerta Gosa has undergone a series of restorations in the past and is one of Bali’s most important historical sites. The site is open for the public to visit.

Besides the beautiful architecture of the building, the uniqueness of Kerta Gosa lies in the ceilings of the bale which are covered with traditional paintings in Kamasan style. Kamasan is a village in Klungkung regency which has gained a name for its puppet paintings. Kamasan painting usually takes an epic such as the Ramayana or Mahabharata as the theme of the painting. Kamasan painting is usually found in temples as a meaningful decoration.

Earlier the painting on Kerta Gosa’s ceiling was made on fabric but in 1930 it was restored and painted on plasterboard. The paintings on the ceilings’ of Kerta Gosa offer spiritual lessons. If one looks at it in detail each part of the ceiling tells a different story, there is one part that tells the story of karma and reincarnation and another part illustrates each phase of human life from birth until death. The paintings are divided into six tiers, representing the afterlife, the topmost being nirvana.

The Bale Kambang is a wonderful building in the middle of the pond. The Kamasan painting on the ceiling depicts a story from the Sutasoma epic. Both sides of the bridge to the bale are guarded by a line of statues representing characters from the epic against the background of the lotus pond.

The themes in the paintings show that the building functioned as the place for the royal family to hold religious ceremonies for the rites of passage (manusa yadnya) such as weddings and tooth-filing ceremonies. Kerta Gosa also functioned as the court during the Dutch occupation in Klungkung regency from 1908 to 1942.

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