Pura Tirta Empul is one of the most famous, largest, busiest water temples in Bali. The temple is dedicated to the Hindu god of water; Wishnu and the name Tirta Empul means “holy water spring” in Balinese. A visit to Pura Tirta Empul is one of the best ways to experience Balinese culture. As well one of the things you must do during your stay in Ubud.
Below we have gathered everything you need to know for your visit to the incredible holy spring water temple of Ubud.
The history of Pura Tirta Empul
The Balinese believe that the creation of Pura Tirta Empul involves a legend of a battle between the God Indra and a magical and powerful king named Mayadenawa. The king possessed magical powers with which he could transform himself into any form he desired. Unfortunately, he became careless and began to use his powers for black magic.
Upon this, a priest prayed to God Indra to put an end to the evilness of the king. Indra and his soldiers defeated Mayadenawa’s forces, which left the king and the rest of his troops running for their life.
To get revenge Mayadenawa snuck into Indra’s camp when the troops were sleeping. Mayadenawa created a beautiful but poisonous pond that the army would drink from after waking up. In the morning, God Indra woke up to find his men dead. With his powers, God Indra pierced the ground with his scepter and created the sacred healing springs of holy water; known as Tirta Empul.
Since his plan had failed, Mayadenawa transformed himself into different types of beings so God Indra couldn’t find him. At last, he was transformed into a boulder. Indra ended up shooting an arrow through the boulder, which then pierced and killed the king.
It’s said that the blood of Mayadenawa has formed the Petanu River, and since then is believed that the river was cursed.
The holy spring water of Pura Tirta Empul
The highlight of the holy spring water temple is the freshwater pools in which you will find 30 fountains. Both locals and tourists visit the temple to bathe in these two purifying pools. In the pools, people clean themselves with the healing and holy water at every one of the fountains. The process of getting clean will start from the left side of the pool and end on the right side. After you have completed the cleaning process it’s believed that you will be blessed with good fortune and health.
What to know about visiting Pura Tirta Empul
As with so many other sights and attractions some things are always good to know beforehand. Therefore, we have gathered what you need to know about visiting Pura Tirta Empul right below.
Tirta Empul Temple is located in Manukaya in Bali, which is about a 30-minute drive north from Ubud.
The best way to get to the temple is either by motorbike or car. Driving a motorbike in Bali is possible and can be the type of transportation where you feel most free to stop up and take everything on the route. The safest way though will always be by car with a driver. By driving by car with a driver you most possibly will discover some of the other attractions nearby – like Ubud Monkey Forest, Tegalalang Rice Terraces, or some of the other temples in the Ubud area.
The holy spring water temple is open between 9:00 to 17:00 every day. The only exception is Nyepi day (Silence in Bali), where everything in Bali will stop/be closed for the day.
The entrance fee of the temple is 50.000 IDR per person. You can buy your ticket at the ticket counter in front of the temple complex.
Tip: Remember to bring cash in Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), as they don’t accept card payments.
Time spent at Pura Tirta Empul
Pura Tirta Empul is a very large temple complex. Therefore, it’s important you set aside enough time for you to explore the whole complex. There are 3 parts to the temple; An outer courtyard also known as Jaba Pura, the center courtyard known as Jaba Tengah, as well as an inner courtyard called Jeroan. For you to have enough time at the temple you should set aside at least an hour. If you plan on participating in the bathing ritual you should set aside even more time as there tends to be a long queue.
When visiting a temple in Bali you must dress respectfully. The dress code for a Balinese temple is a traditional sarong around the lower body, as well as a sash around the waist.
You can rent a sarong for a small donation at the entrance of the temple complex.
Remember to bring (or rent) an extra sarong if you plan on participating in the bathing ritual at the holy spring water pools.
A woman’s period
Women on their period are prohibited from entering any temple or sacred site of Bali, as the period is believed to be impure. If you are on your period you are therefore only allowed to watch the outer perimeters of the temple complex.
Best time to visit Pura Tirta Empul
The best time to visit the holy spring water temple Pura Tirta Empul is in the early morning hours. Therefore, it’s a good idea to be at the entrance around 9:00 where the complex opens. During a morning visit rush is rare and the number of people is therefore small. So, the earlier you visit the amazing temple the more likely you are to experience the site without huge crowds.