Tanah Lot Temple in West Bali
Tanah Lot Temple is one of Bali’s most important landmarks, famed for its unique offshore setting and sunset backdrops. An ancient Hindu shrine perched on top of an outcrop amidst constantly crashing waves; Tanah Lot Temple is simply among Bali’s not-to-be-missed icons.
The onshore site is dotted with smaller shrines alongside visitors’ leisure facilities that comprise restaurants, shops and a cultural park presenting regular dance performances. The temple is located in the Beraban village of the Tabanan regency, Bali, and approximate 20km northwest of Kuta, and is included on most tours to Bali’s western and central regions.
The Legent of Tanah Lot Temple
Dang Hyang Nirartha, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who travelled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism, arrived at the beautiful area and established a site honouring the sea god, Baruna. Here, he shared his teachings to Beraban villagers, only to face opposition from the village chief who soon gathered his loyal followers to dispel Nirartha. The priest resisted, incredibly shifting a large rock he meditated upon out to sea while transforming his sashes into sea snakes to guard at its base. The rock’s original name, Tengah Lod, means ‘in the sea’.
Acknowledging Nirartha’s powers, the humbled chief vowed allegiance. Before setting off, Nirartha gifted him a holy kris dagger, which is now among the sanctified heirlooms of the Kediri royal palace. Pilgrims bring these relics each Kuningan day by foot on an 11km pilgrimage to the Luhur Pakendungan temple, the priest’s former meditational site.
Tanah Lot Temple Highlights and Features
After centuries of large waves persistently crashing at its rock base, Tanah Lot Temple faced the constant threat of erosion, reaching a significant decline in 1980. The authorities carried out preservation efforts to Tanah Lot and other historical sites island-wide with aid from the Japanese government. Fully restored, a third of the present Tanah Lot is actually artificial rock.
At high tide, waves flood the causeways making it impossible to cross. At low tide, you may cross to view the rock base where the legendary ‘guardian’ sea snakes dwell in crevices around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain. This natural spout is the source of holy water for all the temples in the area. Priests at the fountain bless visitors by sprinkling holy water over their heads. You can cup your palms and take a sip to prove it is amazingly fresh water.
Onshore temples include the Penyawang, a spiritual proxy to Tanah Lot Temple that hosts pilgrims when the main offshore temple is inaccessible during high tide. Other smaller temples around the site host prayer sessions for various aspects of the villagers’ agrarian life, from good rice harvests to rites of passage. North of Tanah Lot is Batu Bolong, similarly built on a rock formation with a ‘hollow’ overpass linking to the mainland.
Convenient pathways and well-kept tropical gardens line the grounds from Tanah Lot Temple to Batu Bolong, with resting spots offering shades and good viewpoints to both outcrops. Art shops selling souvenirs and curios of all sorts line the pathway from the parking area to the temple, also with peddlers selling traditional snacks such as jaja kelepon –yummy, must-try palm sugar-filled gelatinous balls rolled in grated coconut.
Good to Know and What Not to Miss
Although you cannot enter the temple grounds, the panoramic views and cultural offerings are highlights to enjoy. On the holy day of Kuningan, five days prior to the temple’s anniversary date, the heirloom pilgrimage is one of Bali’s festive parades worth witnessing. Tanah Lot Temple piodalan falls on every Wednesday that follows each Kuningan on Bali’s 210-day Pawukon calendar. Dress and act respectfully as on any temple visit in Bali.
Large waves near the rocks are hazardous, therefore always take extreme care and obey warning signs. For further safety measures, members of the Balawista lifeguards take shifts to lend a watchful eye at several key points along the coast. Entrance tickets and parking coupons include insurance coverage.
Tanah Lot Temple Entrance Fee
Visits to the Tanah Lot Temple are subject to an entrance fee of IDR 20,000 for domestic tourists and IDR 60,000 for foreigners.
When is the best time to visit Tanah Lot Temple ?
The most popular time to visit Tanah Lot is in the evening, at sunset. Most of the tourists arrive about an hour or two before the sun sets and stay until it gets dark. We suggest you arrive in the morning to avoid the crowds, especially during high season. Avoid lunchtime, as it usually gets too hot at this time.
How to Get Tanah Lot Temple ?
To get to the Tanah Lot Temple most people drive, catch a bemo or join a tour, with the car ride taking around 45 minutes from Kuta. Legian and Seminyak and is en-route for those heading to West Bali. From Ubud it can reached in about 30 to 40 minutes by car. Once dropped off at the official car park you can follow the path down to the temple that is lined with an array of souvenir markets.
Address: Desa Beraban, Kediri, Tabanan Regency, Bali, Indonesia