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Tirta Empul Temple, Holy Water & Purification Ritual

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Tirta Empul Temple Tampaksiring
Tirta Empul Temple, Holy Water Pool. Img: Hafizan Hamid
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Tirta Empul Temple Entrance Fee: Rp50.000 Opening Hours: 07:00 - 18:00 WITA Telp. Number: - Address: Jl. Tirta, Manukaya , Tampaksiring, Gianyar , Bali, Indonesia , 80552.

Often overshadowed by its neighbor Ubud. The quiet district of Tampaksiring is home to several interesting destinations in Bali. One of them is an important temple, called Tirta Empul Temple. The name Tirta Empul roughly means “water that spurt out from the ground”.

Referring to the springs located in this temple. Balinese believe that the spring water here holds holy properties. It is said that the God Indra himself pierced the earth to create these springs. According to the myth, the ancient king of Mayadenawa poisoned God Indra’s army. It’s his rebellion and as a form of disobedience toward the gods.

Angered by Mayadenawa’s maleficence, God Indra created a water source to counter Mayadenawa’s poison. He then defeated Mayadenawa. His triumph over Mayadenawa’s evilness is celebrated annually by Balinese as the Galungan Holiday.

Outer courtyard
The Outer Courtyard. A visitor is welcome to participate in the purification ritual. Img: Peter F

Tirta Empul temple is among a few temples in Bali with a holy water source. Balinese perform Melukat, a bathing ritual to clean one’s body and soul, every year in this particular spot.

It’s among the most famous temples in Bali, with both locals and tourists participating in the Melukat procession. The site even get more fame when the former USA president Barack Obama and his family visited Tirta Empul back in 2017.

Tirta Empul Temple Bathing Ritual Melukat

The outer courtyard is called Jaba Pura. Nothing much in this section except a sacred banyan tree with impressive roots growing near a Balinese gate ‘Candi Bentar’. A large hall is built for ceremonies and meetings, but on normal days it is more useful as a shade for tired visitors.

Fish Pond in Tirta Empul Temple
Fish Feeding is one of the attractions in Tirta Empul. Img; Thyas Pramesthi

Another gate and visitors will enter the center courtyard, called Jaba Tengah. It’s where the purification pools for the Melukat ritual.

For non-Hindu visitors, depending on each person’s spirituality. Participating in Melukat ritual here means a spiritual experience. Or a simply refreshing bath on cold mountain water. Either way, it’s just interesting to be part of this religious ritual.

Don’t hesitate to get in line and follow the locals. To perform the Melukat ritual, one needs to dress in a traditional sarong wrap around the body. After praying, shortly before entering the water, proceed to the leftmost waterspout in the first pool. Pray and wash hands, face, and head with the holy water.

Purification Ritual in Tirta Empul
The Locals & visitors queue for Purification Ritual. Img: Udang Gan

Continue to the next spout until the 13th, but skip spout numbers 11 and 12. These spouts are only for “Pitra Yadnya”, a ritual for the dead ones. Lastly, head to the second pool for the final bath.

Tirta Empul Temple Inner Courtyard

Away from the crowd at Jaba Tengah and the purification pools, the inner courtyard is separated by low walls and another Candi Bentar gate. This is where worshipers pray after the purification bath. Visitors are allowed to be here and feel the tranquil atmosphere while observing the rest of the ritual.

Priests will lead the solemn procession, ending the whole ritual with sprinkles of holy water and rice pressed in pamadek’s (the worshiper’s) forehead. Tirta Empul Temple courtyard is also where the springs come from. Water bubbling from below the earth in a sizable pond filled with green algae and small fish. Ancient pipes channel the water from this pond to the purification pools next door.

Praying rituals in the temple
The Balinese Hindu Praying in Pura Tirta Empul. Img: Andreu Arenas

The interesting fact is, the water also irrigates the rice paddies at the village nearby—another reason why Balinese are thankful for the spring’s existence. As visitors head to the exit, another pond full of koi swimming gleefully will provide a delightful goodbye.

Tampak Siring Presidential Palace

Overlooked by many tourists, even locals seem to ignore it. There’s a small pathway at the west of the temple’s outer courtyard. The small path leads to a modern building above the hill, called Tampaksiring Presidential Palace.

Tampaksiring Palace is built by the order of the first president of Indonesia, Soekarno. It becomes a retreat and a guesthouse for diplomacy guests. Aside from being a destination for a quick history lesson, the palace is also a nice spot to get a sweeping view of Tirta Empul Temple downhill.

Tirta Empul Temple and Tampaksiring Palace
Tirta Empul Temple, Tampaksiring Palace, surrounded by the green lush tree. Img: Kok Choon

Join with many school students having a study tour here. They make up the majority of visitors. In contrast with pilgrims and tourists at the temple below. They roam the palace with curiosity, writing something in their notebooks. Or gather in small groups, listening to the teacher explained the national landmark history.

Art enthusiasts will also love exploring this palace. Soekarno is known for his fondness for art. His passion reveals the statues, paintings, and decorations. Adorn every corner of the estate.

Nearby: Tegallalang Rice Terrace, Activities & Entrance Fee.

To get inside Tampaksiring Palace, submit an online application. At least 3 working days before the visiting day. There is a certain dress code and a camera is definitely not allowed inside the palace.

Tirta Empul Temple Opening Hours

The temple is open every day from 7 AM to 6 PM. Except in Nyepi day, where every spot in Bali is closed.

Tirta Empul Opening Hours
Every day except Nyepi07:00 – 18:00 WITA

Nearby: Tampaksiring Palace, Step by Step To Visit Indonesian Palace. 

Tirta Empul Temple Entrance Fee

The entrance is Rp50.000 for one person. Similar to other holy sites in Bali, visitors are required to wear clothing that covers the shoulder and sarong to cover the knee. Planning to do the bathing ritual, Melukat. Make sure to bring another sarong to change the wet one after bathing.

Tirta Empul Temple Entrance Fee
Foreign touristRp50.000
Sarong Rental for BathingRp15.000
LockerRp20.000
Feeding FishRp5.000

Nearby: Gunung Kawi Temple, The Royal’s Commemoration. 

Facilities

As the busiest temple in the region, the Tirta Empul Temple has adequate facilities. Bathroom and parking are available (parking ticket Rp5.000). Lockers to put belonging while visitors’ bathing is available for rent. With an additional fee of Rp20.000. Restaurants and gift shops are plenty just outside the temple premises.

See: Indonesian SIM Card, Price & Provider.

How To Get To Tirta Empul Temple

There is no public transportation to get to the site. Tourists will have to rent a car or scooter. Ride hail app is available around Ubud. However, in some tourists spot in Ubud. Gojek and Grab are not permitted to drop off and pick up passengers.

The good thing is Tampaksiring area still has plenty of green open space. And lots of paddy fields next to the main street. So the trip to get to Tirta Empul Temple will be full of green sightseeing.

The route from Ubud is as follows: Ubud – Tampaksiring Street – continue to Ir. Soekarno Street -take the right turn to Tirta Street, where the temple is located. The journey will take only 30 minutes from Ubud downtown.

Read Campuhan Ridge Walk Ubud, Activities & Guide.

Address & Location

Tirta Empul temple location is 6 km away from Tegallalang rice terrace. It’s located in Jl. Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Gianyar regency, Bali 80552.

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