The One and Only Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul temple is the most famous water temple in Bali. As its names, tirta means spring water. In complete tirta empul means holy spring water. Many Hindus come to this temple to do ritual purification. There several springs in the temple that supply water to some ponds in the temple. This temple is especially dedicated to Vishnu, the god of water.
As situated in Central Bali, specifically Gianyar, Tampaksiring district, Manukaya village, the temple is close several another temple that is Gunung Kawi Sebatu temple. Tirta Empul temple is open from nine a.m. to five p.m. most visitors come to bath as purifying rituals or just to admire its wonder.
Construction and structure of the temple
Based on Belanjong pillar inscription, the temple was built in 960 a.d. during Sri Kesari Warmadewa dynasty. There is a myth about this temple. The spring in this temple was planted by Bhatara Indra to heal his dead and poisoned warrior from Maya Denawa's attack. Maya Denawa was known as the antagonist and did not believe in God. Bhatara Indra sent his warriors to punish Maya Denawa. It is the beginning story of how the holy spring could purify and heal hindus. The spring is not only the water source of Tirta Empul temple but also the source of Pakerisan river. As the temple develops, nowadays there three sections of the temple. The sections are front yard or Jaba Pura, the central yard or Jaba Tengah, and the inner yard or Jeroan. The first section of course is parking lot that as many warungs that could fuel up your journey. Then you will pass a beautiful garden with some statues towards the main entrance.Those yards contain a pool with five fountains for people to pray, a pool with eight fountains used for spiritual purification or healing, a pool carved of stone with twelve fountains where fish live and offerings is placed at, and a pool with thirteen fountains used for dead ceremony or cremation. In Jaba Tengah there are two ponds which can be used for bathing with thirty spouts. Jeroan is the section where people come and pray even sometimes they take the water in bottles brought to home.
Rules in the temple
Almost same with other sacred places in Bali, when entering Tirta Empul temple you are recommended to wear sarong or kemban. Do not forget to dress respectfully. For women who are in periods, they are not allowed to come in to the temple. Bathing or purifying is only intended and allowed for hindu devotees or pilgrims, so tourists are hardly allowed to try bathing there. There is a fish pond in the temple but you are not allowed feed them..