Karangasem Regency - Bali
Karangasem has rich variety of older customs found in villages that resisted Javanese influences after the 14th century. The royal family, related to Gelgel, became independent and in the early 1700s challenged Klungkung. Internal strife led to exile and formation of a rival house in Lombok, which returned to defeat its own family on Bali and the taking of Buleleng.
This real ended when Dutch subdued Buleleng in the mid 1800s, and Dutch assisted rebellion in Lombok ousted the royal family in the late 1800s. By recognizing Dutch superiority, Karangasem remained infect when South Bali was conquered in he early 1900s.
After Mount Agung erupted 1963 the capital changed names to Amlapura. The Puri Agung kanginan palace features a blend of Balinese, Dutch, and Chinese architecture. To the south are the ruins of the Taman Ujung pleasure palace.
A more intact one is up north at Tirtagangga with swimming pools fed cool springs and an excellent place to stay. Outside the town is the coastal tourist area of Candi Dasa, named after an old temple on the hillside, across the lagoon is a Gandhi meditation center. Snorkeling around a shipwreck is superb up north at Tulamben
Padangbai has the Silayukti sea temple and the ferry to Lombok.
Tenganan is the only place in Indonesia where double ikat gringsing cloth is woven. Festivals here and in Dauh Tukad in June – July feature wooden ferris-wheels and ritual battles with thorny leaves.
Nearby villages of Dauh Tukad, Bungaya, Asak, Timbrah, Perasi, Bugbug, Jasi, Ababi, Seraya, Sengkidu, Ngis, Bebandem and Padangkerta have colorful ritual with ceremonial dances for women and men, trance battles, and spectacular offerings. Beautiful brocades are woven in Sidemen.
Winding mountain road through salak fruit farms and terraced hill lead to Besakih, Bali’s most important temple complex. Visitors may only see the huge temple from the outside but the view is gorgeous and the air refreshing. Mount Agung should only be climbed by experienced hikers with a guide.
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