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Madokaran in Denpasar

Madokaran, an integral activity of the Denpasar Heritage City Tour program, was initiated by the Mayor of Denpasar, I Gusti Ngurah Jaya Negara. The Denpasar City Tourism Office, led by Mrs. Dezire Mulyani, effectively implements this initiative. The program's primary objective is to shed light on the myriad tourist attractions in Denpasar, with a special focus on features that underscore Denpasar's esteemed status as a Heritage City.

Situated within Denpasar, the Gajah Mada Heritage Area is a prominent cultural heritage space. It stretches from Thamrin Street in the west, extending all the way to the east, culminating at the Catur Muka Statue. This area boasts a diverse community, where descendants of Chinese, Arab, Indian, and Javanese cultures have cohabited with the local Balinese community for over a century. Not only have these groups formed robust community ties, but they also established the largest traditional trading center and the oldest business district in Bali. As such, this area serves as a testament to the thriving multiculturalism in Bali.

Every Saturday and Sunday, from 09:00–15:00 WITA (Central Indonesian Time), the Madokaran program welcomes the public. Impressively, this immersive experience is offered free of charge. The program features two captivating routes: Route A begins and concludes at the Tegal Terminal (round trip), and Route B initiates and ends at the Badung Market Square (round trip). To facilitate this program, the Denpasar City Government has allocated eight dokar units, with each location being equipped with four dokar units.

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The Evolution of Dokar in Denpasar

Historically, dokar ‘traditional horse cart’ held a significant place as a mode of public transportation in the city of Denpasar during the colonial times. Dutch records substantiate the presence of as many as 261 dokar units operating in Denpasar during that period. The dokar, driven by a coachman often clad in traditional attire and wielding a whip, was an integral part of the city's cultural tapestry. Its characteristic features included bells on both sides, creating a unique sound that, coupled with the rhythmic clopping of the horse's hooves, added to the city's ambiance. The 1960s marked the golden era of dokar in Denpasar, during which the city even hosted a dokar coachman organization, the Denpasar Dokar Union (Perdoden).

However, with the advent of the New Order era and the subsequent proliferation of motorcycles and cars, the dokar's prominence began a gradual descent, its presence slowly diminishing over time.

In a bid to reclaim its charm, the Denpasar City Government, since the early 2000s, has been striving to breathe new life into this historic mode of transportation. They have incorporated the dokar as a key feature of the city tours, transforming it into a tourist attraction. This led to the revitalization of the dokar, now seen as a heritage symbol, and its reintroduction to tourists eager to explore and appreciate the historic tourist attractions in the heart of Denpasar.

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The Sacred Tomb of Raden Ayu Siti Khodijah.

Situated to the north of Setra Agung Badung in Denpasar, stand two significant cultural heritage sites: The Sacred Tomb of Raden Ayu Siti Khodijah and the resting place of Tuan Miora from Japan. These two historic sites are located adjacently, to the east of the Dalem Kahyangan Temple in Denpasar.

Tuan Miora Djo, a Japanese soldier born in 1888, passed away on September 7, 1945. Throughout his life, he found himself deeply perturbed by the savage violence perpetrated by invaders. Choosing to align himself with the indigenous people, he provided significant assistance to the local community. As his life came to an end, he expressed the wish to be buried amongst the local people in Sema Badung.

The Sacred Tomb of Raden Ayu Siti Khodijah houses the remains of one of the daughters of King Pemecutan. Her birth name was Gusti Ayu Made Rai, but she was also known as Raden Ayu Pemecutan. Her spouse was the son of the King of Bangkalan, Raden Sosroningrat. Post their marriage, Dewi Ayu relocated to Madura, embraced Islam, and adopted the name Siti Khotijah.

According to legend, the tomb was dedicated to Siti Khotijah, who willingly sacrificed herself due to a misunderstanding when the guards of the Pemecutan Kingdom, having inadvertently found her praying while cloaked in a white veil, accused her of practicing ngeleak, or witchcraft. This distressing misapprehension unjustly led to her demise.

