Tanah Lot – A Blissful Coastal Temple in Bali

Bali excels in every category, whether it’s the beautiful bluish blue ocean, the massive Hindu temples, or the sheer untouched virginity of the countryside. Tourists who visit throughout the year have the time of their lives and are relaxed beyond their wildest dreams. Variety is the spice of life, and Bali has a plethora of tourist attractions and getaway locations where one can recharge after months of strenuous work and strain.

It will take many blogs to cover my trip to Bali this June. So I plan to take it slow and introduce you to the place, one attraction at a time.

Tanah Lot Temple

Tanah Lot, also known as Pura Tanah Lot Temple, is a well-known and sacred Hindu temple in Bali. As a popular tourist destination, Bali attracts a large number of enthusiasts and adventure seekers who make it a point to visit this location each year. This holy temple is well-known for its beautiful sunset views and even more soothing cold breezes that flow throughout the beach.  This beautiful temple is situated about 20 kilometres southwest of Kuta in the Beraban town of the Tabanan Regency. This location may be reached in around an hour and a half if you’re travelling from Kuta. It takes around an hour to get there from Bali’s Ubud.

Three temples make up the Tanah Lot complex, which is situated on a massive offshore rock on the beach. The main Tanah Lot temple is one of the three, while the other two serve as a spiritual stand-in when it is closed due to high tide because they are inaccessible. The ‘guardian’ sea snakes that live in the cracks around the Tirta Pabersihan fountain can be seen at low tide by crossing to the base of the rock. It is one of Bali’s main attractions and welcomes everyone, regardless of caste or creed.

Fun and interesting details regarding the history of the Tanah Lot Temple can be found in its legends. It is stated that in the latter half of the 15th century, a high Hindu priest from the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java travelled to Bali to propagate Hinduism and related ideas. He built a shrine to honour the Sea God Varuna, and despite objections from the village leader, he successfully used sea snakes to secure the rock where he meditated. That is how the eponymous temple in Bali, Tanah Lot, got its name, which means “land in the sea.” The priest is said to have gained Nirvana, or enlightenment, at this holy location.

 

The tranquil Tanah Lot temple site was properly protected and repaired thanks to assistance from the Japanese government, despite a serious erosion threat. As a result, the magnificent temple continues to welcome visitors today. On the approach to the temple, you’ll pass by a number of tropical gardens and rest areas where gift shops, art galleries, and sculptures are on show. Traditional drinks and sumptuous  snacks using coconuts are available here.

Pro Tip :

When you see the scene in all its splendour, the Tanah Lot Temple sunset view speaks for itself. In order to avoid the crowds, try to make this sight your final stop for the day and come well before nightfall.

 

close up of pictures

What a memory!

Life’s changes come in all shapes and sizes. Change could be simply organising your cupboards, changing the layout of your living room or change in your career, moving away from home and so on. These are all the changes we go through consciously and with lot of thoughts put in. However as one grows older, change in viewpoint/likings comes silently and you do not realize until confronted on the subject.

I experienced this firsthand few days ago when I decided to show my kids blockbuster movie of the times when I was younger. My kids are big time fans of BTS (the biggest boy band of the world). While they keep listening to their music all the time, my TV time was reduced mostly to Kpop as they hardly let me touch the remote. So this was a good excuse to take control in my hand and reminisce my old times.

Amongst the available options of movies on digital platform , we chose “Raja Hindustani”. I remember the songs of this movie were a rage. There was not a single bus, taxi or restaurants where ‘Pardesi Pardesi’ song was not blaring. The cinemas were house full and Karishma Kapoor was highly praised for her straight hair look and pairing opposite Amir Khan. We had to wait a whole week to finally get tickets and we were quite thrilled to watch it in hall jam packed with people whistling. For me at that time, Raja Hindustani was a paisa wasool movie.

