Bali’s Lost Kingdoms

The Hindu kingdoms of Bali are the last remaining traces of the once great Majapahit Empire, which ruled almost the entire Indonesian archipelago from Sumatra to New Guinea between the 13th and16th century.

The Majapahit first established themselves in Bali around the 14th century, dominating the island's original inhabitants, which today are known as the Bali Aga-people. A century later the Majapahit, encroached by the spread of Islam, moved their base of power from Java to Bali. Here the nine Hindu kingdoms of Bali would endure for centuries. The largest of these kingdoms was the North Bali kingdom of Buleleng, which comprised almost a third of the island. Buleleng's capital Singaraja grew to be the island's economic and cultural centre, and the kings that ruled here, were the foremost kings of Bali.

It was only in the early 20th century, after centuries of Dutch colonization of Indonesia, before Bali's kings finally relinquished their rule of the island. The boundaries of these lost kingdoms lives on today in the form of Bali's Regencies, or kabupaten. And although they hold no formal authority any longer, the royal families are still revered, and occasionally a prince may hold a position of power in today's political landscape.

By special arrangement with the royal family in Singaraja, Damai can arrange a private tour of the royal family's home and palace. The tour is guided by a member of the family, and you can learn much of the rich history of Bali's royal families.