In our present-day multicultural world, we engage with individuals from myriad cultural backgrounds daily. We should take to heart Siti Khotijah's story and learn to appreciate, respect, and rejoice in our diverse cultures. In doing so, we can cultivate a broader understanding, acceptance, and harmony amongst all of us.

Puri Agung Tjokorda Pemecutan

Puri Agung Pemecutan and the Statue of Ida Tjokorda Pemecutan IX

The Puri Agung Pemecutan, the palace of the King of Badung, was originally established in 1686. Puri Pemecutan was initially located west of its current location. Its relocation transpired following the Puputan Badung War on September 20, 1906, as the old palace had been destroyed and taken over by the Dutch. The name 'Pemecutan', according to Denpasar's oral tradition, derives from the word ‘pecut' or whip. The founder of Puri Pemecutan, Kyai Ketut Pemedilan, also known as Kyai Macan Gading, was reportedly adept at handling a 'pecut'. The 'pecut' symbolizing the majesty of the extensive Puri Pemecutan family, endures to this day.

At the intersection before Puri Agung Pemecutan, stands a statue of I Gusti Ngurah Agung Pemecutan, also known as Ida Tjokorda Pemecutan IX, portrayed being borne by four soldiers. This statue memorializes Ida Tjokorda Pemecutan IX, who fell during the Puputan Badung War on September 20, 1906, along with the King of Denpasar, I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung, also referred to as Tjokorda Mantuk Ring Rana.

Dutch records attest that Puri Pemecutan fell into Dutch hands in the late afternoon, just hours after the successful capture of Puri Denpasar. Ida Tjokorda Pemecutan IX and the King of Denpasar, I Gusti Ngurah Made Agung, gave their lives in defense of the sovereignty, the dignity of their people, and the Kingdom of Badung.

Source Cover Image: Denpasar Tourism

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The Penambangan Badung Temple

Acting as the royal temple for the Badung Kingdom, the Penambangan Badung Temple was founded in the early stages of the kingdom's establishment. This was accomplished by Kiyai Jambe Pule, bestowed with the title Kiyai Anglurah Pemecutan I.

The temple's name, Penambangan, is intimately linked with the treasures Kiyai Jambe Pule received at Mount Batukaru - a whip (pecut) and a rope (tambang). The temple serves as a metaphorical rope, symbolizing the unity and connection among the Pemecutan family and community. It houses numerous palinggih (holy shrines), inclusive of the paibon, which represents the familial ties of all individuals who contributed to the Badung Kingdom's foundation.

The temple comprises 52 palinggih, 18 of which are paibon palinggih and the remainder being panyawangan palinggih, representing various significant temples in Bali. The stewardship of this temple (pangempon) lies with the community of Puri Pemecutan. The temple celebrates its anniversary (pujawali) on Purnama Kadasa, a full moon in the tenth month of the Balinese calendar tradition, roughly corresponding to March.

Source Cover Image: Denpasar Tourism

Source: Denpasar Tourism

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Setiabudi Street

Setiabudi Street, in the west region of Denpasar, is recognized as a vibrant culinary hub. This street is adorned with a plethora of unique food stalls that showcase the culinary diversity of Denpasar. A particular favorite among the locals and visitors alike is nasi jingo, a distinct type of packaged rice from Denpasar. Fans of this delicacy won't resist the allure of stopping by at the nasi jingo stalls that dot this busy street. These stalls typically start their operations in the evening, continuing late into the night.

Throughout the day, from the break of dawn to twilight, the street teems with traditional Balinese food stalls. Dishes such as babi guling (roast suckling pig) rice, be genyol, and nasi jukut gonda are certainly not to be missed. For those visitors with a palate for non-Balinese cuisines, Setiabudi Street has you covered. It offers a diverse range of general food stalls serving dishes like bakmie (a noodle dish), grilled chicken, fried chicken with fresh vegetables, tofu fritters, and much more.

