Bali Indonesia: TEMPLES (4)

Even though Bali is part of the (mostly Muslim) country of Indonesia, it has a strong Hindu tradition. More than 85 percent of the 4,2 million island inhabitants practice Balinese Hinduism. Hence so many Hindu temples – about 10,000 that are dedicated to different deities from the land and the sea. Bali is actually nicknamed The Island of Gods!

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Batu Bolong Temple

To the Balinese, every living thing – from a weed to a human being – has a spirit and therefore there is an array of spirits all around you. They believe that there are both good and evil spirits, and that this eternal duality exists in balance. The balance that is reflected by the point where the lines meet in the ancient religious symbol of swastika. I was fascinated by the whole philosophy of the tradition.

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Seafront near the Tanah Lot

Each year the people here hold countless ceremonies to please the good spirits and appease the evil ones. It wouldn’t be hard to stumble upon some ceremony while going around island’s temples. This is one magnificent sight to witness, believe me.

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Strong waves below the Batu Bolong

Anyway, when I have read about this Balinese tradition, I was actually convinced that the island is undeservedly referred to as just the place with perfect beaches. Have a peek into the previous post about the 1,000-years-old Mother Temple and keep reading through this one. Here are the temples, besides the Besakih, not to be missed when you travel to Bali. You will be stunned by the whole scenery!

Tanah Lot Temple

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The famous Tanah Lot Temple

This is probably one of the most visited temples on the island. Anyone who was looking for Bali photos online has certainly stumbled across the Tanah Lot. And let me tell you, it deserves such lovely reputation. It doesn’t matter if it’s crowded or not, just try not to miss it!

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Constantly washed by crashing waves

Located about 20 kilometers northwest of Kuta, this is one of the Bali’s most important landmarks. The temple is situated on the top of the huge rock that’s constantly washed by crashing waves. You can only visit during the tide hours.

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Numerous visitors during low tide

When approaching the coastal area, you will go by numerous small shrines, but nothing can prepare you for the scenery you are going to encounter when you come out to the bay. The temple lies on the left, but the low tide also reveals huge rock that curves on the right, forming something that seems like naturally crafted bridge, a crossing with a hole in it. It goes to the Batu Bolong temple. (They say that Batu means “the rock” and Bolong “the hole”.)

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Mesmerizing structure of the temple

The story behind the temple is as mesmerizing as the structure itself, just listen! One high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java who traveled to Bali in 1489 to spread Hinduism, came here. He has opened a site to honor the sea god Baruna. Since he was opposed to by the neighboring village chief trying to dispel him, the priest shifted a large rock he meditated upon out to sea and transformed his sashes into snakes to guard at its base. The name of Tengah Lod, the temple was originally called, means “in the sea”. That is when people acknowledged the priest’s power.

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One of the gates towards the Ulun Danu Beratan

At low tide it’s possible to cross to the rock where is believed to be the source of holy water. There was a line in front of the cave embedded into the rock. Didn’t know whether to stand there or not, but I was encouraged to wait a minute or two since there was a priest at the fountain who was blessing visitors.

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Beautiful gardens and architecture

I was so pleased afterwards that I have waited a bit and got sprinkled by the holy water over my head. I have even tried it, it really was fresh. Also, being blessed meant that I got a rice spot on my forehead, similar to Indian bindi forehead mark. The whole experience gives you the goosebumps, you just feel that something special is going on here.

Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

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The Ulun Danu Beratan Temple

When you take the tour through the central part of the island, make sure to stop by the Beratan Lake in Bedugul. Why? Well, remember those photos of the small temple in the middle of some vast water? That’s the Ulun Danu Beratan, located in the lake. Being in the upland it’s not that hot here, so locals love to come during weekends to cool down.

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Fascinating landscape around the temple

After you go among religious structures and shrines and you finally come out to the lake’s shore, you will be amazed by the site. The temple really seems like floating on the surface of the lake! Add high mountain peaks of Bedugul region to the scenery and you will get one breathtaking landscape.

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Such serenity and harmony in design

The temple was built in the 17th century and it is dedicated to the Hindu trinity, Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva, as well as the lake goddess Dewi Danu. The floating temple is comprised of four groups of shrines and there are four gates facing them. When coming into the complex you will immediately notice typical Balinese architecture. All those shrines are built among such lavish greenery. I was astonished by the nature, flowers that I have never seen before. I should mention that there is also the Botanic Garden here that flora admirers shouldn’t miss.

