Interesting architecture with city views
Published/Last edited or updated: 7th February, 2017
Bajra Sandhi Monument, or Monumen Perjuangan Rakyat Bali (Monument to Balinese People’s Struggle), dominates a large park in the central civic centre of Denpasar.
The impressive bell-shaped structure honours the heroes of “Puputan”, the mass ritual suicides that occurred on a number of occasions in Balinese history, and commemorates Bali’s struggle for sovereignty. It houses a museum of dioramas depicting Balinese history, from the stone age through to independence. Climb the central spiral staircase for sweeping views of the city and then as far as Gunung Agung.
Based on a square mandala layout, the enormous black lava stone monument is rich in details loaded with Hindu philosophical meaning. The structure resembles a bell used by Hindu priests, and forms a yoni-lingga, an important symbol of the divine masculine/feminine. Mythological nagas and turtles are among the depictions. The monument is also a symbol of nationalism, with the Republic of Indonesia’s date of the declaration of independence represented by 17 stairs, eight central pillars and a height of 45 metres—17 August 1945.
The dioramas, although a little cheesy (aren’t all dioramas?) offer an interesting quick overview of local history. They are labelled in Balinese, Indonesian and English.
An internal koi-filled pond surrounds the steep 69-stepped spiral staircase, which some travellers may find a little challenging, but it’s worth the climb for the view. Menstruating women are asked not to climb(!).
The monument is enclosed within a walled courtyard surrounded by ponds and lush greenery. On weekends the large surrounding park, one of Denpasar’s few green spaces, is a hive of activity, full of joggers, cyclists and picnickers; this is a great time to soak up the local atmosphere.
We think the monument is worth a quick stop, and was interesting enough that we spent longer there than planned. It’s just a shame though that there’s little information available on-site about the architectural symbolism.
The spires of nearby Katedral Katolik Roh Kudus (Denpasar’s Catholic Cathedral) can be seen from the top of the monument and it’s worth a wander over to Jalan Tukad Musi I to look at the cathedral’s interesting architecture up close. While you’re there, stop in for a coffee at the funky Pixelatte Cafe, or a plate of ikan bakar around the corner at popular Warung Mina. See details in our Denpasar eats section.
Note that the similar sounding Monumen Perjuangan Bangsal, located in the north of Denpasar, is a different place.
Address: Jalan Raya Puputan Niti Mandala, Denpasar
T: (0361) 264 517;
Coordinates (for GPS): 115º14'0.97" E, 8º40'20.44" S
See position in Apple or Google Maps: Apple Maps | Google Maps
Admission: Adults/children: 20,000/10,000 rupiah; Indonesian adults/children: 10,000/5,000 rupiah.
Sally spent twelve years leading tourists around Indonesia and Malaysia where she collected a lot of stuff. She once carried a 40kg rug overland across Java. Her house has been described as a cross between a museum and a library. Fuelled by coffee, she can often be found riding her bike or petting stray cats. Sally believes travel is the key to world peace.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.