Description of Puri Banyuning

The Story of Dinasty

In the past, Bali was divided into several kingdoms and the thrones were passed by generation. The Kings in some districts in Bali had governed for many decades. Though the aristocrat system disappears the higher class people and priests are still highly respected. Among dinasties of traditional rulers in Bali , the dinasty of Mengwi is among the most respected ones.

I Gusti Agung Banyuning was one among the sons of first ruler of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Ngurah Made Agung or Tjokorde Sakti Blambangan, who was the founder of the Kingdom of Mengwi . Established around 17 th century, in their golden years Mengwi's power dominated the island of Bali . The powerful influence of the kingdom was spreading as far as South Bali, Buleleng, Jembrana and Blambangan, in the eastern tip of East Java . To secure his power, the King also established some satelite palaces, with the centre royal palace situated in Kawiapura/Mengwi.

Each satelite palace was respectively ruled by one of his son or his loyal followers. To name some of the palace and the head of respective palace: his third son was resided in Payangan palace, I Gusti Agung Ketut Buleleng (the second son) headed the palaces of Muncan, Kapal, while I Gusti Ngurah Teges in Kaba-Kaba, I Gusti Ngurah Panji Wayahan in Buleleng, I Gusti Ngurah Jembrana in Jembrana.

His ninth son, I Gusti Agung Banyuning resided and ruled the palace of Sayan , Gianyar. However, in 1770s, during the reign of the late fifth king of Mengwi, I Gusti Agung Made Munggu alias Tjokorde Ngurah Made Agung, some regions under Mengwi authority were formally granted to the neighbouring kingdoms. The regions of Padang Luah, Dalung, Gaji, Kuta and Jimbaran were granted to Badung kingdom, while Blahbatuh, Sayan, Kedewatan were granted to Dewa Manggis, the king of Gianyar.

Proceding the historical changes, I Gusti Agung Gede Banyuning – the grandson of the first ruler of Puri Banyuning – was moved to the village of Bongkasa, in the district of Abiansemal, to establish another satelite palace under the name of Puri Banyuning Bongkasa. To maintain the memories of his previous palace in Sayan - Ubud, some areas under his authority was dubbed with the name of areas around his former palace in Sayan. Until now, we could find banjar Sayan, banjar Kedewatan and banjar Tanggayuda, around Sayan, Gianyar.

There have been many changes accurred during three centuries, in eighteen century the kingdom of Mengwi was gradually lost its power, and some kingdoms took over their power over the island. In 1906, the Dutch took over the whole island of Bali under their colonial power. In 1930s, the colonial interventions completed a process in which the largely fluid character of southern Balinese political system virtually disappeared. In 1945 Republic of Indonesia was born, and the new political system was introduced. From the course of the time, the political power of traditional palaces have gradually disappeared. However, the Bongkasa palace managed to retain their traditional influence, particulary at the village level, because their landed property remain largely untouched and their leaders functioned as village heads. Some representatives of the puri pursued careers in the Indonesian bureaucracy, some attaining high positions. A number of individuals became wealthy through the building of trade and their involvement in the tourism. In a nutshell, members of the aristocracy of Banyuning Bongkasa palace could enter their modern era without loosing the traditional respect from their people.

For the villagers of Bongkasa, the palace of Banyuning Bongkasa is still regarded as the residence of their traditional leaders. It was particulary obvious during the royal cremation of the Prince of Bongkasa, I Gusti Agung Gede Oka, on the 18 th of May 1997 . The event was a magnificent and a touching one, as in Bali the more beloved the deceased it seems the more composed the mourners.

I Gusti Agung Gede Oka - a direct descendant of the ruler of Puri Banyuning Bongkasa, was formerly the Head of the Education and Cultural Department of Bali. He has renovated the palace of Banyuning Bongkasa and his wife, Ida Ayu Kompiang Sutarti, continued his work and later on, the palace is opened for public. The palace – “puri” in Bali or “keraton” in Java – is traditionally the center of social and cultural activities for the local community. Nowadays, the palace or “puri” of Banyuning Bongkasa has found its new cultural role in the world of modern tourism.