Source Image Cover: Google Maps

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Gajah Mada Street (East)

Gajah Mada Street is an iconic landmark in Denpasar City. One's visit to Denpasar is often considered incomplete without setting foot on Gajah Mada Street. During the colonial era, Gajah Mada Street was the primary public thoroughfare and served as the nascent heart of Denpasar's burgeoning tourism sector. The street's main allure is undoubtedly its historical essence, evidenced by the presence of old buildings lining both sides, which led to its designation as a cultural heritage zone in 2008.

Since colonial times, Gajah Mada Street has been a commercial hub with a rich multicultural character. Here, merchants of Chinese, Arabian, Indian, Madurese, and Javanese descent have coexisted harmoniously. Denpasar City's residents also remember Gajah Mada Street as an entertainment center, particularly for movies. Along Gajah Mada Street, several cinemas once stood, including Wisnu Theater at the western end of the street and Hollywood Theater, later renamed Indra Djaja, and Indra Theater at the western intersection of Gajah Mada Street.

In the 1960s, a cultural festival named the Gajah Mada Festival was held on Gajah Mada Street. The street's vibrant, bustling character is often depicted in Indonesian and modern Balinese literary texts as a district that "never sleeps".

Source Image Cover: Google Maps

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Bali Museum

Situated south of Pura Jagatnatha, the Bali Museum stands as the oldest museum in Bali. Its establishment dates back to 1910, spearheaded by Assistant Resident WFJ Kroon, local leaders, and renowned Balinese artists I Gusti Ketut Kandel from Banjar Abasan and I Gusti Ketut Rai from Banjar, alongside German architect Curt Grundler. The museum's architecture skillfully blends the structural elements of pura (sacred places) and puri (palaces).

By 1925, a long pavilion styled after the Karangasem tradition had been successfully constructed at the complex's center, serving as an emblem of East Bali's architectural flair. This structure bifurcates into two areas: the external and internal sections. The open veranda in the front section offers a place of respite for museum visitors, while the inner space is purposed for exhibitions.

Tak lama setelahnya, dua struktur tambahan rampung dibangun, yaitu Gedung Tabanan dan Gedung Buleleng. Gedung Tabanan, yang terletak di utara gedung Karangasem, didesain menyerupai meru dengan atap tumpang dua dan terbuat dari ijuk. Bangunan ini merupakan perwakilan seni arsitektur Bali Selatan. Sedangkan Gedung Buleleng, berlokasi di selatan gedung Karangasem, juga dirancang dengan bentuk meru. Struktur ini didukung oleh 33 sesaka – kayu yang diukir dengan motif pepatraan dan dicat dengan prada. Gedung ini memiliki empat pintu yang masing-masing mengarah ke empat penjuru mata angin. Di tengah ruangan, terdapat tugeh – poros tiang penyangga atap dengan patung singa bersayap (Singamara) di alasnya, yang merupakan simbol dari Kabupaten Buleleng.

Initially under the stewardship of the Bali Museum Foundation, the Bali Museum was officially inaugurated on December 8, 1932. After Indonesia's independence, the museum's management was transferred to the Indonesian Government on January 5, 1966. The Bali Museum boasts a diverse collection that spans prehistoric artifacts, historical era relics, and ethnographic objects.

 

 

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Rsi Statue at Suci Intersection

Upon reaching the junction of Diponegoro Street, Hasanuddin Street, and Sumatra Street, visitors are greeted by a statue standing majestically at the intersection's center. This statue depicts an Rsi, or priest, carrying a ceremonial bell, referred to as a 'genta'. Locally, it's often called the Rsi Statue. The Rsi, or priest, holds a place of great reverence within the religious fabric of Balinese society.

The Rsi Statue has roots tracing back to the 1920s, as indicated by Dutch photographs from that era, making the statue nearly a century old. Although the statue's current positioning is elevated, it was initially installed at road level.

The Rsi Statue serves as an emblematic icon of the Suci district. Once upon a time, the Suci area functioned as a terminal for both intra-city and inter-city transportation, a fuel station, and a lively local market. Today, this bustling area has transformed into the Suci Plaza shopping complex, brimming with a multitude of gold shops.

