I don’t know why I haven’t posted a photo of Tanah Lot yet …. but here’s one now! This is probably one of the most iconic images of Bali in Indonesia and many people gather here at sunset to take in the view. I was lucky enough to be there as a ceremony was in process so captured a line of the pilgrims making their back from the temple.
Tanah Lot is a rock formation off the Indonesian island of Bali. It is home of a pilgrimage temple, the Pura Tanah Lot (literally “Tanah Lot temple”) and a popular tourist and cultural icon for photography and general exoticism. Tanah Lot means “Land [sic: in the] Sea” in Balinese language. Located in Tabanan, about 20 km from Denpasar, the temple sits on a large offshore rock which has been shaped continuously over the years by the ocean tide.
Tanah Lot is claimed to be the work of the 15th century priest Nirartha. During his travels along the south coast he saw the rock-island’s beautiful setting and rested there. Some fishermen saw him, and bought him gifts. Nirartha then spent the night on the little island. Later he spoke to the fishermen and told them to build a shrine on the rock for he felt it to be a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
The Tanah Lot temple was built and has been a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast. Each of the sea temples were established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast. At the base of the rocky island, poisonous sea snakes are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits and intruders. A giant snake purportedly protects the temple, which was created from Nirata’s scarf when he established the island.