Sukawati Village: Ancient court and Bali's best dalangs.
Conveniently located midway between mountain slopes and the sea on the main road north of Denpasar on the way to Ubud, Sukawati is a modest town of few tourist attractions as such, yet it is rich in cultural traditions and offers much for the interested visitor.
At one time, Sukawati stood with Klungkung as one of the two great negara or kingdoms of Bali. From Tegallalang to Ubud to Singapadn. topeng mask dancers still interprete the history of the old realm of Sukawati before rapt audiences. Here the arts have remained vital, thanks to royal patronage and commissions from other parts of the island. Sukawati is best known, however, for its many shadow-puppet masters or dalang. As many as 20 of these artists and their troupes are available for hire for ceremonial occasions and they travel all over Bali to perform. The Balinese say that the dalang of Sukawati are the best on the island because of many generations of experience.
The commercial center of town is the Pasar Seni or Art Market. With patience and a sense of humor one can find bargains here on everything from woodcarvings to paintings. Along the main road, shops cater to local needs such as baskets and ceremonial umbrellas.