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The Origin of Karangasem

mini-img_3303The regency of Karangasem is one of the nine regencies in Bali situated in the eastern part of the island. The whole of the regency is an interesting area to explore and is home to some of Bali’s greatest travel attractions such as the Mother Temple of Besakih, Tenganan, the Bali Aga village, whose inhabitants who still live according to their ancient traditions and other cultural and historical archaeological remains such as Tirtagangga not far from Amlapura, the regency’s capital. It is an amazing area of Bali that has an extraordinary variety of scenic landscapes. One time you could be driving through high mountain ranges and just as suddenly you will find yourself admiring terraced rice field encroaching on stretches of beautiful beaches.

On all my travels my curiosity always gets the upper hand and one thing that I am interested in is the origin of names. On a recent visit to the area as we drove down the east coast road towards Tulamben I asked my long-time Balinese friend, Hermann, what does the name Karangasem mean, its origin. Hermann told me that Karangasem means ‘Place of Asem’ and originated from the numerous ‘Asem’ trees brought to Bali and planted in the area by the Dutch during the occupation of Indonesia. So, if you break the name down the name Karangasem, ‘Karang’ means place and ‘Asem’ being the trees. For anyone that has driven around the regency you will no doubt have noticed these towering boughs seemingly growing over the road. Now that I knew that, it stirred my curiosity to find out more of the origin of names of towns, places and the ilk.
Do you know the name origins of any town, village or place in Bali? Let me know. I’d be extremely interested.

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