Tanah Lot, the Legendary Temple Guarded by Sea Serpent


In short, Tanah Lot can be described as a tourist attraction in the form of a temple built on an offshore rock formation. This combination creates a unique landscape that cannot be found anywhere else, even in Bali.

A dreamy scene at the beach. via Instagram/twpbalitour

Tanah Lot is one of the most important landmarks in Bali. This tourist destination is one of the most visited temples despite being located relatively far from other popular destinations in South Bali.

Tanah Lot Temple

The temple on the rock. via Instagram/stellingb

In local languages, Tanah Lot means ‘Land in the Sea’. Tanah Lot Temple was built on an offshore large rock that had been hit and shaped by waves for eternity. Natural erosion had threatened the existence of the Island, but efforts by the government to preserve it have saved the place from further any danger. Now, roughly 30% of the rock formation in Tanah Lot is actually an artificial stone from the restoration.

Legend of Tanah Lot

The temple with a myth. via Instagram/vanessa.lostintheworld

Once upon a time, a high priest from the Majapahit Kingdom came to Bali to spread Hinduism. Dang Hyang Nirartha, the priest’s name, faced opposition from the village head of Beraban who wanted to expel him from the village.

Threatened by the Village Chief and his followers, the priest showed his powers by creating an island in the middle of the sea to meditate. He also transformed his scarf into a large serpent that guarded the island against the threat of the village head.

The temple from above. via Instagram/twpbalitour

The island was then named Tengah Lod, which means in the middle of the Sea. Over time, the name changes into Tanah Lot. After seeing Nirartha’s strength, the village chief and his followers admitted defeat and expressed their loyalty to the priest. Until now, the objects left behind by the priest are still considered as a very important heirlooms that were sanctified and paraded on the celebration of Kuningan.

Come at low tide

The base of the temple. via Instagram/awayfarerstravelogue

To reach the base of the Tanah Lot Temple, you must come during low tide. When the water recedes, there will be an open ‘path’ from the coast to Tanah Lot Island. You can enjoy and see for yourself the beauty of crevices and rocks that form the basis of this temple.

You can see where the legendary serpent supposedly stays. However, during high tide, you can only enjoy Tanah Lot Temple from onshore.

Good to know

The temple at the sunset. via Instagram/thisisdavidwade

Even if you make it to the base of Tanah Lot Temple, you will not be allowed to enter the temple grounds because it is a prohibited area for tourists. However, the view from the ground of Tanah Lot was already quite stunning.

You can also come during the Piodalan, an anniversary of the temple and takes place every 210 days. Three Piodalan will be carried out on August 7, 2019, March 4, 2020, and September 30, 2020. Also, be sure to avoid the big waves around this temple because they are very dangerous.

The temple at the sunset. via Instagram/marktimoo

Tanah Lot Temple is one of the icons of tourism in Bali. You may have often seen a picture on the posters that promote this resort island. If you come to see it for yourself, then you will know that Tanah Lot is indeed a unique magical place, you can even feel it when you only see it from afar.

Bali Indonesia Pura Tanah Lot Wisata