The door to Grandeur
Bali the “Island of thousand temples” the name for which it is most famed for homes for thousand temples. You may miss the 999 temples except the Uluwatu temple which is carved out of beauty between the sun and sea over the majestic earth, one of the most magnificent temples the world has. As it seems to be sculpted by Hephaistos.
Uluwatu temple also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu is a Balinese sea temple in Bali. Built in the 11th century, it is located in the Southwest coast of the Bukit Peninsula, Bali. It is of the few places in the world which offers a best sunset delight. The views from the bottom of the water surging up against rocks and the ocean horizon are remarkable. It is one of the most spectacular temples sitting atop the cliffs overlooking the surf at Uluwatu. Balinese architecture, traditionally-designed gateways, and ancient sculptures add to Uluwatu Temple’s appeal.
The inner sanctum of the pura (temple) is perched at the the edge of a steep cliffs which tower over Bali’s legendary surf breaks at the south. Most travelers enjoy the view of this temple from two different vantage points, from both northern and southern part of the area. The temple is perched at a staggeringly steep cliff as tall as 70 m over the roaring Indian ocean waves.
“Luhur” means “something of divine origin” while “Uluwatu” can be broken into “ulu” which means “land’s end” and ‘watu’ means a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese.
The Balinese Hindus believe that the three divine powers of Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva become one here. That belief results in making Uluwatu Temple a place of worship of Siva Rudra, the Balinese Hindu deity of all elements and aspects of life in the universe. Pura Uluwatu is also dedicated to protect Bali from evil sea spirits.
Reckoning the building blocks of Uluwatu
The temple was originally built by the Javanese priest Empu Kuturan in the 11th century, and it is considered to be one of the nine directional temples in Bali that protects the island and its inhabitants from evil spirits. It is also one of many temples built along the coast to honor the gods of the sea. In the 16th century, another Javanese priest named Nirartha expanded the temple, and he eventually came to live here at the end of his life. Legend has it that he attained moksha or liberation from earthly desires here.
At the temple
Throughout the temple, you will come across families of monkeys who live in the compound. Be very careful with your belongings, as the monkeys love to grab hats, jewelry, handbags, and of course, food. Once they have what they want, they will be gone in the blink of an eye, so you can say goodbye to your wallet or that new camera. If you do have something taken, the monkeys can usually be induced to exchange it for some fruit. Needless to say, rewarding the monkeys like this only encourages them to steal more.
Uluwatu Beach is known for its surf and in nearby hostelries, its full moon rage parties. It rages at the temple too but in an orderly way. Being a popular surfing spot for the very experienced, Uluwatu offers a wonderful vantage point to view a spectacular sunset. Warungs or small restaurants perched on the cliff offer a comfortable spot to survey the vast Indian Ocean beyond and below the 100-meter-high cliffs with panorama on three sides.
Kecak and fire dance
Kecak dance is the most popular show on Bali and is always full of spectators at the show every day at Uluwatu. The Kecak dance is performed at various places and events on Bali.
The show (originally) all male, is sung and danced without musical instruments. Tickets are 70,000 Indonesian Rupiah per person, and well worth the price for this stunning performance. The Kecak dance is performed by a circle of men who use their voices to create a mesmerizing harmony, while at the same time waving their arms and hands to create fluid movements around the circle. Then, the elaborately attired dancers enter the circle to act out a scene from the epic Ramayana story. The whole dance ends with a fire display as the sun sets in the background. At Uluwatu the seated outdoor theatre stands on solid rock with a height of many tens of meters. Performances are stage designed in such a way that it has the majestic Indian Ocean as its backdrop and timed for the captivating and breathtaking Sunset views. The show takes the story of the Ramayana story with main characters like Rama, Shinta, Rawana and funny clowns who interact with the large audience making much laughter a must see show.
Every six months according to the Balinese 210-day Pawukon cycle, big temple anniversary celebrations are held at the temple. The temple’s keeper, the royal family of Jro Kuta from Denpasar, are patrons for the event.
The temple is open from 09:00 – 18:00. As a place of worship however, it is open 24 hours daily.
Getting to Uluwatu
Location: Pura Uluwatu is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta sub-district, Badung regency, about 25km south of Kuta and it usually takes around one hour to get to and from there.
We can get there by taking the bypass main road to Nusa Dua and to Jimbaran and then follow the ascending road up to Uluwatu.
The best time to go Bali is July-August as it is the coolest and also driest but naturally peak with tourists. Generally all time is a good time to visit Uluwatu Temple though you may find some rain in the evening during rainy season. Come between March to September for the best chance of a clear sunset over Uluwatu.
Things not to miss in Bali
All travelers are recommended the sunset trip to Pura Luhur Uluwatu. The sight of the sun setting over the dramatic temple by the cliff is a sight to behold.
The Kecak Dance performance held every day here at Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple is recommended by many travelers as one of the things you must do in Bali.