Ngurah Rai monument
• The monument is less than a 2km stroll along the beach from Medewi but consider breaking the trip with lunch at Puri Dajuma.
• At low tide you can walk right up to the boat across the reef but at higher tide the monument is often even more spectacular, frequently with waves breaking over it.
• If you feel like a stroll the beach east of the monument is one of the most attractively unspoiled (and usually deserted) in Bali.
Ngurah Rai monument
What appears at first glance to be a beached boat, stranded high-and-dry on the rocks in front of Puri Dajuma Resort, is in fact a unique concrete memorial to Bali’s greatest freedom fighter. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai landed at this spot in Pekutatan in 1946 with a force of freedom fighters who planned to oust the Dutch colonial forces.
There are still old people in Pekutatan who remember the night that the freedom fighters arrived in the village. Colonel I Gusti Ngurah Rai led a force of 95 men, spearheading what was called the People’s Security Army (so presumably the boat was somewhat bigger than the one represented by the monument – with its crew of four).
If you’re wondering why the great war hero’s name is familiar it might be because Bali’s international airport was named after him – and if you’re curious about what he looked like, check his photo on the front of a 50,000-rupiah banknote.
Ngurah Rai and his 95 men died in a puputan (a ritual fight to the death) during a Dutch airstrike at The Battle of Margarana – about 40km east of this spot – on 20 November 1946. For years the monument was in a state of disrepair but these days it is repaired and repainted each year before Independence Day (17 August).
* DID YOU KNOW
Some people might tell you that the landing can’t have been 1946 because Indonesians consider that their country was already independent in 1945. In fact, Indonesia declared independence in 1945 but there were still four more years of fighting, until The Netherlands finally transferred sovereignty in late 1949.