Tanah Lot Sea Temple
One of Bali’s most recognized tourist destinations is Tanah Lot temple. Standing firmly on a rocky foundation just off the beachfront on the Tabanan coastline, Tanah Lot is captured vividly on postcards and travel brochures. The temple is accessible on foot at low tide and is a destination that still manages to project some of the island’s most appealing views, especially at sunset.
Tanah Lot belongs to a group of temples that are significant to the Balinese Hindu religion. It is where followers of the faith come to pray for the success of their crops and generally anything else that is associated with agriculture. Most Balinese have idiosyncratic superstitions and farmers in rural areas are constantly seeking blessings that they believe will safeguard their fragile livelihoods. Alternatively, urban dwelling Hindu’s often set out to visit Tanah Lot in family groups to meditate and seek spiritual guidance.
According to legend, a wandering Hindu sage named Dang Hyang Niratha built the temple sometime during the 16th Century as a sign of devotion for this striking area where the landscape dramatically meets the sea. It is also said that the same character created other temple sites along Bali’s western coastline to worship the mighty God Siwa.
Inside the actual temple compound itself there are tiered shrines that follow the fundamental elements of Balinese design where the number of levels constructed are symbolic to the complexities of the faith. There are other formations within the area that indicate that the site is not only of great religious importance, but also maintains archaeological value.
Hidden amidst the rocks and crevices surrounding Tanah Lot there are a number of black sea snakes. Although these snakes are tame, visitors are warned to be cautious and refrain from unnecessarily aggravating these reptiles or wandering off unaccompanied to explore. These snakes are believed to be the guardians of the temple and protect the entire area from unseen evil forces.
The most popular time to pay a visit to Tanah Lot is late afternoon when the sun begins to settle over the horizon and the temple is silhouetted against the vibrant glow of the sky. The site draws a crowd of travellers’ who come by the bus load to witness this magnificent temple scene against a background of crashing waves.
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