18 Agustus 2009

Uluwatu Cliff

Pura Uluwatu (temple of the stone head) or Pura Luhur Uluwatu temple is located in the edge of stone cliff in southern part of Bali. This ancient temple is dedicated to the spirits of the sea. Built in the eleventh century during the era of Empu Kuturan, the temple became a classic expression of ancient Bali in a spectacular setting, high above the crashing waves.

Here you can witness an impressive picturesque view especially on the sunset time. The three courtyards are surrounded by hard weathered white coral. The guardian gate in the middle courtyard has similar appearance of East Javanese temple architecture.

The sacred resident monkeys are smart enough to steel your belonging even from your pocket, so beware.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali’s kahyangan jagat (directional temples), believed as a South West Balinese guardian from evil spirits, a dwelling place for a deity called Bhatara Rudra, God of the elements and cosmic force majeures.

Getting here:
About 45 minutes from Nusa Dua, or 1 hr 15 minutes from Kuta or Tuban area. From Nusa Dua, the hilly road will pass through Pecatu, (in)famous for its uncompleted monument and luxury homes. If you are from Kuta, similar hill climbing road through Kedodongan and Jimbaran Hills (and Bay) will bring you here.

Officially known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu (yes, that's the real name: "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). Nonetheless, merely mentioning Uluwatu will get you here in no time.

To me, this is the most spectacular temple on the island of Bali. The inner sanctum of the pura is perched majestically on the edge of a steep cliff that towers above the legendary surf breaks of southern Bali.

While I'm not too sure what the view is like from within the inner temple itself, the views are best enjoyed on two different vantage points on both northern and southern portions of the area.

I try not to mention much about the monkeys here. Precautionary signs have been put at a few places to remind about their aggressiveness. I did not experience any bad incidents with them, but I did take off my sunglasses and hid my camera in my pocket, just in case. At sunset, Kecak dance performance is held here everyday. And, it goes without saying that sunset viewing at Uluwatu is one of the must-do in Bali.

Pura Luhur Uluwatu is regarded as one of the six most important temples in Bali (along with Pura Besakih, of course!). Its location on the south westernmost precinct of this magical island guards the Balinese from the evil spirit of the ocean.

There is a minimal entrance fee to enter. I'm not particularly sure about the need to have a "local guide" to explore the pura just like what I have experienced in Pura Besakih. Sarongs are available for rental at the entrance. It was indeed a hassle free experience for me. And the view is out of this world.

My verdict:
A must visit! What a spectacular place.

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