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Tanah Lot, Bali. Source: NIPATHORN / Adobe Stock.

Tanah Lot: Bali’s Majestic Temple in the Sea


On a small three-acre island off the southwest coast of Bali lies a cherished sea temple, Tanah Lot. Its name aptly translates to "Land in the Sea" in the Balinese language, a fitting description for this rock formation that hosts the revered temple. Tanah Lot is one of seven sea temples, all strategically built so that each is visible from the next. Dating back to the 16th century, this sacred monument was erected to honor the sea spirits. Legend has it that sea serpents guard and protect the temple, ensuring its sanctity. Over time, the temple's rock base had to be reconstructed, as the natural rock had started eroding into the ocean. For those keen to experience the beauty of Tanah Lot up close, access is granted on foot during low tide. However, a notable restriction exists: non-Balinese individuals are forbidden from entering the temple's precincts.

Tanah Lot's picturesque setting makes it one of Bali's most photographed spots, drawing throngs of visitors especially during the golden hours of sunrise and sunset. But a word to the wise for romantics: think twice before bringing a date here. Local folklore warns of a curse that befalls unmarried couples visiting the temple, supposedly dooming their relationship. Despite the cautionary tales, the panoramic views and mystical aura of Tanah Lot continue to allure visitors. For many, the breathtaking sight of this age-old temple against the backdrop of a setting sun is a risk worth taking.

Top image: Tanah Lot, Bali. Source: NIPATHORN / Adobe Stock.

By Joanna Gillan

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Joanna Gillan is a Co-Owner, Editor and Writer of Ancient Origins. 

Joanna completed a Bachelor of Science (Psychology) degree in Australia and published research in the field of Educational Psychology. She has a rich and varied career, ranging from teaching... Read More

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