The Battle of Puputan Margarana was one fierce battle between Indonesian and the Dutch army during the Indonesian War of Independence that took place on 20 November 1946 at the village of Margarana, Tabanan, Bali. The battle was led by the head of the lesser Sunda Division Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai in which the Indonesian troops in the region fought until the end to repel the returning Dutch forces after the defeat of Japan to regain control of the territory taken by Japan during World War II, resulted in the death of all troops including I Gusti Ngurah Rai. The end of this battle resulted in the establishment the state of East Indonesia by the Dutch. Puputan means all-out war.
Today this battle is commemorated at the Margarana Monument, northwest of Marga village. In a large compound there is a 17meter-high pillar, and nearby is a museum with a few photos, homemade weapons and other artefacts from the conflict such as Colonel Ngurah Rai’s quoteworthy last letter includes the line: “Freedom or death!”. The site is crowded on 20 November every year as the the commemoration takes place here attended by civil servants, military as well as the families of soldiers died during the conflict.
There is a smaller compound behind the Puputan monument compund with 1372 small stone memorials to those who gave their lives for the cause of independence – they are headstone markers in a military cemetery although bodies are not actually buried there. Each memorial has a symbol indicating the hero’s religion, mostly the Hindu swastika, but also Islamic crescent moons and even a few Christian crosses. You can also find memorials to 11 Japanese soldiers who stayed on after WWII and fought with the Balinese against the Dutch.