The prince & his palace - Part 2

It isn’t every day you get to have coffee with a Balinese prince, writes CHIN MUI YOON. in the second part of her focus on Ubud, in the Malaysia Star.

What palace?’ Tjokorda Raka Kerthyasa, 51, recalls with a chuckle, as he surveys the statue decorated gardens of his hotel The Ibah in Bali.

‘When my Australian wedding guests arrived, they were surprised to see only muddy land with a single structure. I had to ask villagers to climb up coconut trees to pluck fruits for them.'

That was in May 1978 when Pak Tjok, as he is fondly known, married Jane Gillespie, a 24-year-old kindergarten teacher from Sydney, Australia. In doing so, the Ubud prince broke deeply entrenched traditions.

Born the youngest child to his 82-year-old father’s 10th wife, Tjokorda’s royal lineage can be traced back 24 generations to Majapahit, the great Hindu kingdom of ancient Java.

His father, Tjokorda Ngurah, was the son of Tjokorda Gede Sukawati who had established his own branch of the Sukawati royal family in Ubud in the 19th century. His uncle, Tjokorda Agung Sukawati, who was Ubud’s last ruling royal, gave him the piece of land where The Ibah is sited. Full Story