Photo: Temple ceremony at Pura Luhur Lempuyang.


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Framed by Gunung Agung to the northwest and Gunung Lempuyang to the northeast, Amlapura is just five kilometres from the east coast of Bali, sitting on the main road connecting Candi Dasa and Amed. The town itself doesn’t often feature on travellers’ itineraries, but the nearby rice terraces and water palace of Tirta Gangga plus the windswept beaches at Jasri do.

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Amlapura has a rich royal history. Previously named Karangasem, it was the court of the Karangasem kingdom, which stretched as far as Lombok. At one point the centre of the kingdom reversed when the Lombok king attacked his ancestral home. Through affiliations with the Dutch overlords, Karangasem was able to regain power, and remained one of the last surviving kingdoms in Bali. The legacy of the kingdom forms the bulk of the tourist attractions in this area of East Bali.

Exploring Tirtagangga water palace Photo taken in or around Amlapura, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Exploring Tirtagangga water palace Photo: Sally Arnold

In Amlapura itself, the royal palace Puri Agung Karangasam remains home to many of the descendants of the former great kingdom. Open to visitors, it’s a fascinating window on the glory days of the past. The last king of Karangasam also built two water palaces and both can be visited: Taman Sukasada in Ujung and Taman Tirta Gangga. They are relaxing and serene places to spend some time, and it’s possible to swim at Taman Tirta Gangga. In 1963, much of Amlapura was destroyed by the eruption of Gunung Agung. To avoid further disaster and confuse the spirits, Karangasem ... Travelfish members only (Around 700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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