Historically, this locale served as the vibrant hub of Denpasar's nightlife. Moreover, it birthed the term 'nasi jingo' (a local culinary delicacy), thus earning its place on Denpasar's gastronomic map. During daylight hours, the Suci district operated as a terminal for intra-city and inter-city transportation. From the 1970s to the 1980s, city transport was catered to by the three-wheeled vehicles known as 'bemo'. Moreover, the Suci terminal also housed minibuses that serviced routes to Tabanan and Negara.

In the 1980s, as part of a comprehensive plan to beautify and modernize Denpasar, the Suci terminal underwent a transformation into the multi-storied shopping complex known as Suci Plaza. Its lower level was repurposed as an underground parking space. Post-transformation, the Suci district, especially Hasanuddin Street, evolved into a gold-specialized shopping complex.

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Hasanuddin Street

Upon crossing the southern end of Sulawesi Street, visitors find themselves on Hasanuddin Street. While Sulawesi Street is renowned as a hub for textile trade, Hasanuddin Street is distinguished for its gold trading. This street is lined with numerous gold shops, each offering an array of quality gold jewelry.

The jewelry shops scattered along Hasanuddin Street typically open from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time. These shops deal in gold of diverse grades, from low to high. In addition to selling gold, the shops on Hasanuddin Street also purchase gold from customers wishing to sell their gold jewelry.

Beyond its identity as a gold trading center, the Hasanuddin Street area also offers a view of Tukad Badung, a river that bisects the Badung Market. From the vantage point of the bridge, visitors can appreciate the beauty of Tukad Badung, now a budding tourist attraction in the city of Denpasar.

By taking a left at the western four-way intersection on Hasanuddin Street, visitors will wind their way through the Bukit Tunggal Street area. This area is home to several Melati hotels, which are popular choices among domestic tourists.

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Thamrin Street: A Hub of Commerce and Trade

Thamrin Street serves as a vibrant commercial and service district, acting as a transitional corridor between the bustling trade center of Denpasar City and its predominantly residential neighborhoods. Puri Agung Pemecutan, a site of significant cultural and historical value, can be found here. Moreover, numerous offices and commercial establishments, including the famed Lokitasari shopping complex, line the street.

In addition to its commercial prominence, Thamrin Street is now synonymous with the Denpasar Cineplex, a key entertainment destination. A predecessor to this venue, the Wisata 21 cinema from the Cineplex 21 network, had been in operation since 1986. However, it was closed in 2008 following the downturn in the cinema industry. Recognizing the resurgent demand for cinema facilities among Denpasar's population, the Denpasar Cineplex was inaugurated in 2013 and continues to operate to this day.

Originally known as Gambuh Street, this thoroughfare underwent a name change in 1964 as part of a citywide renaming initiative. The government of the day restructured Denpasar's street names into four categories: fruit names for the Northeast sector, hero names for the Southeast, names of islands and mountains for the Southwest, and artistic names for the Northwest. This renaming process was covered extensively in the Suara Indonesia newspaper (now the Bali Post), beginning with the May 29, 1964 edition. While numerous streets were renamed during this period, Gajah Mada Street was a notable exception.

Consequently, Gambuh Street, located in the Southeast sector, was renamed Thamrin Street in honor of one of Indonesia's national heroes.

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West Side Gajah Mada Street, Tri Kala Semaya and Dewi Melanting Statues

Gajah Mada Street is a standout icon in the cityscape of Denpasar. One's trip to Denpasar feels incomplete without a visit to this historical street. In the colonial era, Gajah Mada Street was the city's principal artery, playing a vital role in the birth and growth of Denpasar's tourism industry. The prime allure of Gajah Mada Street undeniably rests in its historical charm, exhibited through the vintage buildings that grace its flanks. Owing to its historical relevance, the street was declared a cultural heritage conservation area in 2008.

