Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
large stock of finished work. They will make
something to order if you bring a sample or
people crowded onto each painting - while
the black-and-white technique evoked the
Balinese view of the supernatural.
Today, this distinct Batuan style of painting
is noted for its inclusion of modern elements.
Sea scenes often include a windsurfer, while
tourists with gadgets or riding motorcycles
pop up in the otherwise traditional Balinese
scenery. There are good examples in galleries
along, or just off, the main road in Batuan, and
in Ubud's Museum Puri Lukisan (p175).
Batuan is also noted for its traditional
dance, and is a centre for carved wooden re-
lief panels and screens. The ancient Gambuh
dance is performed in Batuan's Pura Puseh
every full moon.
Mas means 'gold' in Bahasa Indonesia, but
woodcarving is the principal craft in this vil-
lage. The great Majapahit priest Nirartha
once lived here, and Pura Taman Pule is said
to be built on the site of his home. During
the three-day Kuningan festival (see p336), a
performance of wayang wong (an older ver-
sion of the Ramayana ballet) is held in the
temple's courtyard.
Carving was a traditional art of the priestly
Brahmana caste, and the skills are said to have
been a gift of the gods. Historically, carv-
ing was limited to temple decorations, dance
masks and musical instruments, but in the
1930s carvers began to depict people and ani-
mals in a naturalistic way, and the growth of
tourism provided a market for woodcarving,
which has become a major cottage industry.
Generally the carving for sale in Mas is
priced quite high - you should see items for
less elsewhere as you shop around. Although
this is the place to come if you want some-
thing custom-made in sandalwood - just be
prepared to pony up. Mas is also the centre
of Bali's booming furniture industry, produc-
ing chairs, tables and reproduction antiques,
mainly from teak imported from other Indo-
nesian islands.
Along the main road in Mas are the
Taman Harum Cottages (Map p201 ;
This statue on the hilltop shrine at Kutri is
thought to date from the 11th century and
shows strong Indian influences.
One theory is that the image is of Airlang-
ga's mother, Mahendradatta, who married
King Udayana, Bali's 10th-century ruler.
When her son succeeded to the throne she
hatched a plot against him and unleashed
leyak (evil spirits) upon his kingdom. She
was defeated, but this led to the legend
of Rangda, the widow-witch and ruler of
evil spirits.
The temple at the base of the hill has
images of Durga, and the body of a Barong,
the mythical lion-dog creature, can be seen
in one of the pavilions (the sacred head of
the Barong is kept elsewhere).
Sukawati & Puaya
Once a royal capital, Sukawati is now known for
a number of specialised crafts and for the daily
Pasar Seni (Art Market; Map p201 ) , a two-storey craft
market where every type of quality craftwork
and touristy trinket is on sale. One group of arti-
sans, the tukang prada, make temple umbrellas,
beautifully decorated with stencilled gold paint,
which can be seen at roadside shops. The tukang
wadah make cremation towers, which you're
less likely to see. Other craft products include
intricate patterned lontar (specially prepared
palm leaves) baskets and wind chimes.
The craft market is on the western side of
the main road - public bemo stop right out-
side. Across the road is the colourful morning
produce market , which also sells sarongs and
temple ceremony paraphernalia.
Sukawati is also renowned for its traditional
dances and wayang kulit (shadow puppet)
Puaya, about 1km northwest of Sukawati,
specialises in high-quality leather shadow pup-
pets and Topeng masks.
975567; www; r from US$35, villas US$50-75;
). There are 17 rooms and villas -
some quite large. By all means get one over-
looking the rice fields. It's behind a gallery,
which is also a venue for a huge range of
art and cultural courses (see p185). Airport
pickups and Ubud shuttles are free.
North of Mas, woodcarving shops make
way for art galleries, cafés and hotels, and
you soon know that you're approaching
Alternative Routes
From Sakah, along the road between Batuan
and Ubud, you can continue east for a few
kilometres to the turn-off to Blahbatuh and
continue to Ubud via Kutri and Bedulu.
In Blahbatuh, Pura Gaduh (Map p201 ) has a one-
metre-high stone head, believed to be a por-
trait of Kebo Iwa, the legendary strongman and
minister to the last king of the Bedulu kingdom.
Gajah Mada - the Majapahit strongman -
realised that it wouldn't be possible to conquer
Bedulu (Bali's strongest kingdom) while Kebo
Iwa was there. So Gajah Mada lured him away
to Java (with promises of women and song)
and had him murdered. The stone head pos-
sibly predates the Javanese influence in Bali,
but the temple is simply a reconstruction of
an earlier one destroyed in the earthquake
of 1917.
About 2km southwest of Blahbatuh, along
Sungai Petanu, is Air Terjun Tegenungan (Tege-
nungan Waterfall; also known as Srog Sro-
gan). Follow the signs from Kemenuh village
for the best view of the falls, from the western
side of the river.
Heading north from Blahbatuh, Kutri has the
interesting Pura Kedarman (aka Pura Bukit Dharma; Map
p201 ) . If you climb up Bukit Dharma behind the
temple, there's a great panoramic view and a
hilltop shrine , with a stone statue of the six-armed
goddess of death and destruction, Durga, killing
a demon-possessed water buffalo.
Batuan's recorded history goes back 1000
years, and in the 17th century its royal family
controlled most of southern Bali. The decline
of its power is attributed to a priest's curse,
which scattered the royal family to different
parts of the island.
In the 1930s two local artists began ex-
perimenting with a new style of painting using
black ink on white paper. Their dynamic
drawings featured all sorts of scenes from
daily life - markets, paddy fields, animals and
On the back road between Blahbatuh and Gi-
anyar, Bona is a basket-weaving centre and fea-
tures many articles made from lontar leaves.
(Note: most road signs in the area read 'Bone'
instead of Bona, so if you end up getting lost,
you'll have to ask: 'Do you know the way
to Bone?') Nearby, the village of Belega is a
centre for bamboo furniture production.
An alternative route between Denpasar and Ubud goes through the coastal village of Gumicik ,
which has a broad, black deserted beach . This bypasses the congested roads of Batubulan and
Celuk, and is part of the new east coast road going via Lebih to Kusamba.
The coast around here has some good wet-season surfing: Padang Galak , a right-hand beach
break at low- to mid-tide; and Ketewel , a barrelling right-hander at high tide.
The beach at Pabean is a site for irregular religious purification ceremonies, and cremated
ashes are ritually scattered here, near the mouth of the Sungai Wos (Wos River). Just north of
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