History and museums, Natural sights
Ubud is a town on the Indonesian island of Bali in Ubud District, located amongst rice paddies and steep ravines in the central foothills of the Gianyar regency. One of Bali's major arts and culture centres, it has developed a large tourism industry.
Ubud has a population of about 30,000 people. Recently, it has become difficult to distinguish the town itself from the villages that surround it. The area surrounding the town is made up of small farms, rice paddies, and dense forest.
Eighth-century legend tells of a Javanese priest, Rsi Markendya, who meditated at the confluence of two rivers (an auspicious site for Hindus) at the Ubud locality of Campuan. Here he founded the Gunung Lebah Temple on the valley floor, the site of which remains a pilgrim destination.
The town was originally important as a source of medicinal herbs and plants; Ubud gets its name from the Balinese word ubad (medicine).
In the late nineteenth century, Ubud became the seat of feudal lords who owed their allegiance to the king of Gianyar, at one time the most powerful of Bali's southern states. The lords were members of the Balinese Kshatriya caste of Sukawati, and were significant supporters of the village's increasingly renowned arts scene.
Tourism on the island developed after the arrival of Walter Spies, an ethnic German born in Russia who taught painting and music, and dabbled in dance. Spies and foreign painters Willem Hofker and Rudolf Bonnet entertained celebrities including Charlie Chaplin, Noël Coward, Barbara Hutton, H.G. Wells and Vicki Baum. They brought in some of the greatest artists from all over Bali to teach and train the Balinese in arts, helping Ubud become the cultural centre of Bali.
A new burst of creative energy came in the 1960s after the arrival of Dutch painter Arie Smit (b. 1916) and the development of the Young Artists Movement.
The Bali tourist boom since the late 1960s has seen much development in the town; however, it remains a centre of artistic pursuit.
The main street is Jalan Raya Ubud (Jalan Raya means main road), which runs east-west through the center of town. Two long roads, Jalan Monkey Forest and Jalan Hanoman, extend south from Jalan Raya Ubud.
Puri Saren Agung is a large palace located at the intersection of Monkey Forest and Raya Ubud roads. The residence of Tjokorda Gede Agung Sukawati (1910–1978), the last ruling monarch of Ubud, it is still owned by the royal family. Dance performances and ceremonies are held in its courtyard. The palace was also one of Ubud's first hotels, opening its doors back in the 1930s.
A number of Hindu temples exist, such as Pura Desa Ubud, which is the main temple, Pura Taman Saraswati, and Pura Dalem Agung Padangtegal, the temple of death. The Gunung Kawi temple is the site of the royal tombs. Goa Gajah, also known as the Elephant Cave, is located in a steep valley just outside of Ubud near the town of Bedulu.
The Moon of Pejeng, in nearby Pejeng, is the largest single-cast bronze kettle drum in the world, dating from circa 300BC. It is a popular destination for tourists interested in local culture.
The economy of Ubud is highly reliant on tourism which focuses on culture, yoga and nature. In contrast to the main tourist area in southern Bali, the Ubud area has forests, rivers, cooler temperatures and less congestion although traffic has increased dramatically in the 21st century. A number of smaller "boutique"-style hotels such as the Tjampuhan Hotel are located in and around Ubud, which commonly offer spa treatments or treks up nearby mountains.
The town and area has a number of art museums, such as the Blanco Renaissance Museum, the Puri Lukisan Museum, Neka Art Museum, and the Agung Rai Museum of Art. Close-by is the Museum Rudana in Peliatan,
The Tek Tok is a traditional Balinese dance that is accompanied by musical sound of mouth 'Tek Tok' altogether with various combinations of body movement and other sounds. Tek Tok dance tale taken from the Mahabharata, where Draupadi at stake in a gambling.
The war between righteousness and villainy become part of the philosophy of life which has never dimmed. The story "Draupadi Parwa" Tek Tok Dance gives a moral message which when a woman who embodies the values of patience, sacrifice, compassion, devotion, and a holy sincerity is not respected, then disasters and calamities will befall a kingdom or state. This story also gives the message that truth, virtue, devotion and genuine compassion will always be protected by God. Tek Tok Dance performance held regularly in Bali Culture Center (BCC) Ubud, Bali four times a week.
The Ubud Monkey Forest is a sacred nature reserve located near the southern end of Jalan Monkey Forest. It houses the temple of death, and approximately 340 crab-eating macaque (Macaca fascicularis) monkeys live there.
The Campuhan ridge walk is a hill from where one can see two rivers Tukad Yeh Wos Kiwa and Tukad Yeh Wos Tengen merge. There are one meter wide of paving block track about two kilometers to the top of the hill.