Tanah Lot

Tanah Lot
When it comes to sacred sea temple sites, Tanah Lot, o­ne of Bali’s most popular tourist destinations, hits you like a tidal wave. A small, rocky island just off the southwest coast of Bali and about 20 kilometers from the Balinese capital of Denpasar, Tanah Lot was, and continues to be, formed by the ocean tide. Roughly translated, Tanah Lot means ‘land floating in the sea’. Locally, the island is also referred to as Tanah Let, which means ‘ancient land’, and Tanah Lod, which means ‘land to the south’.

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.

Tanah Lot
Although the temple itself is not accessible to visitors, that doesn’t stop the countless people who visit the site from enjoying the breathtaking views the location offers. Indeed, visitors congregate by the masses in the early evening o­n nearby terraces to watch the sun set behind the temple.