Tirta Empul Temple, Holy Spring for Self-Purification

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Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul Temple at Tampaksiring, Gianyar (Image: GH Darmawan)

FOR centuries, Hindu communities in Bali believe the springs that flow to the pond of Tirta Empul Temple has healing properties. Nowadays, this belief continues where many Balinese people bathe and pray in this holy water to ask for blessing and purification.

Tirta Empul Temple established near a spring in 962 AD by King Sri Candrabhayasingha Warmadewa (from the tenth to the fourteenth century) belonging to the Warmadewa dynasty.

Etymologically, the name of the temple is derived from a spring called Tirta Empul. The spring comes from the Pakerisan River. Space of the temple is divided into three parts; Jaba Sisi (outermost courtyard), Jaba Tengah (middle courtyard) and Jeroan (innermost courtyard). Jaba Tengah consists of two ponds with 30 fountains which are given the following names: Purification, and Sudamala and Poisoning Shower.

According to mythology, it is said that King Mayadenawa was a magic king, but had an evil nature and thought he was a god. He acted arbitrarily and did not allow the people to hold religious ceremonies to ask for salvation from the gods.

The deed was then known by the gods, so Lord Indra led the gods to attack Mayadenawa. In the battle, Mayadenawa lost and fled to the north of Tampaksiring village. To get rid of the trails, Mayadenawa walked by tilting his feet into the middle of the forest. Thanks to his supernatural powers, he created a poisoned spring which resulted in the army of Lord Indra who chased him to death as a result of drinking the water.

After seeing the incident, Lord Indra immediately stuck his spear and “water came out of the ground” (Tirta Empul). This holy water is then used to sprinkle the gods so that not too long can live again as ever before.

The forest used by Mayadenawa to escape, with his tilted foot position now becomes the Tampaksiring tourist area.

Today, many people do self-purification in this holy shower. On a full moon day, Banyupinaruh and other auspicious days based on Balinese calendar, there are lots of visitors coming to this place. Moreover, this activity is also included in the spiritual tour packages that are much in demand by visitors.


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