Denpasar may be the capital but it’s not the capital of tourism. Most tourists do not go to here, as it is not promoted as a place to visit and it may not have the wide variety of tourist attractions as other places. But it is a city rich in culture, temples, local activity, markets and indonesian food. Being that it is not a main tourist destination you will find that a lot of things are cheaper here too.
Denpasar, is a magnificent place to visit, despite the constant traffic and the roar of motorbikes. Although Denpasar is a city, it retains a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere and visitors enjoy coming to view what it has on offer. Situated on a lovely grassy square, it features just a couple of shopping streets which crisscross the centre of the city. In the older neighborhoods, you will come across some shopping malls, retail outlets and department stores but the traditional village districts, known as banjar, still dominate the landscape.
Puputan Square, also known as Alun-alun Puputan or Taman Puputan, is where the events of 20th September 1906 are recreated. This was the time when the Raja of Budang, along with hundreds of his followers, faced the Dutch invaders. Each individual, including children, was dressed entirely in white, and carried a golden dagger known as a kris and vowed to fight to the death rather than submitting to the invading Europeans. It is believed that the raja and his people took part in a mass suicide on this very grassy square, started by the chief priest who stabbed the raja through the heart on his command. The rest of the people followed suit and those who didn’t kill themselves were then shot dead by the Dutch.
The square features a massive bronze statue were figures are depicted holding kiris and bamboo staves, commemorating those who were tragically killed here a century ago. Found in the northern section of the park, this motif is found throughout the city and on the 20th September every year a festival is held here.
The Bali Museum overlooks Alun-alun Puputan and is the city’s most popular attraction for tourists. This is the place to visit if you are interested in learning more about the history of Bali and its unique cultural heritage. The museum was first constructed in 1910 and is divided into several sections, complete with a bell tower, shrines, candi bentar (split gates) and charmingly pleasant gardens to stroll about in. The museum was the creation of the Dutch Resident who wanted it built using a fusion of traditional palace (puri) and temple (pura) elements.
In the Gedung Karangasem section, you will be introduced into the traditional Balinese spiritual and ceremonial lives, which is the very foundation of the people’s daily lives. There are many interesting displays on Balinese Hinduism and the five key religious rituals performed – the panca yadnya. This makes the Gedung Karangasem the most fascinating and memorable part of the museum.
These traditional banjar are very popular with tourists and locals alike. It is here that dance rehearsals and gamelan, to name but a few, are still held, just as they would in the rural villages found on Bali.