The temples of Bali are numerous, well-known and gorgeous. One of the things I love about this island is the architectural beauty just seems to spill out everywhere. Temples, houses, public buildings, entrances, restaurants... they all have an intriguing artistic flair about them that just draws you in.
We visited one of the most well-known temples in Bali, the Tirta Empul, home to the holy mountain springs. The temple is gorgeous, spread out across large grounds featuring stunning crystal-clear water.
How to Get to Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul is north of Ubud, near the Tegallalang Rice Terraces. The easiest way to get to Tirta Empul is by scooter, 15km north of Ubud. The temple is clustered among a number of other, smaller temples. If you don't feel comfortable on a scooter, you can either take a taxi there, hire a driver or go with a tour - there's always plenty around!
The Legend of Tirta Empul
Tirta Empul was created out of the belief of a legendary battle between King Mayadenawa and God Indra. The king used his magical powers for black and dark magic, so Priest Sang Kulputih summoned God Indra to end the king. During the battle one night, the king entered the camp of Indra's troops and created a poisonous pond that the men would drink from.
Indra, upon discovering that his men were sick and dying, in return created a holy spring with healing water which came to be known as Tirta Empul. Indra then succeeded in killing Mayadenawa. The death of the king is commemorated every 210 days in the Balinese calendar as the day when Virtue triumphs over Evil in a ceremony called Galungan.
Visiting Tirta Empul
These days, the Tirta Empul Temple possesses natural springs which worshippers believe to be those created by Indra. These waters are said to be cleansing and purifying. Tirta Empul is dedicated to Vishnu, Hindu God of water, and was founded in 926 AD. There are shrines dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Indra and one of Mount Batur, making this temple one of the holiest in Bali.
You must wear a sarong before entering the temple; you can either bring your own or rent one at the entrance. Long hair must be tied back. If you wish to bathe in the holy water but do not have your own sarong, bathing sarongs can be rented for 10,000 IDR ($0.93 CAD). You must wear a sarong to bathe and it cannot be one rented from the entrance.
Entrance to the temple at the time of writing was 50,000 IDR ($4.70 CAD) per person.