To many people, Tanah Lot epitomizes the romantic island of Bali. Tanah Lot means Land in The Sea, a perfectly fit name for its unique offshore settings. The silhouette of Pura Tanah Lot is one of the most popular iconic features of Bali.
Imagine the image of a Balinese temple (pura) perched high on the rock, facing the wide open ocean. With the crashing waves below and the dramatic colors of the dusk sky as background, lit by the slowly disappearing sun. Tanah Lot is located in Tabanan, only around 30 km away from Denpasar. The temple is located some 300 meters offshore. The history of Tanah Lot temple was believed to date back to the 16th century, by Dang Hyang Nirartha, a respected religious figure in Bali.
Dang Hyang Nirartha was said to be the one who created a three-temple system in Balinese villages. Setting the site plan that the temple built in the northern area of the village would be for Brahma, middle area for Vishnu and the southern side for Shiva. While traveling along the southern coast of Bali, he saw the little rock-island and decided to spend the night. The rock was known as Gili Beo, which means a bird-shaped rock, located in Beraban village. He then felt an enlightenment, that this was a holy place to build a shrine. The leader of Beraban was angry and order people to banish Nirartha from Gili Beo.
In Balinese mythology, Dang Hyang Nirartha was known as a man of mighty supernatural power. So he moves the whole rock island to the sea, builds a temple and named it Tanah Lot. The whole Beraban village were astounded and later join to follow he believes. Tanah Lot temple was built to worship Bhatara Segara, or the sea God. To protect the temple, with his mighty power, he created a poisonous snake from his sash. The sea snake is believed to be living at the base of this rocky island, to guard the temple from evil intruders.
Today, as one of the most photographed sea temple in Bali, you will find many art shops offering local handicrafts besides other signature local products at the entrance to get to Tanah Lot.
The best time to visit Tanah Lot is during Odalan, which is celebrated every 210 days. The rituals usually takes place near the Galungan and Kuningan festivities on the holy day known as Buddha Cemeng Langkir. On this day you will see rows of Balinese women gracefully carrying offerings on their head to pray at the temple of Tanah Lot. The tourist area of Tanah Lot near the rock is very well managed for visitors. It has a parking area, toilets, art shops, restaurants, hotel, open stage, tourist information center, security and safety services.
There are many restaurants here where you can enjoy a sumptuous breakfast or lunch, while enjoying the panorama. Experience the serenity of the tropical sun slowly disappearing beyond the horizon into the wide open ocean, an incredible sight to treasure all your life.
Tanah Lot is located around 30 km away from Ngurah Rai Airport in Denpasar. Coming from Denpasar on the main highway and arriving in the town of Kediri, you will certainly not miss the large sign at the main intersection announcing the southwest turn to Pura Tanah Lot. To reach the temple of Tanah Lot you will need to cross some dry land then climb a hill to reach the site of the temple.
Inside the temple area, you can just walk around and explore its photogenic surroundings. Although famous for its sunset view, you may also want to try coming at really early in the morning, so that there will be less crowd and higher chance to have a serene image of the temple. There are also several temples that you can visit around Tanah Lot. They are Pura Pekendungan, Pura Batu Bolong, Pura Jero Kandang, Pura Enjung Galuh, and Pura Batu Mejan.
These temples have a variety of legends and myths surrounding their historical roots. When Nirartha left Beraban village, he bestows a special keris -a blade like a traditional weapon- to the Beraban leaders. The Ki Batu Gajah keris was said to possess the ability to repel plant diseases from crops. This keris was kept in Pura Pekendungan, before it is now safely stored in Puri Kediri. But on Odalan day, Ki Batu Gajah keris is always involved in the ceremonies.
Pura Batu Bolong is another extraordinary sea temples build upon a jutting rock cliff. Batu Bolong means “hollowed stone”, depicted from its obvious characteristic. It is said to be the twin of Tanah Lot, with many similar features between the two.
Located in Canggu, Batu Bolong sea temple is the cradle of the holy spring water. Many important Balinese rituals and ceremonies are held on this stunning location. Pura Jero Kandang in Tabanan is a temple devoted to seeking wellness and protection for livestock and agricultural crops. Pura Enjung Galuh is a temple renowned for a place to worship the Goddess Sri. Here, devotees pray for welfare and prosperity. Pura Batu Mejan is the location of Tirta Penglukatan, a holy spring believes to have to purify bliss against all negativity.
Bali is indeed known as an island of the thousand temples. Make time to explore and discover which one is on your top favorite place to be!
Jl.Raya Tanah Lot, Kawasan Pura Tanah Lot. Beraban Village, Kediri, Beraban 82121