Lombok Island, with its natural beauty that rivals the world renowned island of Bali, is home to a number of intriguing tourist attractions, such as Pura Batu Bolong Temple. Lombok’s capital city is bustling Mataram, and not far away is the Senggigi, the island’s center for international tourism. The most popular attraction here is Senggigi Beach, which looks very mysterious with its black rocks on white sand. On one of its hole-ridden black rocks stands Pura Batu Bolong, which in English means “rock with a hole”.
When visiting Lombok, it doesn’t make sense not to visit Senggigi Beach, and when visiting Senggigi Beach, it is a must to visit Pura Batu Bolong, which is found very near the beach. Lombok is one of the islands in the Lesser Sunda chain of islands found in the West Nusa Terraga Province in Indonesia. The nearby island of Bali is in Central Java, although these two paradise islands are only 45 km apart, separated by the Lombok Strait. These two islands have many similarities – white sand beaches, colorful coral reefs, breathtaking waterfalls, and ancient temples. Not surprisingly, Bali also has a temple built on top of a picturesque volcanic land formation jutting out of the sea: Bali’s counterpart of Pura Batu Bolong is called Pura Tanah Lot. Ancient Balinese migrated to Lombok and they are without a doubt the builders of this temple on a rock with a hole, as well as all other Hindu structures in Lombok.
Batu Bolong and Tanah Lot are both Hindu temples, since Indonesia was once a Hindu-Buddhist country. Islam arrived in the 17th Century and today Indonesia is known as the largest Muslim nation in the world. The island of Bali is now the only remaining Hindu province. Pura Batu Bolong is oriented towards the sacred Gunung Agung mountain in Bali. This important Bali mountain is visible from here during clear weather.
The few remaining Hindus in Lombok find it very special and sacred to pray in Pura Batu Bolong. The sea breeze hitting the hole on the rock creates a magical sound as though spirits are making their presence felt. The atmosphere within and surrounding the temple is very spiritual and serene. Needless to say, non-Hindu visitors do not come here to pray. And yet the place is so tranquil that one cannot help but meditate about the beauty of nature. It is also important for tourists to come with a camera since the place is so picturesque. The sunsets are simply amazing. Locals regularly come here to snack or simply cool off by the beach.
Pura Batu Bolong is not just a temple but a temple complex that includes two pagodas, lodging areas, hotels, resorts, souvenir shop, restaurants and a parking area. The first pagoda conveniently stands underneath a shady tree, while the second is the one on top of a rock with a hole. There are also statues scattered on the rocks and constantly visited by curious crabs.
Pura Batu Bolong is located about 12 km from the capital city of Mataram. Although the temple is a way off, it is easy to reach since all taxis and bemos (minivans) know the place. Senggigi is the most happening tourist hub in Lombok. Upon entering the temple, visitors should wear a sarong to cover the shoulders and knees. This is a common practice that all foreign visitors should keep in mind when visiting any temple in Indonesia.