Sunday

Bringing balance back - Part 3

The scene seems surreal as we chat in a Balinese bale (gazebo), on a dusky evening, over a cup of coffee and glass of red wine. The gentle sounds of the suling and gamelan played by a trio of old men enhance the mystical mood. 

But then, The Ibah has always been a dream. This is Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa’s vision of a luxury homestay designed for weary travellers seeking a genuine bit of Bali in the heart of Ubud.  

Located at Tjampuhan where the Oos and sacred Ayung rivers converge, the two-hectare piece of land holds sacred significance and has been in the possession of the Ubud royal family since the 17th century. 

Rci Markandya, a holy man from India, was said to have stopped here for a meditative break in the sixth century. He later continued his journey to the east, where he was instrumental in building Pura Besakih, now Bali’s largest and most revered temple complex at the foothills of Mt Agung. 

‘I played here as a child when the land was a muddy rice field and there was just a single building. I inherited the land after my father passed away in 1967, hence, ‘Ibah’ means ‘bequest’ in Sanskrit,’ says Tjokorda. 

After his son Adam was born in 1978, Tjokorda moved his family from the Ubud palace to stay here.  

Together with his wife Asri, the couple started the Tjetjak Inn on the land with just 10 little huts in 1995. It was a popular venue for arts and drama, and a haunt for painters and travellers.  

Then Bali’s first luxury hotels – Kupu Kupu Barong followed by Amanpuri – came. 

The 90s saw a boom in tourism, as more travellers discovered Bali. Tjokorda and Asri began plans to turn Tjetjak into The Ibah, which took three years to build.  Including the bridge on the photo.

‘There weren’t any drawings as we followed our intuition. A cousin designed the villas for us,’ recalls Tjokorda. Full story

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