Discovery >

The Rich Heritage of Balinese Royal Hindu Culture

December 2, 2015 by Khiri Travel | Filed Under: , , ,

The name Bali brings to mind the image of a palm-fringed beach with the lulling sound of waves in the background. In reality, Bali is also one of the most culturally rich destinations in the world. Heirs to the Hindu influence in Java, the Balinese are, as stated by Sir Stamford Raffles “the last repository of Javanese Hindu culture.”

Historic Landmarks - Indonesia

Over the years, Bali has been governed by a collection of independent kingdoms, some of which still persist and some have vanished. However, there is single event that shaped the modern history of Bali and paved the way to how we perceive Bali today: the Puputan that ended the Kingdom of Badung (modern day Denpasar). A puputan is a fight until death by ceremonial suicide (with a Balinese dagger) rather than surrender and lose one’s honor.

By the late 19th century, Dutch colonizers had already taken control of the Buleleng Kingdom in northern Bali. They were also planning an assault on other kingdoms in the south where the King of Badung was successfully defending his land against full colonization of the island. In 1904, with the sinking of a Chinese merchant vessel off the coast at Sanur, and its consequent plundering by the Balinese, the Dutch government in Batavia (modern Jakarta) had an incident to justify a full-scale invasion to capture Badung and complete their conquest of Bali.

Historic Landmarks - Indonesia

In 1906 Dutch troops landed on the beach at Sanur and marched towards the palace of the king. Then, a most extraordinary and unforeseen event took place. The king and the royal family, rather than surrendering, decided to uphold their sacred duty and fight to the end. Putting on their best regalia and dressed in white cremation robes, they marched towards the line of rifles and artillery pointing at the palace doors. Nearly 600 people lost their lives in an incident known to this day as the Badung Puputan Massacre.

The Dutch Governor General in Batavia was shocked at the news of this tragic event that consequently compromised the reputation of the colonial empire and forced the Netherlands to change its policies in the East Indies. The Dutch masters remained in charge, but allowed Balinese cultural practices to remain intact and valued. Ironically, it was the puputan events that ensured, in the most dramatic fashion, the preservation of Bali’s unique culture making this island the exotic paradise it is today.

Historic Landmarks - Indonesia

Today in Denpasar center city, Puputan Square is an historic landmark that honors the site of the heroic stand by the royals of Badung against the invading Dutch army. An enormous central monument represents a Balinese family defiantly brandishing their weapons. The square is also an urban green space for locals to gather for lunch break, holiday picnics or views at sunset.

There is also a nearby open market, temple and the Bali Museum, a complex of buildings modeled after the former royal palace and displaying items of art, history and textiles. For those who want to experience more of the history and cultural pride of the Balinese people, Puputan Square is a must see destination.

[expert-call-out-box id = ‘16751’]

Latest post

The Spotlight On: Ms. Ly, Cool Operator

Every month, we put the spotlight on one of the key players who make it happen for your privileged clients. This month, get to know Tran Hoang Truc Ly (Ly), Operations Officer for Khiri Travel Vietnam.

Read More

BISJ International Students to Vietnam’s Mekong Delta

In April 2014 a group of secondary school students from British International School Jeddah in Saudi Arabia visited southern Vietnam’s hub, Ho Chi Minh City, the Mekong Delta and it’s various charming villages. They explored Vietnamese culture and ritualistic events. Institution                 British International School Jeddah (BISJ), Saudi Arabia […]

Read More

Bangkok’s Hidden Canals by Rocket Boat

Most of us associate the name of Co van Kessel with bicycle tours. Van Kessel was one of the pioneers, starting more than 20 years ago, exploring Bangkok’s back alleys by bike.

Read More

Kep: Charming Beach Town, Gem of Authenticity

Kep, a small place lounging on the coast of Cambodia, takes only 2.5 hours from Phnom Penh

Read More

Subscribe to our newsletter

Our B2B newsletters are for industry professionals




    *We’ll never share your email address and you can opt out at any time.