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Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrPura Tirta Empul (also known as Tampak Siring) is a water temple that the Balinese believe has holy spring water coming from the mountains and helps to cleanse their karma. Each fountain has its own cleansing qualities which purifies the people who bathe here. There are a few fountains that are reserved for the dead, where the family of the loved ones bottle the water from the spring and use it to bless loved ones that passed away, and there are fountains to cleanse your karma. In Bali, karma is everything, they believe that the people who are good in this life will have a better life when they are reborn. If they did not have good karma when they passed on, they believe they'll be reborn with a not so-good life.
The myth of the springs started when a king banned his people from doing any holy rituals, and so God decided to punish the king and remove him from his power. The king then retaliated, deciding to poison the springs so that anyone who would drink from the spring would die instantly. God then purified the spring again, making them holy, and so anyone who drank from the poisoned spring got the gift of life again. To this date, the spring is still believed to be a gift from God by the people and is highly revered by the Hindus and the water used in various rituals.
The locals gather the water in jugs, which they then use in their rituals as a blessing for their own altars and offerings.
Getting HereThe temple is quite accessible if you're on your way to Ubud or staying there. It is actually found in a place called Timpaksiring. You can easily hop on a rented motorbike to get there (however, it takes at least an hour to get here from Kuta ), if you are coming from Nusa Dua or Kuta, it's best to hire either a private taxi to tour you around as some of the roads can get crazy. If you are on a tour, you can stop by this place on the way to Kintamani or the Elephant Park. Entrance fee to the site is around $ 2.00 USD and you can hire a guide for 50,000 IDR to help pinpoint some of the spots. From the site to the parking lot, you'll have to go through a labyrinth like marketplace that's selling anything and everything touristy: from kitschy souvenirs, shirts, and the like. It is around a 5-10 minute walk from the exit to the parking lot itself!
If you want a cheap souvenir, buy some empty plastic jugs and fill it up with the holy water. While we would not recommend that you drink it, it may be a holistic experience from the safety of your own shower to experience the water itself.
What To SeeAside from the springs, the structures around the area are pretty cool. You'll see lions, temples, and also a banyan tree in the site. They're all draped in sarongs, as a sign of respect by the Balinese that worship there. Note that these structures are very old (built between 900-990 AD). Some of the springs are off limits except for the priests although you can still see the spring through several viewing areas. Don't be grossed out with the plants that are growing in the bottom of the most holy spring, apparently they don't clean the pool (as it is holy), so it has accrued a lot of water plants over the years. It also has a few fish (surprisingly), which are in the pool with you as you cleanse your body and soul, or in the various springs found throughout the temple. They don't bite, but they do like swimming close to you!
If you like to shop and don't really have the time to visit Ubud or Kuta Markets, you can shop some of the stores outside of the temple. There are numerous stalls there, which sells everything touristy that you can think of. It may be more expensive than the other markets though, so best be prepared, and they only take in cash, no credit cards!
One of the closer tourist attraction to Tirta Empul is Gunung Kawi, another temple found in the same area, Tampaksiring. These are carved from a rock face, and is actually quite cool, with a setting of rice terraces. Another few minutes drive away is a plantation, where you can buy coffee and tea, and sample everything on site.
- Wear a swimsuit underneath your clothes if you're planning to go in the spring. Regardless if you go in the spring or not, the entrance fee is the same.
- Bring loose change with you at all times. Some of the toilets in Bali require you to pay a fee (around 300 IDR) in order to use the facilities.
- It is best to hire a guide if you want to take a dip in the pool to know which springs are good for cleansing and which ones are for the dead. After all, you'd want to have an authentic experience!
- Try to get your money changed in Kuta or Ubud at an authentic money changer. Some money changers can dupe you and offer higher rates, but when they give you the money, they'll try to slip half back in their drawer, and you wouldn't even know what happened.
- If you're a bit unsure about the sarongs that they are lending to visitors, bring your own! If you're unlucky, you may be given one that's wet from the previous user. Expect to have the sarong used by a few people before you if you end up coming here in the afternoon.
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Author: ruby917. Last updated: Jan 06, 2015