Holy Spring Temple is a Hindu Temple located in a valley between two hills with big springs. It is considered sacred by the local residents, a place to melt all the bad influences in the body and purify the soul and mind. Tirtha Empul Temple (Tirta Empul means Holy Spring in Balinese) or better known as Tampak Siring Temple or Holy Water Temple is a place to cleanse from the bad influences in life under the traditional showers sourced from the springs at this temple. The water that comes out from the shower is believed to eliminate all kind of diseases including adverse effect in the human life and give new holy spirits. This place is very famous in Bali and many visited by local people and tourists every day since it has been appointed as one of the top tourist destinations in Bali. We arrived at Holy Spring Temple after a busy afternoon of exploring. We knew that this was probably our last stop for the day, but we were happy to find that this temple had a very laid-back atmosphere. If we weren’t so hungry, we probably would have stayed even longer than we did.
As with any Bali temple tour or a visit to a holy place, it is always important to dress respectfully. The simple Balinese temple visitor dress code is a traditional ‘kamen’ wrap around the lower body plus a sash around the waist. At the entrance to this temple there is a box of wraps that you can borrow, if needed. Women during their periods are prohibited entry to any temple or sacred site, and may enjoy the sights and attractions in the outer perimeters only. It seemed tempting for tourists to try out the purification bathing ritual themselves; and we did see a few of them getting in, however we later found out that the formal routine is strictly meant for pilgrims and devotees. You might want to consult your guide who may ask a temple authority for further details.
As is common with many Balinese temples, the Tirta Empul Temple complex has three key divisions, namely a front, secondary and inner courtyard. Visitors to Tirta Empul first come upon the lush gardens and pathways adorned with statues and tropical plants that lead to its entrance. After stepping through this typical ‘candi bentar’ (temple gate), a vast walled courtyard welcomes visitors to the bathing pools where a large ‘wantilan’ meeting hall stands at the right.
Inside the central courtyard, referred to as ‘madya mandala’ or ‘jaba tengah’, pilgrims first approach a rectangular purification bath where a total of 13 elaborately sculpted spouts that line the edge from west to east. After solemn prayers at an altar-like shrine, they proceed to enter the crystal-clear, cold mountain water. With hands pressed together, they bow under the gushing water of the first spout, carrying on to the eleventh. The water from the last two of the 13 spouts is meant for purification purposes in funerary rites. We stood to the one side of the bath, and took a few pictures from above.
There were many mothers taking their children with them into the springs. The kids hung on for dear life, but they seemed to be enjoying the process. I loved the moment when one of the mothers looked up at me, header picture in this post, and smiled at me.
These temple grounds were beautiful, and there was plenty to see aside from the actual springs. We found some gardens, ridiculously large spiders (pictured below) which, for some reason, never look as bad in photographs, and also gigantic scared trees. This tree, pictured above, was spectacular. It looked as though it had been carved from wood but it was, in fact, a real tree. The wrap around the trunk of the tree is a symbol that this tree is considered sacred by the locals.
Elijah was running on a tiled area and he slipped on some water. That is why he looks a little weepy in some of these last pictures. Poor boy took quite a tumble! As you can see – we are all quite sweaty and “toured-out”. Sightseeing in sweltering heat, and especially with high humidity, is quite tiring but oh-so worth it!
Far at the front of the temple complex is a large parking area with its eastern side lined with art markets and rows of shops selling various curios and souvenirs. There are also several warungs or food stalls selling local food, snacks and refreshments. Two thumbs up from the Essers. We really enjoyed exploring this temple and its beautiful grounds.
Opening Hours: 09:00 – 17:00
Location: Manukaya village, district of Tampaksiring, Gianyar, central Bali.
Transport: Hire a scooter or a private driver.