Temple at the end of the reef – Uluwatu Temple, Bali.

Officially known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, “Luhur” means “something of divine origin” while “Uluwatu” can be broken into “ulu” which means “land’s end” and “watu” means “rock” in the old language. It is beautifully designed and blessed with a spectacular view of the ocean.

Uluwatu Temple

Uluwatu Temple is one of six ‘Sad Kahyangan’ temple in Bali.

High on top of a cliff

Located high on top of a cliff, Uluwatu Temple is believed to house Bhatara Rudra, the Balinese god of the elements and cosmic forces. This marvelous temple has 11 centuries old history.

Architect of the beautiful temples

Empu Kuturan, a Hindu priest from Java, founded this temple in the 10th century. In the 15th-century Pastor Nirartha or Danghyang Dwijendra, retreated to Uluwatu for his final days,when he attained Moksa,or freedom from earthly desires.

Legend also says to that Nirartha was the architect of the beautiful temples, as well as many other major temples in Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa.  He was known for seafront temples. Behind the main Meru (pagoda) at Pura Uluwatu, there is a limestone statue embodiment Brahmins that regard the Indian Ocean, said the statue is the embodiment of ‘Nirartha’. Inside the temple complexes are believed to be a boat belonging Nirartha when traveling from Java.

Architect of the beautiful temples

Inside you would find, a lake that is made for monkeys to play in. These monkeys are so intelligent that you’d find them play and be nuisance around only in this water pool. Just adjacent to the pool, you could also find a shelter that is used to feed and serve the devotees.

Tourists and guests are especially dumbfounded to see the main pagoda inner sanctum, a limestone statue of Dwijendra surveying the vast Indian Ocean, and a shrine representing the boat on which Dwijendra traveled from the island of Java to this Bali coast.

limestone statue

Tourists are allowed to enter the temple as long as they dress and behave politely.Your legs should be properly covered and so should your arms be. You will be asked to put on traditional sarong in order to cover the shoulders and knees. And if you are dressed properly, you could only tie a yellow cloth around your waist, as a symbol of respect for the deity.

Hinduism came to Indonesia from India in the fifth century. It was gradually replaced by Buddhism, which was the main religion of Sumatra and Java until Islam held place. However, due to “cultural barriers”, Bali became the only part of Indonesia to remain Hindu.

I was amazed how Mahabharata and Ramayana was popular at Bali. At many central location, you would be amazed to see statues of various Hindu God.

limestone statue

The walls of coral bricks are covered with intricate carving of Bali’s mythological menageries. The views of Uluwatu Temple is truly a very exotic and has a romantic feel, adding to the thrill of visiting the site. Underneath the temple one can see beautiful caves that lead to one of the most attractive beaches (Pecatu beach). The beach is famous for surfers that come to enjoy the waves. However, only experienced surfers, can enjoy themselves since the water is a bit rough.

Dance at Uluwatu Temple

Every day, against the background of a beautiful sunset a group of male dancers performs Kecak dance. The men’s chorus chants the words Cak ke-cakke-cak ke-cak ke-cak ke-cak, in rhythm, over and over again – hence called the Kecak or Cak dance. Kecak dances consist of about 50 men wearing only a loin-cloth, the upper part of their bodies are left bare. They form rows of circles, around is a coconut oil lamp. The dance performed presents the dramas and the story from the Ramayana epic.

Walk around the cliff

The real attraction is the location for a good angel,especially at sunset,walk around the cliff to the left(south) of the temple.

An interesting fact is the monkeys that wanders in and around the temple. The monkey like meddling by taking away all kinds of things, that are shining. Watch out for these naughty toddlers, for they like to snatch anything else they can get.

Monkeys at Uluwatu Temple, Bali.

Bali is all that and more; this city welcomes tourists with open arms and the people’s hospitable nature ensures that your stay will definitely be worth the trip. I had a wonderful opportunity to visit Bali. I shall bring to you, more than my pictures and word could define. I hope you enjoy reading and add to the tourism.

Pictures Courtesy : Nitin Gupta Pictures.


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