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Pura Tanah Lot: Temple of temples

Pura Tanah Lot may be the most popular and photographed temple on Bali. The structure – whose names mean earth (Tanah) and sea (Lot) – is situated on the west coast of the island atop an impressive rock formation in the sea.

Magical source

Tanah Lot is dedicated to the god of the sea and one of the six most important temples of Bali. Equally as enchanting as the temple are the myths and legends associated with this holy place. Tanah Lot is linked to the person of Danghyang Nirarta, a priest who once chose this place to spend a night during one of his trips. This moved the Balinese to build the Tanah Lot in the same spot. Reportedly there used to be a bridge from the mainland to the temple, but it was destroyed by the power of the sea. An interesting detail is that Tanah Lot is located right above a cave with a magical source of freshwater, despite the saltwater surrounding the rock.


Pura Tanah Lot article image

Photographers (amateur and pro alike) looking to amaze the folks back home will be delighted by Tanah Lot. The place is hugely photogenic, allowing for incredible views of the building from various vantage points. Depending on the position of the sun, this makes for truly stunning images. One tip is to turn right immediately at the entrance to the temple grounds and then walk up the hill through the garden. From this higher ground, the view of the temple is even more striking, with the added bonus that you might capture huge waves smashing against the rocks.

Starting point

Tanah Lot is a 40-minute drive from Kuta and Ubud. This is a great base to visit the temple early in the day: The mystique of Tanah Lot truly comes into its own around dawn. The structure can be reached at low tide most easily. While it is also possible to go there during high tide, this requires taking a boat.

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