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Dalem Ketut

Dalem Ketut

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Dalem Ketut was a king (Dalem) of Bali who ruled at an uncertain time during the age of the Javanese Majapahit Empire (1293-c. 1527). While first a vassal ruler under the Majapahit kings, he later emerged as the king of a separate island realm. He was also known under the names Sri Smara Kepakisan or Tegal Besung.
According to the 18th-century chronicle Babad Dalem, Dalem Ketut was the youngest son of the immigrant Javanese Sri Aji Kresna Kepakisan, who was established as Majapahit vassal after the Javanese conquest of Bali in 1343. When his father died he was succeeded in his palace in Samprangan by his eldest son Dalem Samprangan, while Ketut spent his time as a gambler. Since Dalem Samprangan quickly proved incompetent to rule, Ketut was persuaded to take royal titles and establish a new palace (puri) in Gelgel, close to the south coast. The old Samprangan palace lapsed into obscurity, while the power and prestige of Gelgel rose. The Babad Dalem chronicle relates that Dalem Ketut twice visited Majapahit, at the first occasion meeting the king Hayam Wuruk (1350–1389). The account is anachronistic, since it is also asserted that Dalem Ketut was alive at the time when Majapahit collapsed, an event historically dated in the early 16th century. Through this event, Bali remained as a daughter kingdom of Majapahit, a condition which still has a deep symbolic significance for the self-perception of the Balinese. At the end of his life Dalem Ketut was visited by a Brahmin from Kling (India) who recognized the face of the king as the same as the countenance of Mahadewa, the God of the mountain Gunung Agung. The priest prophesized the death of Dalem Ketut, which occurred in a supernatural way; the king disappeared without leaving a trace. He left six sons, of whom Dalem Baturenggong succeeded to the throne. The anachronisms in the traditional accounts makes it difficult to establish his historical status, but if he survived the fall of Majapahit he would have flourished in the early 16th century.

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