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Photographer's Note

One day while on Bali in 1976 I decided to go to Tanah Lot, a Hindu temple on an islet that can be reached on foot at low tide. It is one of the most famous sights on Bali and has been a pilgrimage site since the 16th century. I don't know how many Hindu pilgrims go there these days, but Tanah Lot certainly receives a lot of tourists.

For me, going to Tanah Lot from the island capital Denpasar involved three separate rides with local mini busses, 'bemo'. For the last leg of the trip I had to wait at a crossroads for a long time until a bemo turned up. It was already totally packed, but I somehow managed to find a tiny standing room among people, chickens and a giant turtle (alive).

Searching my diary for details about my visit I found that no admission fee was required (there is one now), but visitors were asked to sign a guestbook and to pay a donation for the upkeep of the temple. Seeing the exorbitant sums purportedly donated by some tourists (several times more than any price for a museum ticket) I strongly suspected the staff to have written those figures themselves to convince people to be generous.

My diary doesn't mention any souvenir shops or snack bars (which doesn't mean that there weren't any), but lots of children wanted to sell postcards, homemade bracelets etc.

As you can see in my photo, which I scanned from a Kodachrome slide, there were some other visitors. If you look at the WS, which I borrowed from the internet, you will get an idea of the growth of tourism on Bali between 1976 and recent years.

What struck me when looking at that photo is that the islet has completely changed since my visit. According to Wikipedia the rock had been so eroded by the sea that the Indonesian government in the 1980's hired a Japanese company (paid by a Japanese government loan) to restore the temple and the entire rock. Today more than one third of the rock is artificial, as is clearly seen in the WS photo.

And if you join the yellow Google man at the map coordinates -8.62046 115.08697 you will see more of the development of the tourist industry. Just click at Map: view in the box to the right.

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Additional Photos by Gert Holmertz (holmertz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 10957 W: 536 N: 21230] (92782)
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