Bali's Blanjong Pillar

By John Reality, Cambodia, May 2012

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Bali’s oldest known artifact is a small stone pillar housed in Blanjong Temple at Jl Danau Poso in the town of Sanur. Sound underwhelming? It isn’t. At least, not in terms of its historical significance.

An inscription on the pillar tells the tale of a Javanese king who visited Bali in the 10th century and installed what was probably Bali's first formal government. The amazing things is that unlike the gospels or other ancient recollections of historical events, this account seems to have been inscribed by primary participants at the time the events took place. The temple itself is the most important temple in the area, and there are a number of other ancient artifacts for you to peruse and wonder at as well.

If the pillar alone isn’t reason enough to attract your attention, the pleasures of greater Sanur should augment your enthusiasm. Sanur has an assortment of spas, resorts and other tourist attractions. The Museum Le Mayeur is worth visiting if you find yourself in the area. It houses more than 90 paintings by the Belgian artist Adrien Jean Le Mayeur de Merpes, as well as a guidebook in English and a collection of historical photographs. If you’re looking to stretch your legs after communing with history and art, take a stroll along one of two boardwalks that wind through the 1,500-acre mangrove forest on the edge of Sanur that is known as Suwung Kauh. It is also worth pointing out that the swimming at the main beach is great for children, as a protective coral reef just offshore reduces the size and force of the waves.

Photo courtesy of Carl Ottersen via Flickr.

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