Famous for its incredibly unique location and spectacular sunsets, Tanah Lot Temple is a Bali attraction not to be missed. Located approximately 20 minutes northwest of Kuta, Tanah Lot Temple is an ancient Hindu Shrine perched atop a rocky outcrop in the sea. Worshipped by locals and visitors, the temple is a dramatic holy site that is surrounded by crashing waves.
Situated in Beraban village, Tanah Lot Temple is located in the Tabanan region and is a popular stop on many Bali cultural and sightseeing tours. Onshore, the site is peppered with smaller shrines, shops, restaurants and a park which regularly hosts cultural performances. The temple marks the former meditation site of Dang Hyang Nirartha, a Hindu high priest who travelled from East Java to spread Hinduism in Bali in 1489.
Arriving in this beautiful area of Bali, the priest established a site to honour Baruna the sea god and to share his teachings with the villagers of Beraban. However, the village chief opposed this idea and gathered his followers to drive out the priest. In resistance, the priest performed an incredible task – he shifted the large rock he used for meditation out into the sea while transforming his holy sashes into snakes to guard the rock’s base. Humbled, the chief acknowledged the priest’s powers and pledged his allegiance. The priest gifted the chief a holy kris dagger before he went on his way. This dagger is now one of the sanctified heirlooms located in the Kediri royal palace.
Due to its unique location, Tanah Lot Temple faces the constant threat of erosion. After centuries of being battered by large waves, the rock base reached significant degradation in 1980 and the Balinese government, along with the assistance of the Japanese government restored the site. After full restoration, one third of Tanah Lot’s current base is comprised of artificial rock to withstand the continuous crashing waves.
Although visitors are not permitted to enter the temple grounds, the cultural offerings and spectacular panoramic views are major highlights. At high tide, the causeways to Tanah Lot Temple are impossible to cross, however at low tide you can cross to look at the rock base where legends say the guardian sea snakes still dwell around Tirta Pabersihan fountain. A natural water spout, the fountain provides the holy water for all the temples in the surrounding area.
Open from 7am to 7pm, the temple also features onshore shines that host daily prayer sessions. There are also local shops all along the pathway selling souvenirs, art and traditional Balinese snacks.