Cut to the present….the movie starts and we see that pretty & rich damsel Karishma along with her two servants/confidants visits Palankhet (an imaginary town) and comes across an illiterate Taxi driver. His antics impress her and she eventually falls for him head over heals. Believe me people, the movie is so cringeworthy in first half that I was afraid to turn my face towards my kids who were equally disgusted. A full grown woman talking and acting like a child was just not at all attractive. Even my eleven year old is more matured than her. There is a scene where Amir khan tries to impress her by putting face powder in abundance and dance and sing….she laughs and he feels humiliated. Obviously one would laugh if you act like joker. But no, in this movie, Karishma kapoor goes and says sorry and they share a passionate kiss. She comes back home all hyped up and bumps into her father who has come to take her back. Ladies and gentleman, she chooses to leave. Okay, fair enough, after all summer flings do happen. Highlight is that this taxi driver only goes to drop them at the airport. No communication between the pair as to why…how ..now what…nothing.

They stop at a midway sort of place where some people are singing and dancing. Here comes our much anticipated song “Pardesi Pardesi jana nahi”. A beautiful girl starts singing and dancing passionately. Clearly dance isn’t her forte. Nonetheless, she sings exactly what the hero wants to convey at this point in time in the movie. Our hero starts singing too and going by the lyrics, he literally curses the heroine that she wont be able to sleep if she goes and will suffer a lot. Another lady with make up from hell, gets up drinks half a litre of alcohol, breaks the bottle and starts dancing absurdly.

The situation is tensed and supremely weird. Hero is sobbing and so is heroine with her goggles on, bottles are breaking and the father of the heroine has no clue whatsoever. He smiles occasionally.

Now I don’t know whether the curses shook the heroine or it was just that ridiculous dance which forces her to go and give our hero a tight hug and put a stop to this madness. At this point the father’s expressions are priceless. The song is finally over and along with it our desire to watch the movie any further.

Experience the song here yourself 😊 : https://youtu.be/i9lB-am_hyY

Little did I sensed that my memory was about an experience and not a movie per se. If this movie was to be released now, it would have met the same fate of Radhe. With time my likings and interests have changed too. Still, I will keep this song in my happy memories. The melody is no doubt super. I feel nostalgic listening to old songs, but my taste has changed surely. Me and my kids had a hearty laugh talking about the movie and proceeded to watch new release of a kpop group.


Continue reading “What a memory!”

One Summer Day

Human being is fond of turning back from the present to the past again and again. Nothing is more pleasant to him than memories of his childhood. Childhood is free from worries and has infinite capacity of enjoyment. We cannot remember everything that happened in childhood, but certain events are stored in our sub-conscious mind. I grew up in independent house. We had Mango & Guava Trees in our garden. There was also a small and beautiful tree of Plumeria. Branches of this tree are not very strong; regardless of that we used to climb on it as it gave the best view of the road. It was kind of a ritual for me and my brother to sit on the out wall of our house in the afternoon. The moment mom and grand ma would go to sleep in the afternoon; me and my brother would slip out and play. We were as imaginative, inquisitive and adventurous as any other child would be at that age. There wasn’t a single person whom we didn’t find interesting enough in our colony. ‘I am bored’ was yet to be featured in our dictionary.

An old lady used to come to our house in the late afternoon to clean the utensils. We called her ‘Bai Ji’.  She was very old and her legs were inverted. She wore thick silver anklets, probably her only possession. There was a small water tank with tap and an elevated patio under the mango tree for washing purpose. My brother and I would see her wash dishes with keen interest. We were pretty sure a genie would appear one day as she scrubbed them so clean. Many times we had discussed how amazing it would be and what should be our three wishes!! She was our confidant as well as informer. One day, while cleaning the dishes, she told us that Mr Sharma, the old man from the corner house has a peculiar habit. He collects stones. “Is It?, But what would he do with the stone collection?”, my brother asked. She said, “ Lagta hai usko patthar se sona banana aata hai”. She was obviously joking. The information was not taken lightly and we took it as a mission to find out whether Mr Sharma is a ‘stone picker’ or not!

