Temple Bliss
Tanah Lot, Bali, Indonesia, 2009-04-01 12:00 by Laerke
Tanah Lot is one of those places that are so incredible that it is highly revered by tourist and locals alike, for the faithful Hindus it is a source of strength and power, and considered a very safe place; it is unimaginable that anything bad could happen at Tanah Lot. The Balinese belief in life beyond the physical and they holds sacred the basic elements of the sun, the earth, the sea, all of which are converged in this temple.
We rounded up 2 of our friends (Yulun and Nicolai) and left Denpasar on our motor bikes, it was a beautiful ride through rice fields and down smaller roads with peeks into Balinese village life, the only bad thing was the sky – the clouds seemed only to become darker and darker as we sped along towards the picture perfect temple. We choose this particular day to visit Tanah Lot as it was Odalan (temple anniversary, like the temple’s birthday) and we knew half of Bali would be out praying at this particular temple.

Literally meaning land (tanah) and sea (lot), the temple sits on a rocky islet separated from the mainland by the sea. The temple directly faces the west, and as a “sunset” temple, its silhouette against the Indian Ocean is world-famous. This brilliant location makes it the most photographed temple in all of Bali. Of course we joined in and clicked away. By now the sky was looking really vicious.

The rock the temple is standing on looks like it has been whittled into its current craggy shape by the strong wind and surf, and that is also what initially happened, but the Indian Ocean was too strong for the rock, and the whole thing was practically crumbling. Luckily Japanese money came to the rescue (Japan does a lot of reconstruction work out here) and the rock has been artificially reconstructed.

The temple is easily accessible during low tide although crossings during high water are common, especially during temple anniversaries or important ceremonies, as we personally were to witness and experience. During high tide there was a little boat to ferry people back and forth in, but as the tide began to go out it got too shallow for the boat. The water was still waist high though, but people couldn’t wait, the smaller kids were hoisted up on dad’s shoulders, the big boxes with offerings in them were placed high on Mom’s head and everybody’s sarongs were hiked up to right under the buttocks. It was a great big circus and of course we had to join in, we almost made it over, still relatively dry, then a big wave came splashing us completely! The whole atmosphere just made us laugh it off, and it was so hot, we were dry again in no time. Also by now the sky was starting to look up.

We ended our day at Tanah Lot with drinks at a little restaurant with a view of the temple, it sure is a beautiful place, and we had a great day. And as all the Balinese told us, nothing bad ever happen at Tanah Lot, and true to the form, our greatest fear – the rain never came.