Lying on the westernmost tip of the precarious Bukit Peninsula is the Pura Luhur Uluwatu, a spectacular Balinese Sea Temple. Located at Uluwatu in the Indonesian Island of Bali, the revered temple was built in the 10th century and has been held in high regard by the Hindu population. Since its establishment, it has attracted great attention for its religious significance and historical value. Travellers to the exotic island can find the temple when visiting the charming Pecatu Village, which is situated in the Kuta South District of Badung Regency.
Regarded as one of the “Sad Kahyangan” which literally translates to “Six Great Sanctuaries”, the temple was built in dedication to Ida Sang Hyang Widhi Wasa, considered to be the supreme godhead. He was also popularly known as his manifestation as Rudra, who is known as the dissolver of life. According to the tales, Sang Hyang Widhi was the supernatural being who controlled natural disasters such as plagues, violent storms, volcanic eruptions and other cataclysmic interventions of nature.
Being one of Bali’s sacred directional temples; Pura Luhur Uluwatu is spiritually significant to the Balinese people as it protects the island from the evil spirits that linger in the southwest. With the intention of warding off evil, there are certain restrictions that are upheld when entering the temple. Perhaps the most important regulation to temple’s guardians is the attire of the visitors. Every visitor is compelled to wear special sarongs or sashes, which, according to the followers, protects the visitors from evil influences.
Pura Luhur Uluwatu was founded by a Javanese Hindu guru called Empu Kuturan, who was known for spearheading the Hinduism revival in Bali at a time when the religion was weakening. The temple is also associated with the legendary guru, Nirartha, who was the principal leader of the Hindu Renaissance in the 16th century in Bali. Founder of many temples, he added many structures to the temple site, including the Padmasana Shrines. According to the legacy, it was at the temple where Nirartha achieved liberation from the notion of the endless cycle of rebirth.
Standing atop a sheer cliff, the temple looks down upon the vast expanses of the Indian Ocean, offering breathtaking views of the sea breaking against the base of the cliffs. Built from dark grey coral stone, the temple showcases well preserved decorative elements and stone sculptures, normally seen in most ancient Balinese temples.