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Uluwatu; one of the staple temple in Bali’s spiritual pillar, positioned on the edge of a deep cliff, facing the Indian ocean that offers the best panorama and sunset views, perched high atop a 70-meter cliff, is renowned for its majestic location.
The name Uluwatu is derived from two Balinese word’s Ulu (high place or end) and Watu (stone), which makes it a temple made from stone and standing on the highland or end of the deep cliff.
Balinese believe that the expansion of the temple took place in the 11th century by a Javanese sage, Empu Kuturan, and some claim that the temple was built in 1546 AD by a Hindu monk, Dang Hyang Nirartha, from the Daha Kingdom in East Java, as there is no stone inscription depicting the history of Uluwatu temple.
However, innumerable archaeological evidences that are found at Uluwatu Temple prove the temple to be of megalithic provenance, dating back to the 10th century.
The scrumptious temple has two entrances, one from the South and another from the north, accompanied by a small forest where hundreds of monkeys dwell, who are believed to guard the temple from evil forces.
According to Balinese Hindus the three-dominant deity Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva become one here, that made this sacred temple a place to worship Shiva Rudra.
The Trimurti concept in Bali is said to be unified by the head of Hindu priest, Empu Kuturan, who also established several other paramount temples in Bali including Sakenan temple in Denpasar.
Uluwatu has two megalithic stone in the temple area, and when these stones are merged, it tends to look like a sarcophagus (megalithic coffin). This area was used as a sacred place by the Balinese since about 500 BC.
Apart from direct view overlooking the beautiful Indian ocean, the barbecue seafood dinner, traditionally designed gateways and ancient scriptures, the Kecak (also known as Ramayana Monkey Chant) dance performance is one of the primary cultural and tourist’s allurements of Uluwatu temple.
The Indonesian Ramayana performed in the temple is a Sri Lankan version, penned by Rishi Kamban in Tamil, as ‘Ramavtaram’.
The Bala Kanda and Ayodhya Kanda are same in the Indonesian version, with some key diversification in the latter portion.
In Indian version of Ramayana, written by Rishi Valmiki which is said to be the original Ramayana, as he was the one who sheltered Goddess Sita along with her two divine sons Luva and Kusha when Lord Rama abandoned her.
The character of Goddess Sita portrayed by Rishi Valmiki in his version was of a beautiful and soft woman, whereas, in Indonesian version, Sita is depicted as a strong, powerful and fearsome warrior, who fought with Asuras (demon’s) in Sri Lanka herself, for her freedom from Ravana and his wives.