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Diving in Nusa Lembongan: Bali's Underwater Buddha Garden

Would you like to discover a secret underwater temple garden? Well, if you head to this gorgeous part of Bali, you’re sure in for a big surprise…

Sunken statues are waiting to be explored off the coast of Nusa Lembongan off the Indonesian Island of Bali. Divers can swim up to 30 metres (98 feet) below the surface to experience some breathtaking ruins that reside underwater. But there’s an interesting story to how these art pieces came to be submerged.

The underwater sculptures at Nusa Lembongan were purposefully submerged © Culture Trip

Underwater Buddhas: Ancient ruins or something else?

Not everything is as it seems when you come across these wondrous sculptures. Rather than being an ancient religious site, the submerged garden is actually part of an art project built in 2005. Created to highlight the environmental threat to marine life, this temple garden of statues is giving an opportunity for new life to develop under the sea in a conservation project that is as beautiful as it is effective. Made primarily of natural stone carved locally, the beautiful works of art were submerged in order to address concerns surrounding the decline in marine life.

The environmental benefits of having the Underwater Buddhas

Regardless of its authenticity as ancient ruins, the Underwater Buddhas are an incredible place to explore. But their functionality for the environment is just as important, and they serve a very specific task here. Incredible biodiversity thrives in and around the sunken statues and this attracts more life to it. The end result is an area that blossoms, becoming a very good bedding ground for coral growth.

Diving in Nusa Lembongan is renowned by scuba divers and snorkelers and you’ll certainly see some surprises when you explore what’s down below. The Buddha statues in the underwater temple garden allows for fresh, new life to sprout up from its ruins. It’s a wonderful sight that you won’t want to miss!