During our week in Bali, we chose to visit one of the iconic temples on the sea. There are seven in Bali, all within eye sight of the next one, but we really were only close enough to two of them, and we chose to visit Tanah Lot and the adjacent Pura Batu Bolong.
After dropping off the film, we then began drove down to Zula Vegetarian for lunch and an opportunity to charge my phone a bit and then over to Tanah Lot, which wound up being about an hour and half’s drive. It really wasn’t too bad a drive to make and we arrived sometime around 2.
When we arrived, I was surprised to find the parking area was quite a ways away from the actual temple and thought that we might be in the wrong spot. However, everything indicated that we were in the right spot. We purchased our entrance tickets for 15,000 IDR each (~$1.15) and began our walk through the numerous shops, stalls, and restaurants on the way to the temple.
There was so much art we would have liked to get, but we just couldn’t. We also got a view of some of the local animals: owls, civets (famous for their Luwak Coffee), and a few Flying Foxes. We really question why the animals were there.
Finally, after about ten more minutes, we found ourselves down at the entrance to Tanah Lot.
The Hindu temple itself is set on a stone outcropping which can only be accessed during low-tide. We made our way across the rocky outcroppings and spent a while watching the surf and tide pools which were teeming with life, as well as trying to get our own space amongst the hundreds of other tourists.
The rocky shore was quite nice.
We then made our way to the actual temple. Before being able to visit the temple, we first had to be purified by the holy water. Religious men blessed us after we washed our hands in the fresh spring water pouring from the island outcropping. We were sprinkled with incensed water and then had rice pressed to our forehead and given flowers.
Tanah Lot, means Land in the Sea in Balinese and claims to be the work of 16th century Dang Hyang Niratha. He claimed to have stopped during his travels and to rest on the island. Fishermen saw him, and brought him gifts.
The fishermen told him to build a shrine because they felt the place to be holy. The temple worships Bhatara Segara, the sea god, and it is believed that venomous sea snakes at the base of the rock protect the temple.
In the 1980s, erosion had begun to cause significant damage to the structure, and the Japanese government provided significant aid to renovate and stabilize the temple. Today, the extensive repairs are unnoticeable and allow for the continued enjoyment of the site.
We walked out from the temple and up the ridge to view the other temple: Pura Batu Bolong. The name means hole in the rock. Quite fitting for a temple sitting on a rock with a giant hole in it, creating an arch.
Unfortunately, the temple was also closed off to us at the time. However, there was a large park in the surrounding area for us to enjoy. We sat for a few hours enjoying our time there watching as the sun sank low.
Some of the locals were quick to take pictures with Briana. We’re not so sure why they wanted pictures with foreigners here (since there were so many). It made since back at Borobodur. In any case, Briana made a few new friends.
Not much is known about the temple itself. Built in the 14th century, legends point to it being built by a hermit in meditation and the king’s master Kuturan.
We intended to stay for the sunset. Unfortunately, cloud cover made it apparent we would not actually get to the see the sun sink into the ocean. Because of this, we left a few minutes early to get on the road before dark set in.
The ride home was alright, although my phone ran out of battery and required us to stop at a Circle K for a little while to charge so that we could have GPS.
The temples were great, we just really wish we could have gotten the chance to go inside them.