The Kerta Gosa Hall of Justice, built at the end of the 18th century, is located in the north-east corner of the Klungkung palace, officially called Puri Agung Semarapura. The palace (Puri) was built by Dewe Agung Jambe I, towards the end of the 17th century.
The Kerta Gosa complex features Bale Kerta Gosa, Bale Kambang, and Taman Gili. Bale Kerta Gosa is the open pavilion or Royal court of Justice, where litigations that could not be settled by village headmen were brought. Trials were conducted in this Royal Court, under the helm of the King, by the 3 brahmin jurors and judgments passed.
The ceiling of the Kerta Gosa or Royal Court of Justice is adorned with a series of paintings or murals depicting traditional Kamasan or Wayang style. Each of the six rows of paintings on the ceiling narrates a different story based on the theme adopted from the notable epics like Mahabharata.
The original paintings were done on textile/cloth and parba. The themes portrayed in the paintings include Bhima Swarga, re-incarnation, nirvana, and scenes visualizing portent earthquakes. The paintings not only astound the visitors but also enlighten them about the beliefs, customs, and judicature of the day.
The paintings seem to suggest, the themes were selected to educate complaints about the consequences of their wrongdoings in other worlds and thereby prevent recidivism. The Bale Kambang also referred to as “floating pavilion”, was used by the Royal family to conduct key ceremonies and exequies.
The pavilion in the middle of the pond with lotus flowers and garden around provides a visual treat to the visitors. The insides of Bale Kambang depict paintings of Kamasan style. Paintings depicting tales of Prince Sutasoma and folk stories of Pan, Mr & Mrs. Brayut enchant the visitors.
A series of historical figurines on either side of the bridge connecting Bale Kambang to mainland mesmerize tourists. Apart from the Royal court hall and Bale Kambang, the visitors can visit the Museum located inside the complex to see and enjoy the historic keepsakes of the Klungkung dynasty that were used in the Royal court.