Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Searching for Tanjung Mebelu, part 1


The temple of Uluwatu in Jimbaran is not to be missed. Founded in the 10th century, the Pura Luhur Uluwatu is one of Bali's eight kayangan jagat or directional temples' and guards Bali from evil spirits from the southwest.

I have been there numerous times. After all, it is the one famous place that is nearest to the place where I lived in Bali in the early 90s and most convenient to visit when we had guests to show around.

As the pictures below attest, Uluwatu deserves is reputation as one of two most picturesque sunset temples of Bali, the other being Pura Tanah Lot.

views inside the Uluwatu temple complex

bukit Uluwatu
Canon PowerShot S40, 3.2s, f/8, 7.1mm

uluwatu sunset
Canon PowerShot S40, 1/500s, f/4, 14.7mm

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 25s, f/29, 25mm, ISO 100,

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 25s, f/11, 28mm, ISO 100

Canon EOS 350D Digital, 6s, f/22, 18mm, ISO 100, -1/3 EV

the search for Tanjung Mebelu

Having frequented Uluwatu, I’ve always been curious in finding another promontory that could offer a different view of the temple. I checked the map. There are several possibilities north of the temple, namely the beaches of Suluban, Padang-Padang and Labuan Sait. Problem was these are at sea level and Uluwatu is situated way up in the cliff. Sigting it against the sky might be a problem. Instead, one spot seemed attractive. It is a hill directly south of Uluwatu, identified in the map as Tanjung Mebelu.

Now, Tanjung Mebelu is one place practically nobody has heard of. Even in Pecatu, the big village where Uluwatu is, people just gave us a blank stare when we mentioned the name. But as we edged closer to the temple, we finally found someone who was able to give us the direction. Tanjung Mebelu can be reached by taking one of the last concrete lanes at the left side of the highway, about a kilometer before the temple entrance. The road was a private one and is surprisingly wide and smooth. It came out it led directly to an unfinished a hotel development. Under the dying afternoon sun, the large decrepit structure looked eerie.

We parked by the locked gate and followed a foot path towards the edge of the precipice. There was one solitary farmer herding local Balinese cattle. We practically had the place all to ourselves.

From Tanjung Mebelu, the temple of Uluwatu stands proud. Perched on steep limestone cliffs that jut some hundred meters over the ocean, the temple is an acrophobe’s nightmare. The view westward over the is impeded by nothing and the Indian Ocean looks infinite. Up on the open cliff, it would just be you and the deep blue sea. And these are no ordinary peaceful waters. The surf is wild and dangerous, constantly battering the hapless rocky shores.

We got there some 30 minutes before sundown and the wait did not take that long. The views, as can be seen below, are rewarding.

Tanjung Mebulu
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 13s, f/22, 18mm, ISO 100, +1/3 EV

Tanjung Mebulu sunset
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/160s, f/5, 140mm, ISO 100, +4/3 EV

Ulu Watu
Canon EOS 350D Digital, 1/400s, f/5.6, 300mm, ISO 100, -1/3 EV

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