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Bali Love Tales – Jayaprana Layonsari

The world knows Shakespeare’s tragic romance Romeo & Juliet as the everlasting tale of “star-crossed lovers”. Valentines Day comes around every February 14 and is recognized worldwide as a special day for love… and everything that comes with it. The famous play and this day of the West well surpass time. But as all humans feel affection, each part of the world has its own assortment of love tales to tell, including Bali.

Love is always inspiring, as it can bring both happiness and sorrow. In Bali, this theme has inspired many traditional theater performances, dances, literature, and even songs.

Jayaprana – Layonsari
Centauries ago, there was a small kingdom in what we recently called as Kalianget Village in Buleleng Regency. Once upon a day the Kalianget kingdom was suffered by a dangerous disease that cause most of the people died. The whole kingdom was in a deep sadness, then the king of Kalianget decided to have trip to entertain himself after the disease was over. It was said that he lost all of his family, at a cross road he met a child who was crying for the death of his parents and his brothers. The king adopted the boy to be his son because of losing all his children. He took the boy to the palace and tought him to be a soldier to service the kingdom in the future. The boy was called Jayaprana. When the boy had got adult he became a handsome and powerful soldier. Although he was a beloved soldier to the king, Jayaprana was a simple person, he dedicated his life to the kingdom especially to the king.

Then, the time had come. Jayaprana fell in love with a beautiful flower seller in the market. The girl was Layonsari (actually this is not her real name. No one know her real name. The name of Layonsari was known after her death). Layonsari also fell in love with Jayaprana. The lovely couple intended to get married and this was a happy news to the whole kingdom. It was such a happy atmosphere surrounding the kingdom especially for the married couple. But what’s a pity. When the king met with Layonsari, he suddenly fell in love with Layonsari when Layonsari had been Jayaprana’s wife. He was really obsesive to Layonsari though he realised that Layonsari had been to be Jayaprana’s wife. To have Layonsari to be his wife he had to kill Jayaprana.

The king set up a plan tokill Jayaprana by ordered Jhim going to the forest near the sea to kill the intruders/robbers accompanied by his guards. With this strategy the king hoped he could gave Jayaprana away from his wife and he could persuaded Jayaprana’s wife to be his wife. Jayaprana went to the forest although his wife had told him about her bad sign for his journey. He accompanied by Patih Sawung Galing, the head guard of the kingdom.

After several days they reached the forest eventually. There were many faiths with the robbers, and they succeeded in killing all the robbers. At the last faith with the robbers, Patih Sawung Galing tried to kill Jayaprana. But he could not. He tried many times with various ways but nothing could kill him. Then Patih Sawung Galing stopped. Jayaprana and Patih Sawung Galing made a conversation. Jayaprana asked Patih Sawung Galing why he wanted to kill him. According to Patih Sawung Galing, that was the king’s order.

He told Jayaprana that the king had a desire for Layonsari and wanted her to be his wife. Jayaprana understood and became sad. He knew the king was very kind of him during his life. Jayaprana wanted to give anything to the king but his wife. He had promised to obey all the orders of the king. Of course, Jayaprana could killed Patih Sawung Galing and then killed the king. But what for? He thought, with the event, he had nothing anymore in his life except his wife. He was so sad. Then he decided to let Patih Sawung Galing to kill him in order to fulfil his promise to the king, his step-father. He took the flower he was using in his hair and gave it to Patih Sawung Galing. Jayaprana also gave his Keris (Balinese wavy dagger) to Patih Sawung Galing so he could kill him. Jayaprana asked Patih Sawung Galing to send his mesage to his wife that he was died in order to fulfil his promise to the king. The tears of Patih Sawung Galing dropped when he took the flower and Keris. With just one hit Patih Sawung Galing could kill Jayaprana easily.

Then the magic began. A good smell came from the body of Jayaprana and spreaded out to cover the forest. All animals became sad and screamed out but a white tiger. The tiger jumped to Patih Sawung Galing and killed the Patih Sawung Galing with one hit. The rest of the guards, deeply sad, went back to Kali Anget and told the story. At Kali Anget palace, Layonsari, after knowing her husband had been died for the king, commited suicid. And the same thing happened, a good smell came from her body and spreaded out to cover the palace. (Jayaprana’s wife had her name from this event. Layonsari derived from two words; Layon means the death body, and Sari means a good smell). The good smell was a sign that they had no sins.The king was so sad with the event. Then he withdrewn himself and stopped reigning the kingdom.

People of Kali Anget then brought the body of Layonsari to the forest where Jayaprana killed few days ago (because they wanted to met them together again). At the place the people built two graves. One grave for Jayaprana and Layonsari, another grave was for Patih Sawung Galing. The last man was destined to be the guard of the grave forever. After a complete ceremony, Jayaprana and Layonsari were stated as holy spirit. Event untill now people believe that the magic is still going on. Down on the sea, you can see from the hill where the grave lies, there are colorful sea coral that somehow in a special moment the color will change eventually.

For centuries there have been many people (any kind of religions) come to the grave to worship and built a temple surrounding the grave. It is peace and has a good view on the grave yard, Menjangan island, event some mounts in East Java can be seen from this grave. Indeed in front of the grave is a beautiful peninsula, the grave located some 1 km from the main road toward the top of the hill. The place is known as Teluk Terima the grave, some 15 kms from Menjangan Resort, some 45 kms from Pulaki Temple , the area is considered to be part of West Bali National Park .

The story about Jayaprana and Layonsari has become a love story epic for Balinese people. This sad story has been translated to many Balinese traditional songs, many Balinese dances and scrips of Balinese play (sendratari). It is compared much more like Shakespear’s Romeo and Juliet. Though most of the people believe this is a true story but Balinese historians can not find any clue due to its existance except the grave.

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