Kertagosa Justice located at Klungkung was the oldest kingdom on the island and its "Raja" the most exalted. Kertha Gosa (The Court Hall) and Taman Gili (The Floating Pavilion) were formerly parts of Semarapura Palace of Klungkung Kingdom, built in the 18th century. A main gate or the royal palace well known as "Pemedal Agung" is hitherto standing intactly at the Western part of the Court Hall and the Floating Pavilion. For its ceiling painted in the traditional wayang style portraying punishment in hell and the rewards in heaven and other aspects of moralities. The floating pavilion, garden and lotus ponds in this walled- in complex, located on the main intersection of town are a reminder of the former glory of this kingdom.
Taman Gili, Royal Courts of Justice Pavilions, with their surrounding lotus ponds, are a graceful reminder of the former glory of this kingdom. These pavilions, built in the 18th century, are located at the main road intersection side of the town of Klungkung (40 km. from Denpasar). They are especially known for their ceiling murals, painted in the traditional "Wayang" style, depicting the punishments in hell for miscreants, and higher up, the rewards in heaven for those that lead a good and honest life. The courts were presided over by three pedandas (high priest), and continued to fulfill their function through Dutch colonial times. The Kerta was the island's highest court of justice. The old buildings were renovated and restored in 1960. Behind the Kerta Gosa stands a tall gateway. This gateway is all that remains of what was once the first and most elaborate palace in Bali, which was destroyed by the Dutch artillery when they bombarded the town of Klungkung and Gelgel into submission in 1908. As had happened in other kingdoms in Bali, the Dewa Agung led a great "Puputan", or ceremonial fight to death, and so ended 600 years of rule in Bali by the lineal descendents of the emperors of Majapahit. After this conquest, the Dutch had gained control of all of Bali.
The town of Klungkung centers around the Puri Smarapura or ‘Palace of the God of Love” former home of Bali’s most illustrious line of kings. Unfortunately, all that remains now are the great gate and garden, and two pavilions with magnificently painted ceilings. These are the Kerta Gosa Hall of Justice overlooking the town’s main intersection, and the larger Bale Kambang or Floating Pavilion just behind it.
The rest of this splendid complex was razed to the ground in 1908, during the royal mass suicide or puputan (‘ending”) against the Dutch invaders. This event removed the last obstacle to Dutch domination of the island. A monument commemorating the puputan now stands across the road.
The Kerta Gosa was a place for the administration of traditional justice in precolonial times by a council consisting of the great king and his priests. The Paintings on the ceiling tell of the punishments awaiting evil-doers in hell, and of the delights of the gods in heaven. Different levels and stations in heaven and hell are described through the story of the hero Bima, who journeys to the underworld to save the souls of his parents. These scenes were used to alternately threaten and cajole anyone who appeared before the court.
Like the Sistine Chapel, the Kerta Gnsa presents a whole complex of ideas on the workings of fate and the role of the divine in human affairs. The ceilings themselves have been repainted three times in recent memory. The last complete refurbishment occurred in 1960 under the famous artist Pan Seken, although in 1984, weather damage caused a number of panels to be repaired.
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