Stay near Tanah Lot, Bali's Most-Loved Temple
A stunning Hindu temple perched precariously on a rocky outcrop just off shore, Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s most important landmarks. In the village of Beraban, about a 45-minute drive from Kuta, Tanah Lot just begs to be photographed, especially at dusk when the setting sun creates a golden glow.
Sunrise is equally beautiful here and is perhaps easier to catch if you stay in a hotel nearby. It’s the perfect excuse for an early-morning walk from your hotel near Tanah Lot or arrange a taxi if you’re staying nearer Kuta Beach. There are quite a few accommodation options in the surrounding Tabanan region, ranging from simple, relatively cheap rooms to upscale luxury golf resort hotels.
An Ancient Pilgrimage Site
Believed to have been crafted by the revered 15th-century Hindu priest Nirartha, the temple has been ravaged by the sea over the centuries. In underwent a massive restoration project in the 1990s to save it from collapse.
Tanah Lot holds an important place in Balinese spiritualism and is today the most important pilgrimage site for thousands of devout Hindus, particularly farmers. Followers flood to the temple to pray for the success of their crops, with whole families making long journeys to meditate, pray and seek blessings for their livelihoods. The temple is closely linked to other sea temples associated with Nirartha, each built so it could be seen from the other.
Visiting Tanah Lot
The much-photographed temple of Tanah Lot is the piéce de resistance of the site, although several onshore temples are certainly worth visiting, especially at high tide when access to Tanah Lot is blocked by the sea. Non-Balinese people are not permitted to enter the temple itself, so high tide offers wonderful photo opportunities when the islet is deserted. At low tide, you can join the throngs of worshippers and cross to the rock base, where you might spot black sea snakes swirling around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain, a natural spring of holy water.