Uluwatu Temple – Beautiful And Sacred Destination For Bali Trip

Bali is known as the island of unique temples. The big, small, and even the temple built inside a cave, Bali has them all. One of the unique temples that you can find in Bali is the temple that was built near the sea. It is also called the sea temple. One of the famous sea temples in Bali is Pura Luhur Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple.

Interesting Things You Should Know about Uluwatu Temple

Its close-to-sea location is not only the unique part of Uluwatu Temple. This temple also has many interesting things you can’t find elsewhere. So, we believe it will help you to understand how amazing this temple is.

The first interesting thing is the function of this temple. As one of the nine directional temples, Uluwatu has a unique location. This temple was built for one purpose, which is to protect the people from the evil spirit. For that reason, this temple stands on the edge of the cliff, close to the sea. It feels like it guards the land against the evil spirit that tries to enter the land.

The name itself also has a unique meaning. Luhur means “something of divine origin” in the local language. As for its location, which is Uluwatu, it consists of two local words. The “ulu” word means the “end of the land”. The “watu” word means rock. It describes the area where you can find this temple, which is on the tip of the rock cliff.

Besides its sacred location and purpose to ward off the evil spirit, Uluwatu Temple is also known as one of the six important temples in Bali. These six temples include the biggest temple in Bali, which is also known as the Mother Temple, the Pura Besakih or Besakih Temple.

The sacred part of the temple stands on the cliff that is close to the surf breaks in the south part of the Uluwatu area. Many tourists enjoy the beautiful view of this temple from two different places. One of them is the northern area where you can see its full view from the land. And, the other part is from the southern area, where you can see it stand beautifully on top of the cliff.

The cliff where it was built has around 70 meters of height. Therefore, this temple is visible from many angles in Uluwatu. This height also represents its purpose as the guardian of the evil spirit, literally. Its majestic view always awes everyone who comes to visit the Uluwatu beach or the temple itself.

The History of Pura Luhur Uluwatu Temple

When did this temple build? This temple building process started in the 11th century. Interestingly, the one that established this temple location wasn’t Balinese. Instead, he was a sage from Java Island. He was Empu Kunturan. He came from the Majapahit Kingdom. Empu established many temples and worshipping spots in Bali, Such as Sakenan Temple in Denpasar.

Uluwatu Temple also became the place where many sages from the past achieved enlightenment. For example, Dhang Hyang Dwijendra (locals call him Dhang Hyang Niratha), a sage from East Java came to this temple centuries ago and achieved moksha here. Moksha is a state in which someone has been released from the cycle of rebirth. In other words, he ascended into a higher being.

The legend said the lighting strike the one who has achieved that stage of life. Then, he completely disappeared from the temple. Moreover, he was also the one that build the temple into a Uluwatu Temple. So, if Empu Kunturan has established the spot as the worshipping spot, Dhang Hyang Dwijendra was responsible for starting the construction of the building in that location to become a temple. Now, it is known as Uluwatu Temple.

Uluwatu Temple was not accessible until 1983. After that, the local government started to open this temple to the public. In 1999, this temple also got damaged because of a lightning strike. The lighting caused a fire that damaged several parts of the temple. Because of that event, this temple had the first restoration process since its first construction era.

Uluwatu Temple Features

Uluwatu Temple has many features you can see. One of them is the Brahmin statue facing the ocean. Balinese built this statue to symbolize Dhang Hyang Dwijendra, who ascended from this temple in the past.

This temple has two entrances, and each entrance has a unique gate. One of them has leaf carvings. The other gates have flower carvings. You also can find a unique statue of a human with an elephant head in front of each entrance.

This temple also has a winged stone gate. According to the research, this gate came from the 10th century. It is located in the courtyard of Uluwatu Temple. The winged gate is a rare type of gate you cannot find easily in Balinese temples. Therefore, this could be one of the sights that tourists can only see in Uluwatu Temple. 

For tourist convenience, local management provides various public facilities, like food stalls, toilets, and souvenir shops. These facilities are available in the parking area, right in front of the Uluwatu Temple main gate.

Uluwatu Temple Festival and Ceremony

Tourists can enjoy the traditional festival to commemorate the temple anniversary every six months. The festival date is changing following the traditional Balinese calendar. It is known as the Pawukon cycle. 

 This festival was attended by the royal family of Bali Kingdom, Jro Kuta, who came from Denpasar. They also act as the temple’s keepers during the festival.

Final Words

Uluwatu Temple is indeed one of the most beautiful, unique, and interesting Hindu temples in Bali. You must put it on your travel list whenever you plan to visit this island. It has a long history and legends involved in its establishment and construction. The architecture is also beautiful. It almost does not change from the first construction. You won’t be disappointed with your visit, as you also can visit Uluwatu Beach as another attraction.