The Kertha Gosa pavilion is an example of Balinese architecture located on the island of Bali, in the city Klungkung, Indonesia. The Kertha Gosa Pavilion at Klungkung Palace was first built in the early 18th century by Dewa Agung Gusti Sideman. The first function of the pavilion was for the court of law in 1945. Kertha Gosa was repainted in the 1920s and again in the 1960s. The people who discovered the pavilion knew there was an extensive history behind the pavilion. The discovery of Kertha Gosa pavilion was only known by people writing about it here or there to others outside of Bali. The Kertha Gosa Pavilion at Klungkung has the story of Bhima Swarga painted around the ceiling. Bhima Swarga is a Hindu epic referenced from the Mahabharata. The story at the Kertha Gosa Pavilion is not the whole Mahabharata but one small section called Bhima Swarga.
Kertha Gosa means – “the place where the king meets with his ministries to discuss questions of justice.” The story of Bhima Swarga is elaborate and all-embracing. Bhima Swarga in Balinese means, “Bhima goes to the abode of the gods.” Swarga literally means to any place where the gods happen to reside, Heaven or Hell.
Bhima, the second oldest of the five Pandava brothers, is forced by his mother Kunti with the mission to rescue from Hell the souls of his earthly father Pandu, and his second mother, Madri. After saving Pandu and Madri from Hell, Bhima must secure them for Heaven. Throughout Bhima’s journey to Heaven and Hell he is accompanied by his two loyal servants (the clown characters). These made up characters are highly important to the story Bhima Swarga because the ordinary Balinese can relate to the characters in the story Bhima Swarga because the characters represent ordinary Bali.
Bhima’s siblings go through hell right along with Bhima to rescue their parents. The siblings observe people being tortured for their sins. The siblings are Arjuna, Nakula, Sahadewa, Yudisthira, and Bhima. The two clown characters whom accompany Bhima on his journey to Hell are Twalen and Mredah. Twalen wears a black checkered loin cloth and is the helper to Bhima. Twalen translates what is being said by Yudisthira and Kunti. Mredah always wears red checkered loin cloths and he also helps Bhima along with cracking a joke to lighten the mood. Bhima goes to Hell to rescue his parents and when he arrives he finds his parents are in a huge hot water bath. Bhima tips the bath which his parents were boiling in and they are taken off to Heaven. The Demons did not like Bhima rescuing his parents and allowing them to go to Heaven. Bhima then has to fight off the Demons. Next, the Gods do not like this idea of Bhima taking his parents from Hell to Heaven. Bhima then gets into a fight with the Gods and Bhima dies in Heaven. The high God of all restores Bhima back to life and gives Bhima the drink of immortality. The last scene of Bhima Swarga shows justice, even with punishments of Hell.