Before the holidays, we had a look at the main courtyard of Puri Karangasem, the palace of the former rajahs of Karangasem, and the main buildings around that courtyard. Today we'll conclude our virtual visit to the palace with a look at the rear quarters.
As mentioned in an earlier post, Puri Karangasem, like all Asian palaces, is a collection of buildings arranged in a succession of courtyards. Each courtyard has a gate, of course, the grandeur of which indicates the prestige of the courtyard within. The main courtyard, which we explored in 2 earlier posts, has a quite a grand gate, glimpsed here through the outer gate:
Here it is in all its glory:
The other courtyards have smaller, less imposing gates:
As you get further away from the main courtyard, the gates become very humble indeed:
Puri Karangasem is in fact not in tip-top shape. As a privately-owned property, it presumably doesn't benefit from government-funded preservation schemes. Parts of the palace look decidedly run-down. I saw complaints on TripAdvisor about this, but I take a different view. Uninhabited palaces are often over-restored and lifeless. Puri Karangasem has some rough edges, but it still has signs of life.
As I explained in a prior post, members of the last rajah's family are still living onsite. Some of them occupy bungalows around the water tank. Here's an example. Note that this bungalow has its own gate, as does just about every Balinese residence:
There's very little signage at Puri Karangasem, which sometimes leaves you wondering what you're looking at. I don't recall seeing any signs saying 'Private' or 'Keep Out', either. In fact, I ended up wandering into what was clearly a private area:
Nobody shooed me away, but I thought it best to retrace my steps into a more public area. If you look carefully at the picture above, you'll see the pool terrace commands a rather nice view over the town of Amlapura.
While some of the buildings are crumbling, the walkways and greenery are very well maintained. Although the courtyards of Puri Karangasem are not aligned along a straight central axis, there are some very pleasing linear perspectives within each precinct:
As you can see, there were very few other people about. Here's another view from the opposite direction:
I highly recommend visiting Puri Karangasem if you're anywhere near Amlapura, or indeed if you're in eastern Bali at all. It's less famous than the water palaces at Taman Ujung and Tirta Gungga, but well worth a visit.
Have you visited any of these places? Please share your impressions in the comments below, on the Lotus & Persimmon page on Facebook, or in the Lotus & Persimmon gallery on Instagram.