Kerta Gosa Royal Justice Building

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The Kerta Gosa complex is located at the heart of the village of Semarapura in the Klungkung region. The name of Kerta Gosa is derived from the ancient Sanscrit language and means announcement; it is the building were the king would announce formal legislation, jurisdiction and penalties.

The Kerta Gosa is renown in Bali for its paintings and the unique style of decoration, and for the Taman Gili building which appears to float in the middle of a large water pool. During 1908 to 1942, the building was a centre for colonial governance and for dispensing justice. The paintings on the conference hall platform depict scenes of criminals as a reminder about the perils of falling into misdeeds.

The paintings depict the story of Bima Swarga (Bima in heaven). One of the great Pandawa heroes from the epic Indian Mahabharata story, Bima went to find his father the wind god Bayu (Vayu), searching in heaven and in hell. The Balinese strongly believe in karma and reincarnation, whereby one is punished or rewarded for one’s actions, either in this lifetime or a previous or subsequent life. The paintings that decorate the Kerta Gosa depict the good and the bad consequences of our deeds.

If you travel two kms south, the village of Kamasan is found between Klungkung and Gelgel. It id the present day centre for the ‘kamasan style, which draws its main theme from old Javanese literary classics and wayang puppet figures. In 1973, Nyoman Mandra started a painting school where young artists learn their craft. Kamasan is also a famous centre for gold and silversmithing, with many fine examples of  modern and antique style Klungkung style painting, carving, silver and gold work, silks and antiques.

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