Bali Uluwatu Temple is located in Pecatu Village, Kuta Sub-district, Badung District, Bali. The temple is 30 kilometers to the south of Denpasar. Uluwatu Temple, also called Luwur Temple, is one of the six Sad Kahyangan Temples, the main spiritual pillars in Bali Island.
There are two different opinions concerning the history of Uluwatu Temple.
- First Opinions, Some people believe that the temple was built by Empu Kuturan in 9th AD, during Marakata’s reign.
- Second Opinions, Other people claim that the temple was built by Dang Hyang Nirartha, a pedanda (Hindu monk) from Daha Kingdom (Kediri) in East Java. Dang Hyang Nirartha came to Bali in 1546 AD, during the reign of Dalem Waturenggong. The monk built Uluwatu Temple on Pecatu Hill. After completing a spiritual journey around Bali, the monk went back to Uluwatu Temple and died there. He moksa (died and his body vanished), leaving the Marcapada (worldly life) and entering Swargaloka (heaven).
The Piodalan or ceremony commemorating the temple’s anniversary is held on Anggara Kasih day, in wuku Medangsia in Caka calendar. Usually the ceremony lasts for three days thronged by of thousands of Hindus.
Uluwatu Temple sits on a 70-meter-high cliff protruding above Indonesian Ocean. Because of its unique location, visitors to the temple have to take a long stone stairway to reach it. The temple heads east, unlike other Balinese temples which face west or south. There are hundreds of monkeys roaming along the path outside the temple. Although the monkeys look tame, visitors find them a nuisance as they often grab food off a visitor’s hand and snatch visitors’ belongings. There are two doors at the end of the path, the north door and the south one, through which visitors enter the temple complex.
The entrance doors take the shape of stone Bentar gates. Standing across from each gate, there are two statues of elephant-headed men. The front part of the gate is decorated with fine relief sculpture picturing leaves and flowery patterns. Behind the gate, there are stone steps that lead to the inner court. Along the steps, trees are grown to provide shade.