Photo: Spectacular setting.

Peguyangan Waterfall

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Mata Air Guyangan (Guyangan Spring), popularly known as Peguyangan Waterfall flows into the sea from the base of a steep limestone cliff on the southern coast of Nusa Penida.

We would be hard pressed to call it a waterfall as during dry season when we visited it was barely a trickle so if you are expecting a dramatic cascade be prepared to be underwhelmed, however a holy shine, Pura Segara Kidul dedicated to the “Tri Murti”, the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva as well as to the mystical Queen of the Southern Ocean, Nyi Roro Kidul and the pools of aquamarine spring waters set a spectacular scene against the crashing waves and make the somewhat challenging climb down worth the effort. As this is considered a holy site by the Balinese, visitors are required to wear a sarong and sash which can be hired for 10,000 rupiah if you haven’t bought one. Menstruating women are asked not to enter.

At Pura Segara Kidul. Photo taken in or around Peguyangan Waterfall, Nusa Penida, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

At Pura Segara Kidul. Photo: Sally Arnold

If you have visited Kelingking you will find this a mere doddle, and if not, it’s good training as it’s allegedly more than 700 steep ladder-like steps to the bottom of the 150 metre drop. The blue painted stairway is a combination of metal, wooden and cement paths and ladders, at times on top of older rusting or broken versions of the same which doesn’t really inspire confidence in the engineering or safety of the structure, and is definitely not for the fainthearted—leave kids and clumsy or less abled folk at the top.

Some sections are very steep and narrow, but the stunning coastal views of the surf breaking onto the jagged coastline make a fine distraction. You will pass one or two rocks and trees dressed in traditional black and white poleng cloth shaded by temple umbrellas and adorned with offerings, a reminder of Balinese Hinduism’s connection to earlier animist beliefs.

The setting is far more impressive than the falls. Photo taken in or around Peguyangan Waterfall, Nusa Penida, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

The setting is far more impressive than the falls. Photo: Sally Arnold

As you descend, a large ugly blue metal water tank comes into view sitting rather incongruously on the natural slope, collecting the spring water to be pumped to the top. Once you reach the tank, a stream of water covers the ledge gushing into the sea. The flow was not too strong when we visited, but we could imagine in the wet season it may have a little more pressure, hence the reason for the somewhat flimsy safety barrier at the cliff edge. You’ll get your feet wet as you cross to the main part of the temple, be careful as its quite slippery underfoot in sections.

Three fierce looking gargoyles dressed in black, white and red (the colours of the holy Hindu trinity) spew spring water to the right of the entrance gates, an area for holy ablutions, and once though the split doorway, various cloth-covered shrines, flags and umbrellas dot the cliff face around the crystal-clear blue-tinged spring-fed pools of “Tirta”—holy water. The main central shrine, features a green-clad statue of the Goddess shaded by multi-tiered green umbrellas. Nyi Roro Kidul is venerated all along the southern coast of Indonesia, and many legends of her power exist. A hotel room in Pelebuhan Ratu near Cimaja is reserved especially for her, and special ceremonies are performed on Parangtritis Beach near Yogyakarta to placate this sometimes demanding and powerful goddess who has a penchant for the colour green and good-looking young men who make the grave error of wearing that hue in the southern ocean.

Don’t let that spring water go to waste. Photo taken in or around Peguyangan Waterfall, Nusa Penida, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Don’t let that spring water go to waste. Photo: Sally Arnold

Signage in English requests that visitors don’t bathe in the springs near the shrines, but a pool in the cliff face further down the embankment is a designated bathing place. The path down is steep and slippery, covered with flowing water and too close to the crashing waves for our liking, so we didn’t venture down. It would be customary to bathe wearing your sarong in this holy area, but there is no information nor anyone to let visitors know this and most tourist were in swimming costume the day we visited. If you do decide to take a dip, watch the tides and keep an eye out for rouge large waves, as it’s not unheard of to be swept off the rocks.

The walk down to Pura Segara Kidul takes around 20 minutes and unless you’re planning a swim, you will only spend around ten minutes at the seaside temple to take a few snaps and admire the seascape. You could combine a trip to Peguyangan Waterfall with the nearby clifftop viewpoints, Manta Point to the south, and to the northwest, Saren and Banah cliffpoints and between the two latter viewpoints, climb down to Tembeling for a swim in another pristine spring pool. But not these all require some backtracking along rough roads.

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Peguyangan Waterfall
South coast of Nusa Penida

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