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General History

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Tabanan has its roots in the 14th century when Javanese invaders settled in the area. As they expanded their territory, they came into conflict with the Mengwi house, founded during the mid-1600s with the fall of Gelgel and allied with Buleleng. In the eighteenth century Mengwi was the second most powerful royal house after Klungkung, whose support it enjoyed. Internal conflict in the late 1700s weakened Mengwi and led to territorial losses to Tabanan which were retaken in the mid-1800s. By the late 1800s further conflict erupted and Klungkung withdrew its support, opening the way for its destruction by Klungkung, Badung, Bangli and the Dutch. Tabanan got most of Mengwi, but rising Dutch interests in Bali and the refusal of Tabanan to give in led to its end in 1906 with the imprisonment and suicide of the ruler and his son.


As Kintamani is to Bangli, so is Bedugul one of Tabananís main points of interest. This crisp mountain town boasts three crater lakes, which are hemmed by untamed jungle and patchworks of market gardens, and the tepid water of which sends a mist into the icy air above the surface. This is another place to retreat from the heat of the coast, to fish, or to wander through the lovely botanical gardens. Recently a number of companies have established walking trails, most of which take visitors through the spectacular rice paddies of Jatiluwih.


The district of Tabanan boasts Baliís most famous temple, which is set on a rocky protrusion that becomes an island at high tide, offering spectacular sunset views in the dry season. There is also the Ulun Danu temple on the edge of Bedugulís Bratan Lake. The temple is devoted to the goddess of the lake, which irrigates the rice fields of Tabanan. The beautiful Alas Kedaton located in Kediri is also worth a visit.

Traditional arts

Tabanan is home to a number of villages that have nurtured peculiar local art forms. Krambitan village, for example, boasts the exciting tektekan exorcist dance drama which is accompanied by giant wooden cowbells and bamboo instruments. Tista has its leko-andir dance, performed by young girls. Penarukan is known for its carvings, Pejaten for its ceramics, and Blayu for its woven brocades.


Photographes courtesy of  ”  Skeety