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Indonesia » Bali » Tourist Guide » District Guide » Karangasem » Interesting Spots in Karangasem
Interesting Spots in Karangasem
by: Celestine
  • Pura Besakih
    This is Bali’s largest and most renowned temple. It is situated high on the slopes of Mount Agung. Built in 1007, it has been nearly from that time regarded as Bali’s major temple. This Hindu temple comprises of 18 separate sanctuaries, all belonging to different affiliations and groups. The three major temples in Pura Besakih are Pura Penataran Agung, which used to belong to the royal family of Klungkung and is dedicated to the god supreme, Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, Pura Kiduling Kreteg which is dedicated to Brahma and Pura Batu Medog which is dedicated to Wishnu.

    Each of the temples has a 6-month anniversary celebration (odalan) and another grand celebration like that on the full moon of the 10th month (kedasa). The latter is a celebration of the visitation of the gods (Bhatara Turun Kabeh) and people from afar bring offerings to attend this great event. The entire span of the celebrations last for more than a week. It is quite a trip to visit the temple during this time because it is filled with magnificent offerings and the courtyards are jammed with the huge number of worshippers coming to pray.

  • Tenganan
    These very private communities of Bali Aga people live within an isolated valley deep in the hills of Karangasem. They have been secluded from the outside world for so long, their age-old customs and beliefs have not been affected in any way leaving pre-Hindu practices still firmly in place. Their traditions include the weaving of a rare double ikat cloth named the kamben gringsing, which is touted to be a charmed protection for the wearer and is an item to be used especially for cremation ceremonies. It is a tedious process to weave this cloth, which is one unique to this village. One piece can take up to 5 years for completion!

    For the men, they too have some noticeably old practices like holding ritual tournaments in which men fight each other to placate the evil spirits with the drawing of blood. Actually perhaps this form of human behaviour is still very apparent in the modern man today. It is likely the instinctive desire in men to exercise their manhood in a show of bravery and daring.

  • Padang Bai
    Padang Bai is a small port, the gateway to many of the outlying islands, to Lombok and beyond. Besides its own vessels, international cruise ships and foreign yachts too use this sheltered bay.

  • Candi Dasa
    This small beach towards the east from Padang Bai is steadily becoming a thriving resort area. This idlyllic place perfect for a romantic getaway, is also and ideal base for exploring the regency of Karangasem.

  • The Coastal Road to the North
    This road passes through Tirta Gangga and goes all the way to the northern coast. Along this passage you will catch the sight of dusty little villages, rocky volcanic outcrops, tiny serene beaches and lots of coconut palm trees. En route, you might even decide to stop at one of the excellent diving spots for a sport of scuba diving. Tulamben is especially popular due to the submerged wreck of the S. S. Liberty.

  • Amiapura-Tirtagangga
    Though there are many tourist attractions in Tirtagangga, it is still a very laid back and peaceful area with stunning rice terraces and has cooler temperature than any other places in Bali.  Tirtagangga’s main tourist attraction is the Water Palace, a complex of pool built by the king of Karangasem in 1948 to fulfill the need of water for villages nearby and to bathe. The name comes from Tirta (holy water) and Gangga (Ganges). As for the history, this water palace was a part of Puri Kanginan palace, and at that time, the royal family managed to retain both title and certain powers under Dutch occupation. A mixture of Europe, China, and Bali enriched both architectural and layout in most area. “Bali London”, one of the many which furniture is influenced by the Royal Crest in England. It has spring water called Embukan which is recognized as holy and sacred water. Here, you can take a swim in the cool spring water then afterwards, back to relax in homey bungalows or resort to enjoy the stunning endless rice paddies. The Tirtagangga water palace opens daily from 7AM to 6 PM.

    If you want to try more ancient water palace than The Tirtagangga, one can drive to Ujung. Do not worry about your expenses; most of the bungalows are all at an affordable price with views of nature that money can not buy. Try the Pondok Batur Indah in Ababi. Rather petite homestay with easy access downhill to the Tirtagangga and still with stunning rice field view. Then, after finish swimming at the royal palace pool, have a walk in the country side where you might pass the blacksmith shops up to the Lempuyang temple. The nearest city from Tirtagangga is called Amiapura (easy access with Bemo) and visit local cake shop and for sweet Balinese cakes.

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