The Sacred ‘Medal Agung’ Gate

Culture | Written By, Namhar Hernanto |

The most famous attraction in Klungkung, Kerta Gosa was built in 1686 inside the complex of the Semarapura palace.  

Today, Klungkung is mostly known for its Hall of Justice known as Taman Gili Kerta Gosa, a historical site located in the heart of Semarapura, the regency’s capital. Kerta Gosa’s court room is an elevated gazebo with a rectangular table placed in the centre along with six chairs for three judges, who were priests, and three assessors. And while the antique wooden table and chairs along with the centuries-old paintings on the hall’s ceilings are prized items, it’s the Medal Agung gate inside the complex that stole our attention. 

The local belief says that when the gate is opened from within the Puri Agung yard, whomever opening it would be facing a wide, endless, dark ocean. The fact that on the other side of the gate is a residential area has made the gate sacred; thus, the gate has now turned into a place where the Balinese Hindus lay their offerings. This gate may look like all the other traditional Balinese wooden gates, the ones with all the detailed engraving. However, testimonials from the neighbourhood – some generations old – share their strong belief about the magic this gate can do. 

It has been quite a while now since the last time the gate was opened; and the person who opened it was a thief trying to escape after burgling one of the houses in the area. Unsuccessful in his escape, the thief was found in the morning lying on the steps in front of the gate. Residents in the area found him in trance-like condition, saying “ocean…ocean…dark…dark…”.

Sign boards have been put in places after the incident, saying that the small courtyards in front and back of the gate are reserved only for pilgrims, the devoted people who will never attempt to open the gate. Because you know what happens if the gate is opened after the last incident? It’s said that the whole of Klungkung, if not the whole island of Bali, will collapse into ruins. 

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Namhar Hernanto

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