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Karangasem is a regency (kabupaten) of Bali, Indonesia. It covers the east part of Bali, has an area of 839.54 km2 and a population of 369,320 (2002). Its regency seat is Amlapura. Karangasem was devastated when Mount Agung erupted in 1963, ultimately killing 1900 people. Karangasem formerly was a kingdom before Bali was conquered by the Dutch.Karangasem regency in eastern most bali is dominated by the towering cone of Mount Agung, the island's tallest and most revered volcano. Dormant for a century, agung erupted with devastating force in 1963, killing over 1,000 people and destroying many antiquities.

Evidence of this cataclysm can still be found along the regency's north-east littoral, where volcanic boulders pepper the countryside. After Mt. Agung erupted in 1963 the capital changed names to amlapura.
The "Puri Agung Kanginan" palace features a blend of Balinese, Dutch, and Chinese architecture. To the south are the ruins of the "Taman Ujung" pleasure palace. On Karangasem's south coast, 16 km past the "Padangbai" and the Lombok ferry terminal, the small fishing village of "Candi Dasa" has experienced a tourist boom of its own and now boasts a number of restaurant, hotels and even discos.
It was in this area that the first European explorers "discovered" Bali, and 400 years later, despite the erosion of her beaches, Candi Dasa remains a beautiful and pastoral spot.
The diving in this area can be good and a couple of exclusive resorts offer idyllic seclusion from the better-traveled parts of the island. Outside the town is the coastal tourist area of Candi Dasa, named after and old temple on the hillside, across the lagoon is Gandhi meditation center.
Snorkeling around a shipwreck is superb up north at Tulamben. Tenganan is the only place in Indonesia where double ikat gringsing cloth is woven.
Festivals here and in Dauh Tukad in June-July feature wooden ferries wheels and ritual battles with thorny leaves. Nearby villages of dauh tukad, bungaya, asak, timbrah, perasi, bugbug, jasi, ababi, seraya, sengkidu, ngis, bebandem and padangkerta have colorful rituals with ceremonial dances for women and men, trance battiest, and spectacular offerings.
Beautiful brocades are woven in sidemen. Winding mountain roads through salak snakeskin fruit farms and terraced hills lead to besakih, bali's most important temple from the outside, but the view is gorgeous and the air refreshing. Mount Agung should only be climbed by experienced hikers with a guide.

Interesting places are:

The Mother  Temple of Besakih

Tenganan, a Bali Aga village (the original Bali), with inhabitants who still live according to their ancient traditions Beach

town of Amed.

Candidasa is a good starting point for visiting places along the beautiful east coast of Bali. A little east of Candidasa, the village Bugbug is located. Its inhabitants celebrate the Perang Dawa (war of the gods) every other year at full moon of the fourth month (October). People of all nearby villages then climb to the top of a hill and sacrifice pigs by hanging them in trees.

In Budakeling, Karangasem, a model of religious tolerance and acculturation between Hindus and Muslims can be found. Saren Jawa village home to 100 Muslims families is surrounded by all populated Balinese Hindus villages following the Siwa-Buda belief system, an amalgamation of Hinduism and Mahayana Buddhist. The people of Saren Jawa using combine name of using Balinese first names before their Muslim last names, such as Ni Nyoman Maimunah.

The Bali Aga, Baliaga or Bali Mula are the original Balinese people, predominantly located in the eastern part of the island, in Karangasem. They can also be found in north-western and central regions.

The original inhabitants of Bali are said to have come long before the Hindu-Javanese immigration wave, from Bedulu village. The legend is, there lived the last king of the Pejeng (an old Balinese kingdom), Sri Aji Asura Bumibanten, who had supernatural powers. He could cut off his head without feeling pain and put it back on again. One day, though, his head accidentally fell into a river and was swept away. One of his servants, panicked, decided to quickly decapitate a pig and replace the king's head with the animal's head. Embarrassed, the king hid in a tall tower, denying anyone to see him. However, there was a small child who discovered the secret and since then, the king was known as Dalem Bedulu, or He-who-changed-head. A more scientific reason is the theory that it comes from the name Badahulu or "the village upstream". After the Pejeng kingdom, the Majapahit Empire rose to power.The Bali aga live in isolated areas in the mountains. Tourists wishing to visit certain villages must take care in not putting themselves in danger due to the geographical circumstances. While visiting, it is also important to be respectful and quietly observe the preserved way of life the Bali aga Tenganan, where tourism is more easily embraced and the people are said to be more friendly, a three-day festival called Udaba Sambah is held during the months of June or July. It is also to be noted that Tenganan prohibits divorce and polygamy, unlike other villages.The Bali Aga speak a dialect of the Balinese language that is entirely their own, dating back from thousands of years. It varies from village to village, where the one spoken in the Tenganan village is different from the Trunyan village.An important part of Bali Aga culture is the unique weaving skills found especially in the Tenganan village, called geringsing. Geringsing consists of an intricate ikat technique, where patterns are applied in such a way that it only appears when completed. The geringsing threads are dyed and cross-dyed until they achieve a color that is often mute. The villagers believe the geringsing to be sacred because of its ability to drive away bad spirits, or black magic. Gering means decease and sing means no.










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