On our 8th day in Bali, you’d think that we’ve already seen everything there is to see in the island. We’ve visited 5 temples already since we arrived. Five! Did we really need to see another temple?
Yes, we did! When in Bali, no matter how many times you’ve temple-hopped already, you must make time for the Tanah Lot Temple.
It is one of Bali’s most important temples, with a history and scenery so fascinating that it draws hordes of tourists everyday.
Tanah Lot is derived from the word ‘tanah’ (land) and ‘lot’ (sea). The temple is indeed perched on a land in the sea. It is a rock formation overlooking the Indian Ocean, and is located at the Beraban village in the Tabanan regency of Bali.
Tanah Lot is believed to be the work of the 16th-century Hindi priest Dang Hyang Nirartha who was greatly impressed and mesmerized by the beauty and sacredness of the place, that he instructed the fishermen there to erect a shrine on the rock. He felt that this is a fitting and holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
There are eight temples in the entire temple area, and each of the temples were constructed in such a way that they are within a direct line of sight of the next. One of the most recognizable temples within the Tanah Lot temple complex is the Batu Bolong temple, as pictured below.
Batu whaaat?! “But I thought THIS is Tanah Lot?” Tanah Lot… NOT! Because of its prominently distinct design and location (it is one of the first temples you see upon entry), a lot of people mistake this for the main temple. Batu Bolong, which means “hollow rock” in Balinese is the venue for a purification ceremony called the Melasti ceremony.
To get to the other side of the temple, one must walk up a pathway and some nicely preserved gardens.
And… there it is! Do you see it?
After a bit of a walk, we finally got to the main temple area. If I’m not mistaken, this is called the Enjung Galuh temple, which is built for the Dewi Sri, the goddess of prosperity and fertility.
The temple land stood in the midst of the vast sea, and the ground was filled with rocks and puddles of cool water, which we dipped our feet in to wash them. While not exactly dangerous, extra care was needed in traversing the temple area because of the rocks and the small pools of water. Forget about wearing heels or expensive shoes when visiting Tanah Lot!
As shown in the photos, yes, this attraction is packed with visitors. But despite this, it never felt bothersome because there was really plenty of room for everyone to move about and enjoy the sights. Also, as you admire the romantic and dramatic scenery and watch and listen to the the waves crash against the rocks, the people around you will be the last thing you’ll think of.
Speaking of the waves, Mike and I had a bit of fun with them. The waves were quite strong that day so I became a modern-day Moses and commanded the sea.
We noticed that people were queuing up by the dozens at the temple. Our tour guide / driver Made told us that for a small donation, visitors could receive holy water that erupts from a volcanic spring.
We weren’t really in the mood to line up (we’re from the Philippines, where there is a long line for absolutely everything) so we did something a little more exciting: we patted a venomous sea snake!
There is a cave beneath the temple which is inhabited by an ular suci (holy snake) that is believed to guard the temple area and its people against evil spirits. It is said that this holy snake can only be found at Tanah Lot and cannot be seen anywhere else in the world!
According to legend, Dang Hyang Nirartha created these sea snakes from his belt to protect himself from the evil acts of Bendesa Beraban, the leader of the Beraban village who wanted Dang Hyang Nirartha to leave. For a small monetary offering, visitors can touch the snake, make a wish, and receive a blessing.
The cave warden collected our donation and led us inside the dark and narrow cave. He then pointed at a small hole where the sea snake was nestled in, all coiled up. The cave warden was a bit impatient, like he just wanted to get the tour over with, so I just quickly (and bravely!) stroked the sea snake while I made a wish and the cave warden blessed me with a prayer in Balinese. That was my first time ever to touch a snake and I never thought I’d describe a snake as “cute,” but that was exactly what it was! It was cute and super soft! When my mom found out I touched a snake, she freaked out. I assured her that we were assured that the snake has never bitten anyone in its entire life.
Tanah Lot is one of the most ideal spots to enjoy a beautiful sunset view, so it is recommended to go there just before sunset. We arrived at around 5:30 in the afternoon. However, it was a little overcast that day so unfortunately, there was none of that splendid sunset for us. 🙁 But sunset or no sunset, we still had a pretty amazing time at Tanah Lot because the setting alone was enchanting.
This place had “magic” written all over it and I’m glad we made this part of our honeymoon trip in Bali! Hopefully, one day, we get to return and see the beautiful sunset that this temple is so known for.
Tanah Lot Temple
Address: Jalan Rayah Tanah Lot, Beraban Village, Kediri, Tabanan, Bali
Phone: +62 880361 or 880362
Opening Hours: 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Admission: (starting October – November 1st, 2016)
Domestic Child : Rp. 15.000
Domestic Adult : Rp. 20.000
Foreign Child : Rp. 30.000
Foreign Adult : Rp. 60.000
How to Get There: Rent a private car with driver / guide. I recommend Galih Bali Tour.
♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
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