The grounds around the Uluwatu Cliffside Temple are extensive. From the parking lot we had a leisurely half hour walk to where the temple perches on the edge of a cliff overlooking the sea. Most of that walk takes place along a wide, brickwork walkway filled with little steps up and down. The walkway runs along the top edge of a cliff. A nice, thick wall runs along the outside of the walkway.
The walkway curls off to the right as well, but we didn’t bother to go that direction. It just goes to show the area is huge and scenic.
This was yet another temple we could not go into. In this case, people who came before us ruined it. Specifically, some rock group borrowed the temple proper to film a music video. They got proper permission and all, but then the video featured a lot of inappropriate behavior. It angered a lot of religious people. Now only the specially invited can get in. Seems a bit misdirected to me, but I could hardly argue.
I went up and peeked through the bars, then was ready for the leisurely stroll back. Silly me. We were only just getting started.
We continued further along the coast, always keeping the water to our right. I turned back and took this picture after we left the main temple. There were quite a few outbuildings, and the way tended to branch out with wider walkways and plazas.
Most of the retaining walls looked like the one below. If you look closely you can see the thatched roof of the main temple in miniature.
We came to an amphitheater where sacred stories are recounted in various artistic forms. It should be noted that this temple is considered particularly sacred as it was guilt as one of four intended to protect all of Bali.
Behind the temple was a little sheltered alcove. And there we encountered the monkeys.
We’d been warned before getting out of the bus that of all the places we visited, this would be the most problematic when it came to the little beasties. They are considered ill mannered to say the least. We were told NOT to wear our glasses no matter how much we felt we needed them unless we had a backup pair handy because we would loose them for sure. We were also warned to keep bottles of water hidden in our backpacks.
While in one of the larger plazas the warnings bore fruit. A local woman wearing glasses had them plucked right off her head. She was standing barely twenty feet from me. I watched through my camera lens because I was blind as a bat without my glasses, which I kept in my pocket.
The culprit was pretty canny about the whole thing. He sat on a wall, looking suspicious for quite a while. He kept glancing at people, then glancing quickly away. Once he’d snatched the glasses he ran up the path into the woods and proceeded to maul them.
One of the grounds keepers had to be called. Apparently they weren’t just sunglasses. The were prescription sunglasses. Eventually she did get them back, but they were definitely worse for the wear.
The woods all around were littered with things the monkeys had stolen then abandoned.
As to the ones in the alcove, they had made themselves very much at home, and didn’t particularly care for our intrusion.
The grounds could be quite steep and rocky, but most of the time the walk was rather easy. There were plenty of other people around. So many that a time or two strangers stepped in to take pictures as I was lining up the same shots.
The biggest difference between those taking pictures with cell phones and those doing it with DSLR cameras is that the former rush forward and the latter step back. For those of us with wide angle lenses, the cell phones are a pain.
All in all it was a good hike. I recommend it. Just don’t wear your glasses or try to drink from a water bottle.