The Legend of Tukad Petanu

The Legend of the Tukad Petanu

The Taman Petanu Eco Neighborhood is located on the banks of one of Bali most sacred rivers, called the 'Tukad Petanu'.

This river is tied to a fascinating cultural history. This is a basic introduction to this ancient tale.

Once upon a time, there was a powerful king, Mayadenawa, who reigned from Blingkang, a few kilometers north of Batur Lake in Kintamani, Bangli. Mayadenawa was a powerful king, who also ruled Makasar, Sumbawa, areas of Sulawesi, Lombok, and Blambangan.

King Mayadenawa was a descendant of a powerful giant Daitya and the Goddess Danu. He had magical power and could transform himself into various creatures, but his extraordinary supernatural powers, made him arrogant and evil. Through his delusions he forbade the Balinese people to worship God, and destroyed many shrines and temples. Crops failed and food shortages and diseases ensued. The people suffered terribly, but they did not have the courage to fight the evil king because of his magical powers.Mpu Kul Putih, a powerful Hindu priest, took compassion upon the people. He meditated at Besakih Temple asking God for guidance. In his meditation, he was instructed to go to Jambu Dwipa (India) where he would find the help he sought.

After the journey was undertaken, an army led by the God of War, Bhatara Indra, descended from heaven to battle the evil Mayadenawa. The right wing of Dewa Indra’s army was led by Citrasena and Citragada and the left wing by Sangjayantaka, while Gandarwa led the supporting platoon, the main platoon was lead by Bhatara Indra hiself. Dewa Indra sent Bhagawan Narada to spy on Mayadenawa’s Kingdom.A dreadful war ensued, resulting in many casualties on both sides, however, Dewa Indra’s army was by far stronger,and Mayadenawa’s troops ran off and left Mayadenawa and his right hand, Kala Wong.Night fell and while Dewa Indra’s troops were sleeping, Mayadenawa created ‘Tirtha Cetik’ (poisonous water). He sneaked away with his feet angled so as not to leave recognizable footprints on the ground. The area where he passed

is now known as ‘Tampaksiring’ which literally means angled footsteps - Tampak means the sole of foot,

and siring means angled.

The toxic waters poisoned Dewa Indra’s troops, so Dewa Indra drove a stick deep into the ground from which sprang forth the holy spring of healing waters, called Tirta Empul, which was used to raise the fallen army.

Tirta Empul is to this day protected and revered at the renowned Tirta Empul temple in the Tampaksiring regency.

Dewa Indra’s army then hunted down Mayadenawa, who transformed himself into several creatures to avoid capture. The area where he transformed into ‘Manuk Raya’, an enormous bird, is now called Manukaya village. Where he disguised himself as ‘Buah Timbul’, a type of vegetables, is now Timbul village. Where he transformed into ‘Busung’, young coconut leaves, is now Blusung village, and the place where he turned into a angel (Bidadari) is now known as Kedewatan village.

Finally, Mayadenawa transformed himself into a huge rock after which Dewa Indra shot him dead with a holy arrow. The evil king’s blood carved out a river called Tukad Petanu (the Petanu River). It is believed that the river was cursed and that if it was used to irrigate rice field, the paddies would seep bad smelling blood. This curse was to last for 1,000 years.

Dewa Indra’s victory over the evil king was celebrated as the first ‘Galungan’. The meaning of Galungan is the victory of ‘Dharma’ universal truth and kindness over ‘Adharma’ its opposite. To this day Galungan is celebrated every Balinese year (210 days) as a day of joy, that reminds us all of the ultimate victory of good over evil.

A stone inscription near Tirta Empul states that the sacred temple was built by King Chandrabhayasingha in 962 AD

The thousand year curse has run its course, and today the Petanu River flows on, bringing its nutrient rich waters

This sacred river is one of Bali’s most precious natural resources

The Taman Petanu Eco Neighborhood is located on the banks of 'Tukad Petanu', the river is tied to a fascinating cultural history.

It is one of the great features of the neighborhood and we are so honored to be able to explore and live in harmony with the special local heritage.

Click here to download the document that gives a basic introduction to this ancient tale, which includes a brief history of the Tukad Petanu (Petanu River) and its relationship with the origines of the Balinese Festival of Galungan. When you click on the link it will open the file online and you can save the file onto your computer.