On the rocky coastline with its enchanting view overlooking the Indian Ocean, rises a majestic Hindu temple which bears a curious legend passed down over the ages to today. Pura Rambut Siwi can be found in the village of Yeh Embang Kangin in the district of Mendoyo and is known as “the temple grown from hair”. Towards the mid-XVI Century, a Javanese Hindu priest named Dang Hyang Nirartha stopped to pray in this temple during his pilgrimage. As he was intent on praying, the walls began to tremble, then collapse. The caretaker, fearful of being blamed for the tragedy, desperately implored Nirartha to rebuild the complex as it was before. The priest gave the caretaker a tuft of hair to plant from which the temple grew back to its original splendour. Another local story narrates that the temple is one of the water temples (pura segara) built to keep the forces of the ocean away from land. It is bejewelled by scenes from the ancient Javanese poem Arjuna Wiwaha etched in bas reliefs among the red brick walls, while a sculpture of Rangda, the queen of demons in Balinese mythology, guards the entrance in front of the ocean. There is also a sacred well that flows from one of the stone temples along the beach in which to purify oneself. Locals volunteer to carry out the daily maintenance of the temple, an important gesture, especially during the crowded religious holidays. From the immense terraced rice paddies to the black sand beaches, from the ocean to havens of peace where one can meditate accompanied by the restful sound of the ocean, from the mountains to the fragrant frangipani and cempaka, the landscape surrounding the temple is a spectacle for the eyes and the soul.
Thousands of religious pilgrims, visitors and photographers crowd the area of the legendary Tanah Lot, the Hindu temple which floats over the sea, built on a rocky island which can only be reached at low tide.
Here, rests a magnificent statue of Garuda Wisnu Kencana, national emblem of Indonesia and, with a height of over 120 metres, one of the tallest monumental statues in the world.
The Melasti Ceremony is the largest Hindu purification ritual.