Pura Luhur is Indonesian for 'sublime temple' and while I was in Bali, I was lucky enough to experience some of the most historical and most magnificent and most sublime. Spaces that are so peaceful that you are literally stunned into silence. You can't quite comprehend the beauty, it almost doesn't seem real and whether it be on the edge of a cliff that overlooks a roaring ocean or in the middle of a rural village, there is something powerful beyond measure that overwhelms you when you are in the company of one. I am already very sensitive and receptive to the energies of people and places so while in Bali, a place that is more spiritual than anything I have ever experienced, my senses were more heightened than they have ever been before. It's the wonder of nature and seeing something truly magical, for the very first time, but also feeling like you've always been there. I felt so connected.
The first temple I visited was Uluwatu. Although nothing is really too far away in Bali, it is somewhat off the beaten track and despite being close to some of the islands most famous surf spots, is not overshadowed by tourism. We were lucky to be in Bali just out of the high holiday season so perhaps this had something to do with it but it matters not, because I felt like I was the only person there, it absorbed me that much.
On entering the area, you are given a deep purple sarong or bright yellow sash to tie around your waist, depending on what you are wearing. This is a sign of respect. You then walk down a forested hill, preferably with a sling-shot-bearing guide to defend you from bearded monkeys who will steal anything and everything from you, feeling no fear in getting up close and absolutely no shame in doing so. But then, a clearing in the trees reveals this...
I gasped, while holding back the lump in my throat that threatened a full on sob. The view is that beautiful. The ocean in these parts is deep, wide and unforgiving. The force at which it builds up and then crashes against the wall of rock beneath you is actually scary. We were told that no one has ever fallen in but people have jumped. You just can't imagine how anyone would be able to tear themselves away from the beauty long enough to follow through with ending their life but this ocean has a strange pull and I believe that even the most desperately unhappy person would feel the most incredible euphoria in the final moments before the ocean enveloped them.
The second sea temple I visited was Tanah Lot. What fascinated me most about this place was an entire shoreline made of black rock, layer upon layer, which is slowly being shaped by the sea and has been for centuries. This area is more popular with tourists but this does not detract from your desire to just stare, no matter how many camera flashes are going off around you. Just to the left of Tanah Lot is a resort with golf course. It's fortunately hidden from view and is a bit of a shame in the grander scheme of natural beauty but imagine, from a golfer's point of view, how exhilarating it would be to play on greens that kiss the Bali ocean.
The third major temple I visited was the Taman Ayun Temple, a royal temple in Mengwi but I will save that for another day.
Fellow wanderlusters, Bali will change your life.