Information before you go
The water springs of Tirta Empul are located just north of Tampaksering, not far from the Gunung Kawi temple complex and a 30- minutes drive from Ubud. The springs are one of the sources of the Sungai (river) Pakerisan. It is also one of the most interesting Hindu temples in Indonesia and with thousands of temples on Bali island one you should not exclude from your itinerary.
The source of the holy water...
These holy springs are surrounded by forest and numerous palm trees creating a cool setting to admire the place. From the split gate entrance (candi bentar) you'll stroll through a garden before you reach the bathing area. Woman having their period are not allowed to enter and wearing a temple scarf is compulsory.
The bathing area is connected to a big Hindu temple complex in which you can also find the actual water source. The source is surrounded by a big wall in order to keep everything that isn't sacred out.
Fortunately you can have a peek over the wall and see clear water with a green-blue bubbling spot from which the water springs.
The Balinese believe that the source holds magical and healing powers. Additionally it ensures eternal youth. Every year pilgrims gather together at this important place.
Holy water plays a special roll in Hinduism. The Brahman priests of Bali, who are the only ones to conduct numerous offerings and purification ceremonies, come to this source to collect the water as it is considered one of the holiest on Bali.
The three koi filled baths with spewing ornaments next to the source are made out of stone and divided into three sections. The left bath is for Balinese women and the middle one for Balinese men. The outer right bathing pool is smaller, but is known to be the purest of all.
Tirta is derived from the Sanskrit word "amrita" which means nectar or life elixir. The legend of this water source is based on the Hindu god Indra, who once won the battle against the demon king Maya Danawa.
Maya Danawa had poisoned the river Petanu, from which the warriors of Indra drank and died. To save his warriors Indra created a big water hole just north of the river Petanu, now known as Tirta Empul.
The water from this source was poured on his warriors who instantly woke up from the dead. Then, at the end they defeated the evil Maya Danawa.
The holy source is located at a large temple complex
In the year 960 AC King Warmadewa created a bathing area at the source so for more than a thousand years Hindu devotees come here to purify themselves. In the 11th century the King of Airlangga added additional decorations and statues and in 1969 it was fully restored, giving it the well maintained look it has today.
A big black rock in the middle of the temple complex serves as the throne for God Indra. Around it there are nicely decorated shrines which beautiful gold colored carvings.
One of these shrines is dedicated to Dewi Sri, the Rice Goddess and one to the God of Gunung Batur.
The throne for the Hindu god, Indra
This holy bathing area is a nice place to visit and walk around. The temple complex is a very impressive and spiritual place. If you are there, you can see local Balinese taking a bath, but as a foreigner you should not join them. There are other public baths on the site where travellers are allowed to take a plunge.
If you plan to visit this holy source, you can easily combine it with a visit to Gunung Kawi which is located just 1-km away.
As for most attractions on Bali best is to visit in the morning, because it can get really busy in the beginning of the afternoon.
Gunung Kawi is an amazing temple complex located along a river and surrounded by stunning rice field terraces. Combine a visit to this temple with Tirta Empul.Read more
A bit of knowledge about the history of Bali will create a bit more understanding on how things are now. You will be surprised how turbulent the past has been.Read more
Many say that East Bali is still how Bali used to be with its rice field terraces, little Balinese villages, important temples and other historical sights worth the visit.Read more
Now and then people send us inspiring emails and this generates even more enthusiasm to share all of the things we know about this lovely island in the hope that you can plan your tropical holiday properly and have as such a great time as we always have. Hope to see you there!
When I wrote the mail I never really expected a reply. I might have expected a computer generated but never a personally written one. The information you provided is invaluable, thank you so very much. I have been using your website as a bible through Bali. Through your recommendation, I will be heading to Ubud then follow the sightseeing route to the coast of Candidasa.
WOW...what an awesome website. I could only dream that there would be a website like this for all our travel destinations! You guys have done an fabulous job and now, I am sooo excited about our upcoming trip to Bali. To be honest, I wasn't quite sure Bali was the place for us considering some of the travel warnings (we are Americans). But I can tell from your experiences that the Bali people are so very kind and peaceful.
hi and congratulations on the blog it s brilliant and helpful....we are going to Bali in September with my family (including 2 little girls) so we need to have nice spaceous rooms garden and pool access rooms preferably in Semikyak but not too far from it all...I hope you can recommend a great place thats not full of Australian crowds as we like meeting people from other countries.
Hi, I have been travelling for years and I want to say that this website is the best I have EVER come across. It is easy to navigate, it is really descriptive, gives all the info that you could ever want and is accompanied by the best photos and advice. GREAT.