A visitor talked out of a bag of chips at Pura Uluwatu
No zoom lens needed to get close to the Macaques at Pura Uluwatu, a snack will do.
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Larisa A Author / Photography and Production Keith EatonPura Uluwatu, South Kuta Beach - Bali
Pura Uluwatu, also known as Pura Luhur Uluwatu, is a sea temple in
Bali and one of the 6 directional temples built to ward off evil
spirits. The temple stands in the Pecatu village, Kuta South District.
The name of the temple has a direct reference to its unique position. Ulu means “top” or “tip,” and “watu” means rock in Balinese. It basically means a temple that stands on the tip of the rock. Additionally, the word “Luhur” translates to “something of divine origin,” which proves the importance of the temple in the local religious life.
The location of Pura Uluwatu is the first guarantee of tourist appeal. The buildings and pathways are perched up on a cliff, just a step away from the 70m fall. Due to this, you can find heavenly views both from the temple and to the temple. The neighboring peaks offer scenery to the dangerous cliffs and temple roofs hidden in the trees.
The temple is filled with traditional Balinese art and architecture, mainly sculptures, gateways and more. Pura Uluwatu is one of the oldest temples in Bali. It also belongs to the highest order of accession and is a significant pilgrimage destination for Balinese people.
One way to approach the temple is from the nearby forest, where a few dozens of monkeys reside. As in other well-known Balinese temples like Pura Pulaki, these monkeys are believed to guard the temple from evil spirits. They’re also known for stealing sunglasses and cameras, so have some nuts or fruits in reserve to trade in for your belongings.
There are 2 entrances to the temple -- southern and northern. The pathway is fortified and runs on the edge of the cliff. It takes around an hour to walk from the starting point to the end.
Enter the temple courtyards and you’ll witness the limestone statue of Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, located behind the main shrine. The statue faces the Indian Ocean and is a key point in the complex. Apart from the beautiful carvings of leaves and flowers, each of the temple entrances is adorned with a unique statue of a creature, possessing a human’s body and an elephant’s head.
While winged gates are not common here, the gate opening to one of the inner courtyards of the temple is a splendid exception. The architecture itself suggests the deep respect locals have for the temple.
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1 December 14