Tirta Empul Temple is located in Tampak Siring village and can be reached by public transport from Ubud. The Temple of Tirta Empul is built around Tampak Siring’s sacred spring.
For over a thousand years, Balinese adorers had been drawn to the Temple of Tirta Empul, where Indra had created its sacred spring and healed it. Tradition continues today nearly unchanged at the temple. The temple and its two bathing places are used by the people for prosperity and good health due to the healing powers of the spring water.
History of the Temple of Tirta Empul
It is a myth described on Usana Bali’s manuscript, which says that the arrogant Balinese King Maya Denawa was a king who did not believe in God and who objected as the God. Then came the punishment for the king.
Bhatara Indra’s warrior came to attack Maya Denawa and thron him away. But Maya Denawa used chemical weapons that poisoned all Bhatara Indra warriors to death.
Bhatara Indra knew this situation when he pitched his pole and sprang water. The water was used to spray dead warriors, and they were alive. So this source of water is supposed to be the source of life and prosperity until now.
It is particularly appropriate to associate this water source with the irrigation system in the area, which provides hundreds of hectares of rice field from Tampaksiring to the Pejeng areas.
The inscription specifically mentions Tirta Empul Temple’s construction in 960 AD when King Chandrabhaya Singha Warmadewa ordered that, already 1042 years ago.
It looks like this place was not interesting to the ancient king, but the first Indonesian President Soekarno built his presidential villas just west of the temple in 1954. Originally a Dutch government residence, the former President Soekarno used it later on during his regular visits to Bali.
As a common temple of Bali, the current temple is divided into three courtyards:
- Pool with 13 fountains, used for the cremation or dead ceremony as holy water.
- Pool with 8 fountains, used as symbolic clearing water (spiritual cleansing), is believed to be contaminated by immaterial dirt when a person is sick.
- Pool with 5 fountains for holy water used people come to pray from outside.
There is also a public bath pool on the first courtyard. Total number of shrines at the Temple of Tirta Empul is now about 30 nits, later added by the people who are in charge of the temple. The ceremony takes place every 210 days and a fixed date is available in the Balinese calendar.