Taman Ujung ‘water palace’, with its complete and official designation of Taman Sukasada Ujung, is located in the village of Seraya in Karangasem regency. It is the sister site of Tirta Gangga, also built by the late raja of Karangasem. The complex consists of various large pools and historic structures set against a backdrop of Mount Agung and the eastern shoreline.
The site suffered near devastation by showers of hot ash following the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963, and also weathered an earthquake in 1979. Restoration efforts throughout the decades made way to its current splendour, and it continues to appeal to both locals and visitors.
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The Taman Ujung complex has a combination of Balinese and European architecture throughout three large ponds connected by long elegant bridges and pathways. The physical features and superb mountainous backdrop to its north, and sea to its southwest, make it a favourite location for pre-wedding and artistic photographers.
The name ‘Ujung’, means ‘extremity’ in Indonesian, and it often makes it easy for locals to describe its location as being one of the island’s largest historical landmarks and places of interest in the easternmost part of the island.
The whole park covers an approximate 10Ha of land located approximately 11km southeast of Karangasem’s capital of Amlapura. Its foundations were first laid out in 1919, under the rule of then raja I Gusti Bagus Djelantik who was best known by his noble title, ‘Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem’.
The complex underwent a series of expansions and pool additions around a single existing pool which served not as a royal bathing place, but instead a site for punishment of accused proponents of black magic or Balinese witchcraft known as ‘pangiwa’ and ‘leyaks’.
This pool was known as ‘Kolam Dirah’ and was said to have been built during the rule of the previous raja of Karangasem, dating back to 1901. The Dirah pool is located in the southeast corner of the current layout, and takes its name from the witch queen of the Calonarang legend.
Two ensuing pools were built adding to the Dirah pool, as well as a number of resting pavilions, the raja’s meditation quarters, and the Taman Gili floating pavilions. The complex then shifted purpose to serve as a retreat and a place to welcome dignitaries on their visit to the Karangasem kingdom.
In 1921, during the Dutch occupation of Indonesia, Taman Ujung became an officially open to the public and became known as a royal water garden complex.
Good to Know about Taman Ujung
Combinations of Balinese and European architecture are evident through its ornate pillars, statues and garden and pool features. And much of its scenic appeal owes to the blend of manmade structures amidst nature panoramas.
To the southeast is a hilly range known as Bukit Bisbis; and in the south is the namesake Ujung Beach with its blue horizon. An expanse of verdant rice paddies lies to its east, while in the west are residential housings.
To the northwest of Taman Ujung is a collection of cottages meant for overnight visitors. A temple known as Pura Manikan can be found within the grounds of Taman Ujung. Here a revered water spring is used by devotees and pilgrims.
Taman Ujung is open to the public. Visitors to the eastern parts of Bali may visit Taman Ujung along their tour itineraries, adding to the memorable and scenic photo opportunities with its unique architectural features.
A favourite lookout and high vantage point can be had at one of the ‘warak’ pavilions built on an eastern hill, accessible from a five-minute drive uphill from the site.
Taman Ujung Water Palace
- Location: Tumbu Village, Karangasem