On a 70-metre rocky cliff overlooking the ocean in the village of Pecatu, stands Pura Luhur Uluwatu (ulu = peak, watu = rock), one of the Sad Kahyangan sanctuaries, the six principal religious sites of the island. It is said that the temple was conceived by Mpu Kuturan, a wiseman from Java in the XI Century, and that Dhang Hyang Dwijendra was the architect that designed it and to whom a statue is dedicated inside the complex. Gates carved in the Balinese style and human statues with elephant heads greet visitors at the two entrances of this ancient temple dedicated to Siva Rudra and dating back to the X Century which, over time, has been restored a number of times to preserve its history and its unique location. And it’s exactly the chance to enjoy the breathtaking view that remains one of the main reasons that makes it so worth it to arrive at the top, following a trail that skirts the cliff, especially during the golden hour which illumines sunset with remarkable colours. An amphitheatre adjacent to the temple is one of the most enthralling places in Bali to take in a performance of the traditional Kekac dance, held daily. Unfortunately, it is not possible to visit the entire complex, there are areas dedicated to prayer with exclusive access for those of the Hindu faith. On the ground, offerings are left for the gods (canang), tiny boxes containing herbs, flowers, food and money. Be careful not to step on these! Walking through the park that surrounds the temple among enchanting views, it is best to hold on tight to cameras and personal objects, close your backpacks and bags and, if possible, do not wear glasses. There are disrespectful monkeys which protect the temple from evil influences, but who enjoy stealing from unsuspecting visitors.
Stephan Kotas is a Czechoslovakian photographer who chose Bali as a home where he could do what he loves - help the past live again in vintage portraits using the old-fashioned photographic developing technique of "tintype".