Located just off the coast of Beraban, Bali, Tanah Lot is a striking rock formation. Tanah Lot is Balinese, and literally means the “land in the sea”, and is the site of the Pura Tanah Lot (the Tanah Lot Sea Temple). According to folklore, the temple was built in the 15th century upon the instruction of Nirartha, a revered priest of the time. The story goes that Nirartha came across the dramatic rock formation during one of his travels along the southern coast. Impressed by its beauty, he decided to rest there and ended up spending the night on the rock. When some fisherman, having recognised him, came to him bearing gifts, he instructed them to build a shrine there as a tribute to the Balinese Sea Gods.
The Tanah Lot Sea Temple is one of 7 sea temples found around Bali’s coast. The temples form a chain along the island’s south-western coast, and each temple is visible from the two adjacent temples. Poisonous sea snakes living at the base of the rock are believed to protect the temple from evil spirits. It is also believed that a giant snake, made from Nirartha’s scarf, acts as the temple’s guardian.
Tanah Lot is best seen during the sunset, where it forms a dramatic figure against the fading light. Almost one third of the island is actually artificial rock, built in the 1980’s when the edges of the rock-island started to crumble. The famous rock is in Tanaban, just 20 kilometres away from the town of Denpasar. The surrounding area is highly commercialized and the area leading up to the temple is lined with souvenir shops, which are terrific for a spot of shopping.
Famous for its picturesque landscapes, amazing shopping and exciting nightlife, Bali is the most popular destination within Indonesia. The island is populated with friendly locals and while public infrastructure is still quite basic, Bali resorts easily rank among the best in the world. Hotels, like the Anantara Bali Uluwatu, are designed to complement the island’s natural beauty, and guests can look forward to waking up each morning to breathtaking views of the ocean from the Uluwatu hotels luxurious villas.