Uluwatu Temple and Eating Like a Local on Jimbaran Beach (Bali)
The Temple of Uluwatu on the cliff-top setting, Bali
After a leisurely morning and late lunch, Nyoman picked us up at 3:30 pm and drove us to the south-western tip of the Bukit peninsula of Bali for a visit to the temple of Uluwatu.
Along with Tanah Lot, Uluwatu (or Pura Luhur Uluwatu) is one of the seven key temples along the island’s coastline believed to be Bali's spiritual pillars. With 'Ulu' meaning the ‘top’ or the ‘tip’ and 'watu' meaning a ‘stone’ or a ‘rock’ in Balinese, the temple of Uluwatu boasts a spectacular cliff-top setting at the edge of a plateau 250 feet above the waves of the Indian Ocean. Archaeological remains found in the location prove that the temple is of megalithic origin, dating back to roughly the 10th century. The Balinese Hindus believe that three divine powers - Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva - become one at Pura Uluwatu, which is dedicated to protecting Bali from evil sea spirits.
While the temple and its cliff-top setting were a marvel, Peter and I weren’t exactly thrilled at the prospect of skirting the forest that surrounded the temple grounds, which was home to hundreds of monkeys. Believed to keep evil spirits away from the temple, they do a pretty good job of warding off humans too. Warned about their aggression and told to put away all our hats, drink bottles, mobile phones and jewelry, or risk losing them to these pugnacious primates, Peter and I stuck as close as we could to the serpentine pathway along the cliff side, stopping at several fenced points along the way to take in the breathtaking view.
Sunset on Jimbaran Beach, Bali
After an hour of being jostled by the crowd under the searing sun at Uluwatu, we hopped back into our van and hightailed it to Jimbaran Bay, arriving half an hour later and in time for sunset. Paradisiacal is the appropriate word to describe Jimbaran at this hour. With the setting sun casting a golden glow over the beach as waves caressed the shore, we sat ourselves down on the sand and soaked up the quotidian vibe of children flying kites, lovers walking hand in hand, and families dining al fresco. Slowly making our way to the local fish market, well away from the commercial restaurant strip, we picked our meal straight out of the day’s catch from a local fisherman: Whole Red Snapper, prawns and squid. Settling at a table on the beach with a Bintang in our hand, our seafood was brought to us minutes later, cooked to perfection “a la Balinese”, served with stir fried kangkung greens and steamed rice. This is surely the stuff dreams are made of!
Jimbaran is less than a 15-minute drive from the airport, and 20 minutes from Sanur, Legian and Seminyak. The market is open between 7 – 9 am.