Puputan Square, a seemingly peaceful urban park in the middle of Denpasar, witnessed one of Bali’s most bloody events. On September 14, 1906, when Dutch forces landed on Sanur beach and began marching into Denpasar, a silent ceremonial procession led by the Raja met the Dutch troops in a large square. Dressed in white garments with ceremonial jewelry on, the Raja signaled a priest standing nearby, who then stabbed the Raja in the chest, signaling the remaining members of the procession to begin killing themselves and each other.
At some point, the violence prompted Dutch soldiers to open fire with their superior weaponry, mowing down more Balinese as they came out from the palace. Today, a statue in the middle of Puputan Square commemorates the massacre. The statue depicts a man brandishing a weapon and a woman throwing her jewels at the Dutch forces.
Visit Puputan Square, and you’ll likely see local Balinese playing chess, exercising or enjoying picnics in the grassy areas.