Hindu is the majority religion in the island of Bali. Thus, it is normal that Hindu culture is very thick on this island. Thorough the island, you will find many Pura (Hindu temples) with beautiful architecture and sophisticated ethnical details. Bali also has plenty of scenic natural panoramas, especially the beaches. This panorama has been taken advantages for one of Balinese Hindu Temple, Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is an exotic Pura situated on a gaint rock at the beach. The temple is overlooking at the open sea.

Tanah Lot during Sunset (Source: Flickr. Credit: Albert Tan)
Tanah Lot during Sunset
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Albert Tan)

How to Get There

Pura Tanah Lot is located on Baraban Village, district of Kediri, Tabanan. It is about 13 kilometers south from the center of Tabanan city. It is about 30 kilometers west from Denpasar or 43 kilometers away from Kuta Beach. Keep driving on the main highway until you arrive at the district of Kediri. Pay attention to the road as you will find a large signage announcing the location of Pura Tanah Lot. This signage is situated on an intersection. Once you have reached the area of Tanah Lot, you will need to climb the rock hill to get to the temple.

 

Where to Stay

Being in Bali, it is never difficult to find any kind of accommodations especially around a popular tourism destination like Pura Tanah Lot. Here are several hotels that you can check out:

  • Waka Gangga Resort at Yeh Gangga, Sudimara. Telephone : +62 361 416256
  • Taruna Jaya I Gd Sudiarta at Jalan Darmawangsa 1, Tabanan. Telephone : +62 361 813316
  • Vista Hotel at Jalan P. Batam 31, Tabanan. . Telephone : +62 361 811592
  • Hotel Tabanan Titin Indayani at Jalan Pahlawan 10. . Telephone : +62 361 812635
  • Kuskus Indah Hotel I Gst Kade Oka, SH at Jalan Batam 32 Tabanan. . Telephone : +62 361 815373

 

The Temple

The word “Tanah” means rock or land. On the other hand, “Lot” means sea. Therefore, Tanah Lot means “Rock by the Sea” which explains the location of the temple. Tanah Lot is a part of Dang Kahyangan Temples, the six most holy temples in Bali. People believe that this temple is the place where they can pray to the God of Sea. Nearby the temple, there is a spring that people believe as holy water spring. Tanah Lot temple was estimated to be built around 15th or 16th century.

The Temple Above A Rock (Source: Flickr. Credit: tropicaLiving – Jessy E.)
The Temple Above A Rock
(Source: Flickr. Credit: tropicaLiving – Jessy E.)

 

The Legend

It is believed that Pura Tanah Lot was built by a Hindu Priest, Danghyang Niratha (also known as Batu Rawuh) from Majapahit Empire. He was on a quest to spread the Hindu religion when he came across to Tanah Lot. Looking at the environment and the view of the sea, Danghyang Niratha felt a strong sacred aura of this place. He believed that this place could help people to gain mind perfection.

To that reason, he decided to stay and promote Hindu to the local people around. He succeeded on his mission as majority of the locals converted to Hindu from animism and dynamism. But then, there was an old sacred leader of Tanah Lot named Bendesa Beraban. He got pissed off by the facts that his people converted to be Niratha’s followers. Therefore, he instructed Danghyang Niratha to leave Tanah Lot immediately.

Niratha agreed to that request in one term; he asked a permission to move a chunk of rock by the sea and built a Pura there. Bendesa Beraban agreed to it. And then, Danghyang Niratha did what he planned. He moved a giant chunk of rock and built a shrine on top of it. He told his people that they can pray to the God of Sea on this shrine. After that, he took off his shawl and turned it to be a snake. He left the snake on a cave beneath the rock as the guard of the Pura.

A Cave where the Snake Stays (Source: Flickr. Credit: Tim Parker)
A Cave where the Snake Stays
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Tim Parker)

Interesting Spots

Around the temples, there are several spots which are interesting to be visited. Some of those are:

  • Cave Beneath the Rock

Beneath the rock where the temple is located, there is a cave. Inside this cave, you will a bunch of snakes with black and yellow stripes. These snakes have venom three times more dangerous than a cobra. But good news is, they are not aggressive. As long as you don’t provoke them, they will not bite. These sea snakes are believed to be the guards of the temple.

  • Sunset Terrace

With a scenic panorama, Tanah Lot is surely a wonderful place to enjoy the sunset. On the area, there is a famous spot called “Sunset Terrace” right in front of the temple. On Sunset Terrace, there are restaurant, café, painting gallery, puppet museum, and other supporting facilities. Many tourists love to dine in or just hang out at this place around sunset just to enjoy the majestic view.

Restaurant at Sunset Terrace (Source: Flickr. Credit: Meg & Co.)
Restaurant at Sunset Terrace
(Source: Flickr. Credit: Meg & Co.)
  • Surya Mandala Cultural Park

Surya Mandala is a Balinese Cultural Park located on Tanah Lot area. To be exact, it is about 10 minutes of walking from the temple. This park is regularly used for art performance, cultural exhibition, and other events. Kecak Dance is daily performed at 19.00. To watch this performance, you only need to pay $3.75. Surya Mandala Cultural Park can also be used for conference or parties like birthday or wedding.

  • Yeh Kutikan

Not very far from Surya Mandala Cultural Park, there is a beautiful beach called “Yeh Kutikan”. This beach is pristine and there are no many visitors there. Thus, it is a perfect place to enjoy the nature and sunset in quietness and peace. On this beach, there is an amazing waterfall. The water comes from a river on top of a rock.

  • Art Market

There is an art market on the area of Tanah Lot. It is located not very far from the main entrance, nearby the parking lot. Please pay a visit there and you will find many unique souvenirs and crafts traditional from Bali such as cloths, sandals, carvings, sculpture, handicrafts, paintings, and much more.

 

Odalan Event

Odalan is a holy celebration of Buda Cemeng Langkir day held on Pura Tanah Lot. This sacred day is celebrated every 210 days. The event takes place between Galungan Day and Kuningan Day. During this Odalan Day, many Hindu people from Bali, either it is the local from Kediri district or any other place in Bali, would gather there. They will bring sacrifices to be presented to the God of Sea.

People Praying during Odalan Festival (Source: Flickr. Credit: sandro 1946)
People Praying during Odalan Festival
(Source: Flickr. Credit: sandro 1946)

 

Tips

  • Tanah Lot is a sacred place. Therefore, please wear modest clothes while visiting the temple.
  • Visitors are also not allowed to swear or curse.
  • During Odalan ceremony, visitors are not allowed to get too close to the prayers to take picture. If you want a close up picture, use your lens to zoom from distance.

 

Culture in Bali is always great to be explored. The combination between Hindu customs and traditional Balinese culture is something you would never find on any other places. The nature of Bali is also the thing great to be explored in Bali. By visiting Tanah Lot, you got to reach those two purposes at the same time.