The piece of land, well . . . actually it is a big rock, is located in Bali and known as Tanah Lot. On top of the land, there is a sacred old temple which called Pura Tanah Lot. The temple is one of the seven temples that dedicated to the god of the sea. Each of these temples was established within eyesight of the next to form a chain along the south-western coast of Bali Island.
About the origin of the place, it is said that in the 16th century, there was a holy-man called Dang Hyang Nirartha who came from Java Island to spread the Hindhu teachings in Bali. At that time, the ruler of Bali was Raja Dalem Waturenggong, who greeted the holy-man with high respect and let him taught about Hindhuism throughout Bali.
One day, Dang Hyang Nirartha saw a light shone brightly from afar. The holy-man then decided to go to the direction of the light. After a very long walk to the south-east, he found a spring that seems to be the source of the bright light. He explored the surrounding area to find out what made the spring emitted such a light. At the end, he found a beautiful place which called Gili Beo. According to the local, ‘gili‘ means a big rock and ‘beo‘ means bird. The place was in fact a huge corral rock in the shape of a bird. The rock was located at Bali’s southern shore.
Dang Hyang Nirartha felt that Gili Beo was not only beautiful, but also a sacred place, so he decided to meditate at the place. After a night, he got an insight to build a temple dedicated to the god of the sea on top of the rock.
Bendesa Beraban Sakti, the local ruler in the area, was against Dang Hyang Nirartha. He instructed his followers to cast Dang Hyang Nirartha out of the area. To see that there is a potential danger, in an attempt to protect his followers who helped him building the temple, Dang Hyang Nirartha used his magical power to move the big rock away from the shore; hence it called Tanah Lot or the land on the sea. He also changed his scarf into snakes that inhabited in many caves at the foot of the big rock to guard the area. Bendesa Beraban Sakti could not match the holy-man’s power and he surrendered. Later on, he became one of Dang Hyang Nirartha’s main followers.
Nowadays, Tanah Lot is a popular tourist destination in Bali. Visitors come to see the old temple (even-though they cannot go in the temple). They also come to small caves at the bottom of the big rock to see many snakes which is said to be created by Dang Hyang Nirartha long time ago. Tanah Lot is also known as the best place to enjoy sunset. In there, at a certain point, sunset will become a great background for the temple on the rock.
On my last visit, however, I chose to have a different point of view. Instead of entering the area via the common entrance, I came from the opposite direction, through a low hill not far from Pura Tanah Lot (Tanah Lot Temple). On that cloudy afternoon, I walked down from the direction of Pura batu Bolong, a nearby temple located on top of another big rock that has a hole below it, towards Pura Tanah Lot. So the sun set behind me.