The Marga Memorial is probably not high on the list of things to see during your holiday in Bali.
Nevertheless, if you happen to be in the neighborhood or you don’t mind a small detour then we highly recommend you to have a look.
The Memorial in Marga is located 15 kilometers northeast of Tabanan. This important memorial park is dedicated to the 1,372 men and women who died fighting the Dutch forces after World War II when Indonesia was officially considered independent.
Throughout the colonial times, the Balinese showed huge resistance towards the Dutch. This resulted in many fierce battles. Instead of surrendering to the Dutch the Balinese men chose to fight their enemy. When defeated they would commit suicide by a dagger to save one’s honor.
Women, elderly and children would also commit suicide to prevent living in exile or on occupied land. This honorary death is known as Puputan.
Four big Puputan wars took place in Bali of which the last one was in Marga in 1946. Under the command of Lt. Col. I Gusti Ngurah Rai almost 100 guerillas were discovered by the Dutch forces in Marga and were attacked.
Armed with only bamboo sharpened pools and spears the Balinese knew what awaited them when they faced the heavily armed Dutch army. All 96 men were killed. For three more years many deadly battles followed until the Dutch finally recognized Indonesia’s independence in 1949.
The Memorial in Marga, officially called the Margarana Memorial means the ‘Battle of Marga’. It was built in 1954. This 17-meter-tall, eight-roofed monument is shaped like a Javanese candi. The monument symbolizes the unity of the fallen revolutionaries in their fight for freedom.
When we visited the memorial we immediately struck by the silence that covers the whole park. The silence, the monument, and the many memorial stones just made us wonder how such a fierce battle could have taken place less than 70 years ago.
The memorial park is surrounded by beautiful rice fields. This makes it even more difficult to realize what had happened here.
As mentioned before the memorial is not popular among travelers so don’t be surprised if you are the only one there…