Pura Lingsar Temple

On the island of Lombok, o­ne of the best-known tourist attractions is Pura Lingsar Temple. Located at the north end of the beach at Ampenan, Pura Lingsar is also Lombok's most important religious site.

The temple was built in 1714 by Balinese Hindus when they first visited Lombok. However, Pura Lingsar is not a purely Hindu temple. It represents a blending of the Hindu tradition with Wektu Telu, a religion practiced by the Sasak people, Lombok's natives. Wektu Telu's adherents consider themselves Muslims, but do not follow many of the religious commandments that more orthodox Muslims do. They have adopted other beliefs from Hinduism and native animistic traditions. This dual heritage makes Pura Lingsar an important symbol of unity among the islands' faiths.

Visitors to Pura Lingsar are expected to wear a sash or sarong to enter the temple. If you forget, there will be vendors outside happy to rent you appropriate clothing. You can also explore the temple's outer buildings without any special dress requirements. The northern, elevated part of the temple is the Hindu section, while the Wektu Telu worship in the southern section.

Pura Lingsar is famous for a pool of water in the Wektu Telu area, sacred to the deity Vishnu. This pool is home to a family of holy eels, who can be lured out of their hiding spots with hard-boiled eggs. You can purchase eggs from stalls outside the temple to feed the eels yourself.

In mid-December, Pura Lingsar hosts the temple festival of Perang Topat. During this festival, representatives of the Hindu and Wektu Telu communities put o­n an elaborate costumed parade and then square off for a wild mock battle in which the weapon of choice is ketupat -- balls of sticky rice wrapped in coconut leaves.