Uluwatu temple is located at the most southern point of Bali, situated in western Pecatu Village, about 30 km from Denpasar city. Like all temples in Bali, his temple is very unique because it is located on the edge of a ravine, looking out into the Indian Ocean.
Uluwatu temple is the palace of ” Ida Sang Hyang Whidi Wasa” in His manifestation as Dewa Rudra or Sang Hyang Maha Jaya.
Uluwatu temple was built in the ten century AD by Mpu Kuturan, when the then king, Masula Masuli held supreme power in Bali, according to usana bali manuscripts written in that period.
Uluwatu Temple is a Hindu temple set on the cliff bank in south part of Bali Peninsula. It is one of Sad Kahyangan Temple in Bali (six big groups of Bali Temples), located in Pecatu Village, Sub district of South Kuta, and Badung Regency or about 30 Km southerly part of Denpasar town.
It is situated on the coral reef sordid to sea about 80 meters above the sea level. It is featured by a small dry forest which is mostly called by Alas Kekeran (interdict forest) which is belong to the temple and dwelt by a lot of monkeys and other animal.
Name of Uluwatu was come from the word Ulu meaning the head and Watu meaning stone. Therefore Uluwatu Temple mean the temple built in tip of coral reef.
In the right and left of temple building or Pelinggih Ida Bagus Ratu Jurit located in complex of Uluwatu Temple, there are two stone mangers that look like a boat. When both of it are united, hence it’s look similar to sarcophagus, the famous stone from megalithic era culture.
There is archaeology omission coming from 16 centuries in firm of arch or winged entrance gate. Winged entrance gate is one of the scarce archaeology omissions. Winged entrance gate that is existing in Uluwatu Temple (a period of its making) can be compared with the same one located in mosque complex in Sendangduwur Village, Lamongan, East Java.
The period of its making is relevant with the year Candrasengkala found at this inscription. Candrasengkala founded in the mosque is written by the wording Gunaning Salira Tirta Hayu meaning year 1483 Saka or 1561 Masehi.
If the sarcophagus that existing in Dalem Jurit complex area represents the artifact, hence Uluwatu Temple represents the place sanctified since era of megalithic culture (About 500 S.M). In papyrus of Usana Bali mentioned that Mpu Kuturan (The Hindu Priest who spread out the Hinduism in Bali) had built a lot of temple in this island and one of them Uluwatu Temple.
In papyrus of Dwijendra Tatwa has been elaborated that Mpu Kuturan had visited this temple twice those are:
- The first visit when he conducts the Tirtha Yatra (the journey to visit the holy places). His heart had jolted and heard a soul whisper that place good for worshiping God when arrive in Uluwatu. On that time, he chose this place as a place for Ngeluwur (re of soul /dead leave without body to return to the origin/moksa).
Pursuant to the consideration then he set mind to build the Parhayangan or extend the building of Uluwatu Temple which there have previously. When Mpu Kuturan extend the building of Uluwatu Temple, he build hostel as residence and then the ex- the hostel building is used by the local people as a shrine named the Gong Hill Temple (Pura Bukit Gong).
The building of Parhyangan in Uluwatu Temple is done by Mpu Kuturan in the early 16 century after he lifted to become the Purohita (priest of king adviser) from king of Dalem Waturenggong commander in the year 1460-1552 .
- Mpu Kuturan on his second visit has reached the nature Moksa. OnTuesday of Kliwon Medangsya (Balinese Calendar), it was witnessed by a fisherman, his name Ki Pasek Nambangan, he looked the flash with very bright light step into the space called Ngeluwur.
Implicit at papyrus Padma Bhuwana that Uluwatu Temple draw in the direction that is located in Southwest functioning to worship the Rudra God, one of the god in nine god (Dewata Nawa Sanga). Rudra God is the Deity Siwa as Pemralina or return to provenance.
In this papyrus also mention that Uluwatu Temple is the Kahyangan World worshiped by entire Hindu people. Since this area is opened for public, it is visited by many people from all over the world because it has beautiful panorama with spectacular sunset and stunning view of Indian Ocean and deep the cliff bank. It is the perfect to visit in Bali.
Other side of above story, one phenomenon is certain during Balinese history that was during the disintegration of period of Balinese kingdom ca. 16th century to 17th century many small kingdoms tried hard to build their identification to at least same as Klungkung.
The foremost one was the temples. Each kingdom would build one sea temple, one city temple, and one mountain temple. There are 8 kingdoms still alive in Bali, when Indonesia announced the declaration of Independence in 1945. Each of this kingdom had their own 3 main temples at the level of smaller social unit such as ” Desa ” another 3 temples are also built.
Uluwatu is belong to Badung kingdom, and until now the owner is one of the palace heirs of Jero Kuta.
In Badung was divided into 2 kingdoms during 17th century, one the bigger is Mengwi kingdom covered almost bigger part of Badung current regency and part of Tabanan regency, even Blambangan regency in east Java which is now Banyuwangi kingdom.
Uluwatu was most probably built by Mengwi kingdom as sea temple, at the same time as Ulun Danu as mountain temple. The development of the kingdom later obliged Mengwi kingdom to give Uluwatu temple to Badung kingdom, and Ulun Danu to Tabanan kingdom.
Shortly after 1634 AD Mengwi again built other 2 temple, one is Tanah Lot as sea temple, and other is Pucak Mangu temple in Pelaga area as mountain temple.
Today is not only the area of Badung and municipality of Denpasar feel that Uluwatu is their temple or as Bali main temple ( Bali “Sad Kahyangan” ) but other areas of Bali which were different kingdom in the past.
The main holder of the temple who daily look after it, and bear the responsibility of the temple maintenance and ceremony is one of the king family in Denpasar, under the regency of Badung.