Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple
Tanah Lot Temple is located 30km west of Denpasar in the Beraban countryside. This breathtaking temple complex is built upon approx. 3 acres and can only be reached by a short walk from the carpark. The Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most iconic landmarks with spectacular sunset views and amazing photo opportunities at any time of the day. It is also home to amazing surfing conditions, which can be seen clearly from the tops of the cliffs as you approach the temple.
The Mythology of Tanah Lot Temple
A high priest in Dang Hyang Nirartha travelled to Bali in 1489 from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java. His mission was to spread Hinduism and on arriving to this magnificent coastal location, he quickly established a site to honour the sea god Baruna. Once established, he began to teach Hinduism to the local Beraban villagers. This caused a major problem with the village chief who gathered his own followers to expel Nirartha.
Nirartha put up huge resistance, and as the legend goes, he levitated the massive rock he meditated upon into the ocean, and transformed his sashes into ferious sea snakes as guards of his new home. This rock became known as Tengah Lod, translated meaning ‘in the sea’.
The now humbled village chief quickly acknowledged Nirartha’s magical powers and now approached the priest in the effort to form an allegiance with him. Before Nirartha left the rock, he presented the village chief with a holy kris dagger as a sign of good will. This dagger can be found today as one of the sanctified heirlooms of the Keriri Royal Palace.
Today, it is customary for pilgrims to carry relics on Kuningan day on foot in an 11km pilgrimage to the priest’s original meditational site, the Pakendungan Temple.
Meaning of the words “Tanah Lot”
The words Tanah Lot consist of two words in Tanah meaning “reef or gili or isle” and Lot (or Lod) which means “sea”.
Tanah Lot Features
Tanah Lot has been subjected to continuing erosion for many centuries, with the persistent large waves that crash upon the rocks consistently. This has been evident in particular in the last 40 years with a significant decline noticed. With the aid of the Japanese government, the Balinese government has undertaken significant preservation efforts all over Bali to preserve sites of great historical importance, including Tanah Lot.
For visitors frequenting the site, it is not possible to cross the causeways at high tide due to the large waves crossing over it. It is very dangerous and signs are erected to prevent tourists crossing. It is much easier to cross over at low tide once the waves have subsided. Here visitors can view the legendary sea snakes or “guardians” of the temple that reside around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain in the crevices and rocks. This fountain which is a natural formation is the source for all holy water for all temples in the region. Visitors are blessed by the local priests as they enter by sprinkling holy water over their heads. The water is so fresh that you can use your hands to drink it as well.
You can also take the time to visit the landbased temples which include Penyawang, a spiritual duplicate to Tanah Lot. This is used by pilgrims as an alternate place of prayer when Tanah Lot is not accessible due to high tides. There are other smaller temples in the area where prayer sessions are held regularly.
Another temple of interest in Batu Bolong, just north of Tanah Lot. This temple is also built on a rock formation, which incorporates a hollow structure allowing visitors access from the mainland. Beautiful grass parks and large shady trees provide a stunning backdrop as you walk towards the temples, with plenty of spots to take amazing photos and simply soak up the amazing scenery.
As you venture back to the carpark via the walkways, you will find many markets with locals selling local wares including handicrafts and symbolic relics related to Tanah Lot and the local area. It is well worth a visit to see one of Bali’s most valued historical treasures.