Since colonial times, Gajah Mada Street has been a commercial area with a strong multicultural characteristic. Here, traders of Chinese, Arab, Indian, Madurese, and Javanese descent have become accustomed to living harmoniously side by side. Denpasar city residents also remember Gajah Mada Street as an entertainment center, especially for film. Several cinemas are located along Gajah Mada Street, such as Wisnu Theater at the western end of Gajah Mada Street, Hollywood Theater, which later became Indra Djaja, and then Indra Theater at the western intersection of Gajah Mada Street.

In 1964, Gajah Mada Street served as the venue for a cultural extravaganza called the Gajah Mada Festival. Various pieces of modern Indonesian and Balinese literature depict Gajah Mada Street as a lively district that "never sleeps.”

A pair of giant-shaped statues on Gajah Mada Street, near the Tukad Badung bridge and in front of Badung Market, are visualizations of Sang Kala Tri Semaya. The 3-meter-high statue weighing 3.3 tons was completed on November 29, 2021, and installed on the night of November 30, 2021, and ceremoniously inaugurated in mid-December 2021, coinciding with the Denpasar Festival. This piece of art is the work of Denpasar city artist, I Nyoman Gede Sentana Putra, or familiarly called Kedux, who completed the statue in three months, assisted by his colleagues from Tabanan and Gianyar.

The mastermind behind these artistic marvels is none other than a distinguished artist of Denpasar, I Nyoman Gede Sentana Putra, affectionately known as Kedux. This monumental project, realized over three painstaking months, was a collaborative effort, aided by Kedux's talented associates hailing from Tabanan and Gianyar.

In addition to the Sang Kala Trisemaya statue on Gajah Mada Street, in the Badung Market area, there is also a statue of Ida Ratu Mas Melanting. This statue was installed together with the Sang Kala Trisemaya statue on November 30, 2021. The statue, which is 4.5 meters high and 1.5 meters wide, is the work of Putu Marmar Herayukti, who is known as an ogoh-ogoh artist and a tattoo artist from Banjar Gemeh, Dauh Puri Kangin Village, Denpasar.

The creator intended the Ida Ratu Mas Melanting statue to be an icon of prosperity for the people in Denpasar City. There is a special message that the creator wants to convey through this statue, namely the important principles in trade and life, which are fairness, honesty, and quality.

In traditional literary texts, the figure of Ida Ratu Mas Melanting is said to be the daughter of Dang Hyang Nirarta, a holy sage from East Java who helped build Hindu civilization in Bali. Ratu Ayu Mas Melanting's real name is Ida Ayu Swabhawa. This figure is portrayed as having a wise and intelligent character, and she is an expert in trade. The beauty and character of Ida Ayu Swabhawa made her popular among her customers and she became a role model for people who work as traders. For this reason, the people of Bali continue to honor Ratu Ayu Mas Melanting to this day. She is considered a symbol of the intellectual capacity of Balinese women in the field of entrepreneurship.

Source: Google Maps

Source: Google Maps

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Bali Hotel

Bali Heritage Hotel, previously known as Bali Hotel, is the oldest tourist accommodation in Bali, built in 1927 by the Dutch colonial government. Initially, the hotel was used as a resting place for crew members from the Dutch shipping company KPM (Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij) who docked in Bali. The Bali Hotel began operating in 1928 after being handed over by the Dutch Government to KPM.

The Inna Bali Heritage Hotel is a complex of buildings located on both sides of Veteran Street. The hotel area on the west side of the street was built with European architectural design, evident in the lobby building, front office, kitchen, dining room, and accommodations. The part of the hotel located on the east side of the street includes a multifunctional building and bedrooms. One of the special rooms of this hotel is Suite No. 77, the favorite resting place of the first President of Indonesia, Ir. Soekarno.

The Bali Hotel is a testament to the blend of traditional Balinese culture and modern comfort. The hotel showcases architecture inspired by the unique cultural heritage of Bali and colonial-era modernity. Walter Spies, Colin McPhee, Jane Belo, Miguel Covarrubias, Margaret Mead, Gregory Bateson, and Charlie Chaplin are among the artists and foreign scientists who often gathered at this legendary hotel in the 1930s.