Next day, when the streets were deserted and all front doors were closed for afternoon siesta, both of us went up to his house. Undecided we stood on the front steps for a while. The door in the house was firmly shut. “He is not in”, my brother said. “Let’s cycle around the colony to catch him in action”, he decided. We peddled off on our little bicycles for a quick round. After about half an hour out in that sultry afternoon, we came back without the thrill we were looking for. Disheartened and exhausted, we told our little adventure to Bai Ji.  She smiled but kept on scouring the dishes. Suddenly there was soft thud on the road. All three of us peeped from behind the tree. Mr Sharma was on the road.  Our excitement was sky high. He had a stone in his hand and was trying to scare a cow on the street.  He kept on making sounds and scare the poor cow but would not throw the stone at it. The cow started moving and so did he. Unable to contain our curiosity, both of us followed him too. Bai Ji, despite of her short height and declining years, dangled from the wall. Mr Sharma kept on his antics till his house came. After standing there for a while, he turned towards his home. The stone was in his hands. Our little hearts were beating hundred times a minute. He was still standing facing the street. He raised his hand and threw the stone, but in his house!!

“He is a stone-picker, he is a stone-picker”, we shouted while running towards home. Bai Ji quickly ducked behind the wall.

How to reach Goa in 10 simple steps

Ladies and gentleman, brace yourselves as you are about to read the ultimate guide to reach Goa from Kolkata in ten easy steps, exclusively from the horse’s mouth.

Step 1. – Book yourself on a one stop flight via Mumbai to Goa. Take as much luggage as possible. Trust me, taking extra luggage has a lot to do in making your travel story successful.

Step 2. – As soon as your plane touches Mumbai, shove, push & stomp on people’s feet to get ahead in the queue to get down. Ignore the air-hostess’s plea to remain seated.I repeat, get down of the aircraft as soon as possible, as if it was about to explode. If you remain in the flight for 5 more minutes, you will totally realize that this same flight can take you to your destination in another hour.

Step 3.- You may plan your travel with your close friends and ask them to meet you at Mumbai airport, who by chance will be travelling from Kolkata itself, but of course by a different airline. Make sure your flights don’t touch the same terminals. Taking an over expensive cab just to get to Terminal 2 to be together with your friend will kick start your journey to Goa.

Step 4. – Book your tickets on a train to Goa from Mumbai. There’s a train at 11 30 AM, which goes through a picturesque landscape. SKIP THAT. You don’t want to see any other beauty as you are going to GOA. There is enough scenic beauty planned in your 7 days trip.

Step 5. – Take the one at 3 PM. This way, it will be dark soon and you will have nothing else to do besides talking face to face with your family as there will be no mobile network. Seldom comes a time in today’s hectic schedule, when we all sit together and talk heart to heart.

Step 6.- Indian train journey can not be complete without a tussle between you and the Manglorian uncle, for he wants his bags to be comfortably placed first, for he wants the window seat, for he is OLD. Forget all the chivalry and push all of your 36 bags under the tier.

Step 7. – Thank yourself for creating miracle – your babies. The train journey is never complete till one of kids either steps on some uncle’s hand, falls down from the berth or goes to the loo no less than 100 times. Keep them on sugar rush throughout the journey. They should play, run around and scream till the time half of the compartment gets migraine attack. Some old lady might advice you to make them sleep. Ignore her.

Step 8. – Did I tell you that this train does not have pantry car!! Lock this in specially if you travelling with kids. You don’t want them to have decent meals everyday. Let them enjoy Vada Paav once for god’s sake.

Step 9. – The train reaches Goa at around 2: 30 AM. There will be no coach attendant at that time, so queue in your luggage at the gate. You never know when the train will align at the platform. Make your sleepy kids sit on the luggage. Refer to point no 1 which is to carry extra luggage. You can make them lie on them. 🙂

Step 10. – When you finally reach Margaon station after a 12 hour journey, look for the way out. Don’t go too far. There is a foot bridge towards the taxi stand. There’s an escalator too but that isn’t operational till 6 in the morning. Everyone travelling, pick three to four bags each, weighing according to your caliber and pull yourself up one step at a time. Its fun trust me. When you get down on the other side, you will realize that you are the back side of the taxi stand!!  See I told you its fun. Come on, now pull all your luggage around half a kilometer to get to your cab. Once you do find your cab, you will spot the taxi driver looking desperately for you facing towards exit of the station, which of course you would had come out of, if you would had decided to walk down further on the platform and not take the bridge. But, if you would had done that, would there be any story left with you to tell your grand kids.

No journey is long enough till the time you are in good company. So my friends, do try this amazing travel plan tailor made for the adventurous soul inside each one of us.