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« Balifornian welcomes a new member to the team | Main | Bali’s Royal Water Palace ~ Taman Ujung Soekasada. »
Monday
Jul302012

Our Family and Bali’s Royal Family of Karangasem

This is a companion blog post to Bali’s Royal Water Palace~ Taman Ujung Soekasada and focuses more on The Royal Family of Karangasem. To learn more about one of the most beautiful Royal Palaces in Bali and see photos of Maryam returning to her family's Kingly compound, just click here.

Bali’s Royal Family of Karangasem

Bali Travel Tour PalaceThe Raja of Karangasem and his 12 children and three nannies in front of The Balai Gili, Maskerdam in 1922

My wife Maryam, or Putu as we call her, is from the lineage and we are endeavoring to learn more about her family. I have heard many stories; some good, some not so good, and some downright otherworldly. I will try not to speculate and simply discuss some of what we have learned. The photographs below feature Maryam's relatives and I point them out where possible.
Indonesia travel Bali tourI Gusti Bagus Djilantik, the ruler of Karangasem. Lux Fotostudio (Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported)
This is by no means a comprehensive scope of the family’s history and is likely incorrect at times. We are still sifting through piles of documents, photographs, historical records and such and have found and heard many conflicting accounts.

 

We are asked all the time about Maryam’s Royal connections and we want to be able to tell a more thorough and historically accurate version.

 

The Kingdom of Karangasem started as a feudal subordinate of the Supreme King of Bali and went on to reign over the largest Kingdom in all of Bali and rule the neighboring island of Lombok as well.

 

The family’s reign dates back to the 1890’s. I Gusti Gedé Putu served as the Regent of Karangasem from 1849-1890. His third son, I Gusti Gedé Bagus Jelantik, was born in 1887 and became the Raja of the State of Karangasem. With the death of his father and uncle he was installed as The Regent of Karangasem. A position of this magnitude constitutes a royal name. Thus he was crowned with the reign name of Anak Agung Bagus Jelantik I, in December of 1908. This could be loosely translated into Young Great Good Jelantik. Seemingly dozens of Jelantiks would follow.

 

Royal lineages such as this become quite convoluted as polygamy was the norm and the bloodlines are crossed at times. Kings of the time would have many wives to provide a viable male heir to ensure the continuation of the dynasty. Reportedly, some Kings had as many as 800 wives. Having just one has kept me quite busy. I am not sure how they did it as they also had dozens, if not hundreds, of concubines.

 

Bali rituals spirituality tourThe men of The Royal Family from Karangasem with attendants (possibly slaves)
The palaces were lively places and served as venues to accept visiting leaders and kings. On the grounds were menageries of all types of wild animals and birds including the now extinct Balinese Tiger. I am unsure of how the following arrived into the compound, or how they lived once they were there, but scholars report many “types of humanity” were represented such as “albino dwarfs and foreigners”.

 

Balinese culture tour photoThe King and three of his Queens
It was important for the King to be seen as harnessing the power of all of humanity, the beasts as well as the spiritual world. The King needed to look after the well-being of his family and subjects as well as lead them in sacred rituals. 

 

Bali photographs old tourAnak Agung Gede Djelantik and his younger brothers. He is Maryam's Great Great Great Grandfather.
The photo above is from 1925 and includes Maryam's Great Great Great Grandfather.  Pictured are three of the King's sons. On the left is Anak Agung Ketut Djelantik, in the middle is Anak Agung Gede Djelantik, and Anak Agung Made Djelantik in on the right. Anak Agung Gede Djelantik grew up to become the King and fathered Maryam's Great Great Grandmother who raised Maryam until she was 7 years old.

 

Bali history tourAnak Agung Made Djelantik Brayawangsa, The Spiritual Leader and the last King of Lombok in 1920
The King of Karagasem was tolerant of other religions and there is a mosque just outside the palace walls of Tama Unjung. When the Kingdom spread to the Muslim island of Lombok there was even more Islamic influence within the Empire.

 

Bali old accommodationsKing Gusti Bagus Djelantik and his wife at The Karangasem Royal Palace in 1919Bali old photos tourAnak Agung Ketut Djelantik and his assistant in 1865Bali best tour tipsI Gusti Ketut Djelantik with his daughter, The Princess Gusti Ajoe Putu.The photograph above was taken in 1865 by Kinsbergen. It depicts Ketut Djelantik. On his arm is his daughter, The Princess Gusti Ajoe Putu. You can see the King's foot rests firmly on the girl holding the umbrella. This is to signify he is above her and in cotrol of her. In Indonesian culture the feet are considered unclean and one should never point with the foot, step over someone or touch someone with thier foot. Here the King makes a clear statement that this is my daughter, The Princess, elevated on a stool and even with The King and below us are our slaves. This photo was taken in Batavia, which is now called Jakarta, the capitol of Indonesia on Bali's neighboring island of Java.

 

Bali holiday tour villaAnak Agung Made Djelantik and Anak Agung Ketut Djelantik with The Last King of Lombok (center)I am uncertain who is who in this photo but I believe the two figures seated on the ground are Anak Agung Made Djelantik on the left and Anak Agung Ketut Djelantik on the right. The man in the middle is The Last King of Lombok who is pictured, in his somewhat younger days, four photos above with the impressive beard. Unlike the photo directly above, his feet are not placed on those below him as these are family members and respect is shown. Ketut Djelantik, on the bottom right, looks very much like Maryam's brothers.

 

Bali retreat center villaI Gusti Bagus Djilantik with his son Anak Agung Gede DjelantikBali yoga kingdom photoI Gusti Bagus Djelantik with his father I Gusti Gede DjelantikPictured above is once again I Gusti Bagus Djelantik. He is with his father I Gusti Gede Djelantik and they are reading sacred manuscripts called Lontar.  They are made of dried palm leaves and pass down knowledge relating to health and healing, astrology, astronomy, homeopathy, religious rules and teaching, sacred rituals, holy formulas, magic, ethics, and the actual and mythical history of the family and of The Indonesian People. They are generally writen in the old Javanese language called Kawi along with ancient Sanskrit written in Devanagri.

 

Bali health wellness yogaI Gusti Bagus Djelantik, The King of Karangasem
We hesitate to put this information on line as we are uncertain of the lineage and who is who, but we want to share what we have learned. If you have any knowledge of this and care to share it with us, please contact us here.
To learn more about this and our journeys in Indonesia as we build our villa retreat, please sign up for our free newsletter and be eligible for our soft opening friend and family discounts. Click here now!
References and thanks to - http://www.purikarangasem.com and Adrian Vickers. Some photos courtesy of KITLV-Leiden, some Creative Commons. 

 

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Reader Comments (4)

I just love this interesting post at all. The story of Maryam's is adorable. The photographs and the story made me curious to know more about the kings. I must love to share with my friends too.

August 4, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLatika

Thank you Lakita and I am glad you enjoyed it. It has been a challenging but rewarding effort to find out more about Balinese and Sasak (Lombok) royalty, but it has been fun.
Warm regards,
Michael

August 4, 2012 | Registered CommenterMichael Doliveck

This post is really very interesting one and I like to read it. Thanks for sharing this informative post describing royal family of Bali.

August 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCheap Car Hire Bangkok

The pic of I Gusti Bagus Djelantik with his father I Gusti Gede Djelantik is very interesting. Is this in public domain? (where?) or is it a family photo? Can it be put onto wikimedia commons (if not already there)?

October 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

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