11 February 2013

Bali - The history of Kuta

Kuta had a long history before it turned into a center for night entertainment. Unfortunately, many parts of its history have now been forgotten.

No travel agent or community pays special attention to developing the historical aspect of Kuta to make it a tourist attraction.
An official history book from Kuta subdistrict states that Kuta was first mentioned in 1336, when Gajahmada and his troops from Majapahit landed on the south end of the beach. This area is now known as Tuban, the same as a small city on the East Java coast. Local people started to refer to this area, located in Banjar Segara Kuta, as Pasih Perahu, which means boat beach. The area that used to be a harbor has disappeared due to coastal erosion. Evidence that this location used to be a harbor is found at Pesanggrahan Temple. At the front of the temple, there is a miniature ship built in 2002.

A number of books on Kuta mention that during the Dutch colonial period the area was a trade center for the island. A Danish trader named Mads Johansen Lange was harbormaster in Kuta. He is immortalized by a tomb and a narrow road that bears his name. The tomb, built in the Balinese style, is called Mads Lange Memorial, while the road’s name is Jl. Tuan Lange, both are located near Jl. Bypass Ngurah Rai. A stone and concrete monument more than 2 meters tall is the centerpiece of the Mads Lange Memorial.
In 19th century Bali, Mads Lange was an influential trader, the trusted adviser of the island’s kings and princes. He rose to be the trade agent for the King of Kesiman, the most influential and powerful among the traditional rulers of Badung, a kingdom that ruled, among other places, Kuta, where Lange established his house. Lange passed away in 1856. It is said that he was poisoned. He was reportedly survived by several wives and a group of children.

Meanwhile, a testament to Kuta’s multicultural history is the Dharmayana Monastery. Built in 1876, the monastery is one of the oldest buildings in Kuta. Now 136 years old, the monastery has always been well visited and is an interesting photo subject whenever Balinese Hindu rituals take place.

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