Diving with the Divine: Meet Bali’s Underwater Buddha

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Bali underwater Buddha diving

Since your first step in Bali, you have felt strong influence of religious belief that intertwine into every corner of life in this island. The Balinese belief in Hindu Dharma, a blend of Shivaism and Buddhism make up the culture, and the people strongly hold their faith on it. Balinese religion has passed the test: it remain unswayed despite the flood of modern tourism which has gradually been taking over the southern part of the island.

Hundred of temples are build, and yet they are still filled with followers and pilgrims. Some of the historical temples are open for public, allowing tourists to gain religious cultural insight. Some are located high in the mountain, and some are just the side of the beach. But have you seen a temple built deep under the surface?

Mythically Serene Underwater Temple

As odd as it may sounds, underwater temple does exists. Contrary to what you might think, this is not a drowned temple. The site is totally man made. Statues of Buddha, Ganesha, and other God and Goddesses majestically stands on the sea floor, resting composedly amidst the currents and roaming aquatic creatures. Stupas similar to Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world, lines up in the outer circle, acting as the fence. The statues strikes up various position—some of them are sitting in lotus position, one of them lies on the side, and most are standing graciously.

Seeing these inert figures among beneath the world of blue definitely sends chilling vibes to your spine. It’s so magical and weird at the same time, giving you a sense of entering entirely different realm. It’s different to see moss creeping at the bodies, and corals sprouts just from the neck should be. The fishes casually darting around the sites, sometimes snuggling around the statue’s curves, making the sites appears even more enchanting.

Where You Can Find It

Surely, this site offers rare offbeat experience for adventurer divers. Located in Pemuteran, a bay between Nusa Lembongan and Nusa Ceningan, the underwater Buddha garden is quite hidden that not so many locals have the information about it. It takes 3 hours drive from Denpasar to Nusa Lembongan, before crossing the Lembongan to Cenengan by bridge. Then, you should take a boat to the Cenengan Channel, and dive right to the temple sites. Quite a journey, eh?

But What’s Is This Mysterious Ruins, Actually?

A ruin of statues in the bottom of the sea can quickly be interpreted as long lost temples. Some internet pictures are even responsible for misleading guidance, stating Pemuteran Temple Garden as an ancient lost temple that was just discovered.

Well, apparently the site was funded by AUSAID in 2015 to support a local projects. Back in the year, a temple reconstruction took place in Pemuteran, and people were throwing away unused stones and statues to the sea. Feeling concerned, a bunch of local dive centers made use of the “waste” and build what we know today as Pemuteran’s underwater temple garden.

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