Dramatically marooned on a craggy, wave-lashed rock just off the coast about 30km northwest of Kuta, Pura Tanah Lot is Bali’s most photographed sight. Framed by frothing white surf and glistening black sand, its elegant multi-tiered shrines have become the unofficial symbol of Bali and they attract huge crowds of visitors every day, particularly around sunset. Unfortunately this has brought all the joys of tourism with it, and now the temple sits against a background of stalls and over-enthusiastic hawkers. The temple is said to have been founded in the sixteenth century by the wandering Hindu priest Nirartha and is one of the most holy places on Bali. Only bona fide devotees are allowed to climb the stairway carved out of the rock face and enter the compounds; everyone else is confined to the base of the rock.

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