Bali, with its diverse wealth of natural attractions is deserving of being called a ‘paradise island’. Bali without a doubt is still a prime travel destination for both domestic and international tourists. One of the most popular attractions of the island is a place called Tanah Lot. Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the island of Bali. It is home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot, and a popular tourist and cultural icon for photography and general exoticism. The temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide.
In the Balinese language, tanah lot means “land in the sea”. Tanah Lot is located in Tabanan which is about 20 kilometres from Denpasar.
The Tanah Lot temple was built and had been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. It’s one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. The temple has significant Hindu influcen. It’s claimed that a 15th century priest Nirartha travelled along the south coast and saw the rock island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Nirartha spent the night on the island and asked some fishermen to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to workship the Balinese sea god.
It’s also believed that poisonous seas snakes at the base of the island guard the temple from evil spirits.
Besides the beautiful temple, Tanah Lot also offers a stunning view of the sunset. “Wow, it’s wonderful ….”, are some of the comments made by tourists when they see how beautiful the Tanah Lot temple looks when the sun drowns in the west. At the time of high tides, the temple looks like a boat floating on water.
There is another temple located in the same area of the Tanah Lot temple, it’s called “Pura Baut Balong and it’s a temple located on a cliff jutting into the sea.
Tanah Lot is usually crowded by tourists in particular Hindu pilgrims and worshippers whenever the Odalan ceremony or feast is held at this temple, which is celebrated every 210 days.
In addition to seeing the beauty of the temple you can also see the caves underneath which are inhabited by flat black striped yellow snakes. The snakes are tame but should not be disturbed, because according to cultural belief, the snakes are an embodiment of Danghyang Nirartha and are assigned as the guards of the Tanah Lot temple. It’s also interesting to note that the venom of this snake is three time more poisonous than the venom of a cobra snake.
Other interesting attractions in Tanah Lot :
Tanah Lot has a fascinating art market for visitors who want to buy various kinds of souvenirs especially bali art souvenirs. Various items such as clothes, sarongs/fabric hats, slippers, decorations/ jewelry, paintings, sculptures and other balinese cultural items can be found here.
Sunset terrace at Tanah Lot is a perfect place to enjoy the sunset views. Whilst admiring the stunning views and the panoramic view of the Tanah Lot temple, you can indulge yourself in splendid meals and drinks here.
Surya Mandala park is a perfect place for arts performances, exhibitions, conferences as well as to enjoy the scenery and relax. Arts performances that are held each day is called the Kecak dance.