Tanah Lot Temple in the Ocean Bali
When the sun is setting creating a the mixture of magenta and orange colors on the sky and the tide rises, the beauty of Tanah Lot is a very spectacular sight. The temple is one of the seven famous sea temples in Bali. It is said that each of these temples was to be within eyesight of the next and were made to give a level of protection to the island. Dated in16th century, the shrine was built by Dang Hyang Nirartha (a priest from Java) during his travels through southwest coast of Bali. He saw a small island nearby the main land where spent the night. The next morning he asked the local fisherman to build a shrine to worship God of the Sea on the rock as he felt a holy atmosphere on the rocky island. Tanah Lot means Land in the Middle of the Sea, is part of Tabanan Regency in the western part of Bali. It is only 33 km from Denpasar. I took the Canggu route because the line of rice fields on both sides of the road is beautiful. Otherwise there is also another route passing the Ubung bus terminal heading to West Bali and turn left at the roundabout in Kediri. In 1998, I first visited the temple. At that time I could see the temple from the road side before I enter the parking area.This time when I revisited the temple, I could see nothing from the main road because the area has been commercialized and developed. Some hotels were built due to market demand. Every visitor and car has to pay for entrance. I had to walk to the temple area where before in those passed years we could park our vehicle next to the seashore. The lines of handicraft sellers on the way to the temple are arranged orderly in one space and also on both sides of the pedestrian track to the temple.
The temple is considered as one of the most sacred places in Bali. It is not accessible to visitors but reserved for pilgrimage only. However, superb views of the temple backed by the glowing sunset can be seen from so many points nearby. There is a line of souvenir shops and also a line of cafes where Es Kelapa Muda (Fresh young coconut with ice) and a variety of food and beverages are served. Some cafes even have panoramic sunset views from their terrace. When it is ebb tide, the crowd usually is centered at the beach between the rock where the temple is laid and the cliff of the mainland. The caves which form part of the cliff also become another famous attraction in the site. It is said that a giant snake lives in one of the caves. It is also believed that at the base of the rocky island there are poisonous sea snakes guarding the temple from evil spirits and intruders. The myth said that the snake was the scarf of Nirartha. Well sometimes when the tide rises the rocky island and the main land are separated by water, and boats are the only way for the pilgrimage to reach the temple. High tide or ebb tide, the beautiful setting is always there. The small rocky island looks like a huge boat with a shrine and trees on it anchored to the seabed in the vast ocean during high tide. The metamorphosis of the surrounding area of Tanah Lot hopefully won't detract from the classical beauty of the historic temple.The magnificent view of the temple in the evening color continues to be the most popular printed on postcards. The temple is one of Bali's prominent icons.