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The ‘floating’ temple

As for me, I was walking around in awe. We even stumbled upon a wedding. This sure was one beautiful scenery to have a photo-shoot in.

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Wedding photos in lovely surroundings

Other than the Mother Temple and these two I have covered here, there is another temple extremely popular that should be on your bucket list. It lies on the top of the steep cliff in South Kuta. Why didn’t I mention it in this post? Because it eventually got even more interesting – I went there to see the traditional Balinese dance!

Next: TRADITIONAL DANCE (5)

The full Bali SERIES

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22 thoughts on “Bali Indonesia: TEMPLES (4)

    • Hey! Well, if you have Bali volcano in mind, no worries, it is safe. There’s always a risk of course, but nothing happened in months, it’s still quite.
      Even more so, having in mind that Bali is celebrating the Day of Silence today, hehehe. 🙂
      Don’t have Phnom Penh yet. I’ll let you know when I do. 😉 Thanks, cheers!

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  1. Ooh, I love the idea of a temple on the rock, plus the way the sea has shaped the rocks make it look all that more mystical. I’m an atheist, but I’ve always had a constant interest in Hinduism and the amazing stories, while the temples always look so impressive

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, I know, I’m always fascinated by different traditions, especially those that seem remote to us coming from Europe. Love to learn about them, it makes one humble when realizing how rich the cultures are. ❤
      Don't you just love traveling! 😀

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  2. Just like you, I find the Balinese culture and traditions fascinating. And just like you I think there’s so much more other than the beaches! I’m so glad someone is finally shedding some light on their culture, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Danila, it means a lot, it’s such a compliment! 🙂
      I didn’t even bother to write solely about beaches, to tell you the truth, since there’s so much material to be found regarding the topic. And I’m glad you agree, Bali is so much more.
      Thank you! 🙂

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  3. I have visited a few Hindu Temples of Bali like Taman Ayun, Tirtha Empul, and Goa Gajah. I missed visiting this one. I so want to go back and explore the living Hindu traditions of Bali as a practicing Hindu. The temples have such a unique architecture and very primitive rituals which we no longer follow in India like you say spirit worship.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can only imagine how interesting it must be for you to see a different, Balinese side of the religion. 🙂 I’m still learning and I’m already fascinated by those diversities.
      Thanks, Anuradha, hopefully, we’ll both go again soon! 🙂

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  4. Very interesting information and some beautiful scenery and architecture, Indonesia is an area which we know very little about so it was good to find out more. The wedding photograph, is it the angle or is he marrying someone very tall?

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I actually didn’t realize that there were so many Hindu temples in Bali, so thanks for this overview. Tanah Lot Temple definitely looks like the most fascinating, I can see why it’s the most popular on the island. The scenery looks incredible, and just the idea of walking inside rock caves while the tide is splashing outside sounds exciting. Ulun Danu Beratan Temple too is just beautiful – these are really stunning structures, in beautiful surrounds. I would love to visit, and I can definitely understand the appeal in having wedding photos shot here 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Meg, so glad you like it. Believe me, it all looks even more surreal in person, just mesmerizing!
      Well, who knows, if you’re not married yet, this might give you an idea or two! Not a bad place to consider, right! 😉 ❤

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  6. You are right, one often does associate Bali only with the beaches. I never knew about the strong Hindu influence on the island. Tanah Lot certainly looks impressive on the rock surrounded by waves. I can understand why it’s such a spiritual place for the Islanders.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. When I go back to Bali I’ll make sure to visit the Tanah Lot Temple, I believe yes it’s one of the most famous and most visited temples in Bali. Isn’t it amazing? I’ve been to Bali once but only explored Kuta, Legian and Seminyak. People in Bali are nice and so the temples are, and majestic. Love not only the islands also the endless numbers of hidden temples.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, those small offerings were everywhere! I often thought that I should be careful not to step on one. Especially when going out to the beach! 😀
      But I did like the whole symbolism regarding the ingredients. It was all so interesting to learn. 🙂

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  8. I have seen a lot of amazing photos and videos, read many stories and have heard a lot of good things about Bali. I didn’t know Bali is nicknamed The Island of Gods. It is interesting. I would love to give it a visit.

    Liked by 1 person

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