Uluwatu Temple is located on the southwest tip of the island of Bali, in the village of Pecatu, Kuta South District. The sea temple is one of nine directional temples (kayangan jagat) protecting the island from evil spirits. The temple was built in the 11th century by the emperor, Empu Kuturan, although some accounts hold that the temple existed long before and that the emperor merely expanded it. “Ulu” means head, and “Watu” means rock; and the name of the temple can be interpreted to mean the temple at the “head of the rock”. This is an appropriate title since Uluwatu Temple is perched on top of a steep cliff, roughly 200 feet above the crashing waves of the Indian Ocean.
Uluwatu Temple provides an excellent view of the ocean and a colourful sunset. However, the nightly fire dance performances and “kecak” are probably the most compelling aspects of the temple. “Kecak” is derived from an ancient Balinese ritual and it is a trance induced dance driven by rhythmic chanting. No musical instruments accompany the ritual. The ceremony starts at sunset and ends in a dazzling fire display.