The island’s striking focal point is its pilgrimage temple, Pura Tanah Lot, a simply-constructed structure set against a dramatic ocean backdrop. Perhaps the province’s most sacred sea temple, Pura Tanah Lot devotees believe that not only does it represent an homage to protector sea spirits but that it is sheltered from evil by the poisonous sea snakes that dwell in the caves at the base of the island.
According to legend, the temple was erected by fishermen for 15th century priest Niratha, one of the last priests to come to Bali from Java. As the story goes, Niratha told the fishermen that a shrine was needed on the rock to worship the Balinese sea gods. So the Tanah Lot temple was built and has remained a part of Balinese mythology for centuries. The temple is one of seven sea temples around the Balinese coast, each of which was established within view of the next to form a sequence along the southwestern coast.