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Home » Bali Map, Gianyar, Gunung Kawi, Tampaksiring

Gunung Kawi: A Historical Tourism  

by on Friday, 22 July 2011No Comment | 649 views

Among the travelers, especially for those who are interested on antiquities, Gunung Kawi is an appealing tourist attraction. Gunung Kawi refers to a complex of 9 rock-cut candi (shrines) carved into the cliff face, located in Tampaksiring, Gianyar Bali. The existence of these fascinating shrines which are 7 mt in height is connected with the biggest Bali Empire.

In the report written by Udayana University’s research team, it is mentioned that this shrine complex was discovered by a prominent resident (an occupation similar to governor) named HT Damste in 1920. Since that time, the government carried out restoration so that the researchers as well as visitors can enjoy the elegance and grandeur of this shrines standing along the river Pakerisan.

Famous historian, R. Goris mentioned in his articles that Gunung Kawi Temple is the place to honor King Udayana and his family. It is a conclusion after researching the inscription using Kadiri Kwadrat letters. Kadiri Kwadrat is the letters which was used by people in Kadiri Empire, East Java. For sure, Kadiri Empire was related to Bali Empire on that time since King Udayana Warmadewa from Bali married to Gunapriya Dharmapatni, the daughter of Empu Sendok from Kediri. With Dharmapatni, King Udayana had Marakata, Erlangga and Anak Wungsu.

Later on, Erlangga governed East Java and Bali was ruled by Anak Wungsu from 1049 – 1077. Under his rule, Bali was so peaceful and its land was so fertile. In the meantime, Kadiri Kwadrat letter was still used during his reign. Anak Wungsu was respected very much that when he died, his ash was put in one of the shrines. On the northernmost candi, there is a sentence in Kadiri Kwadrat letter mentioning “The King was buried in Keris (Pakerisan)”. On the candi number two, an inscription “rwanakira” meaning ‘my two children’ was carved on it.  Those two children whose ash put on the shrines are Anak Wungsu and Marakata.

Meanwhile, the other 4 shrines occupying an area on the west of river according to R. Goris are estimated as the places of the concubines of Anak Wungsu. On the southwest, there is candi number ten with “rakryan” inscription. Based on that fact, this candi is arguably considered as the place of prime minister in Anak Wungsu dynasty.

Although, the candi complex at Gunung Kawi is the place for royal family’s ash, it is not kind of graveyard. It is a holy candi where people can honor King Udayana and Anak Wungsu.


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