Tirtha Empul temple is a Hindu temple which is located in the village of Manukaya village, District of Tampaksiring Gianyar – Bali. This temple is also an historical place because in some buildings in the temple is one of them established the presidential palace which was built during the reign of Sukarno in Indonesia. Pura Tirtha Empul name taken from the springs called Tirtha Empul is what is meant when a water that gushes from the ground. So Tirtha Empul is holy water that gushes out of the ground (Holy spring water). Tirtha Empul temple is famous for its holy water where Hindu Bali people go for purification. The temple bathing pond has spring which gives out fresh water regularly through several fountains, which is considered as holy or Amritha by local Hindu Bali people. 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 the new holy spirits.
“Pancuran” fountains water in the shower was quite cold and fresh, because this water is just emerging from ground water sources. Hindus who perform ritual pelukatan “Purification” in this bathing pond first present a ‘Canang’ (offering) which is placed just above the shower then fill in the incense which has in turn. While doing pelukatan, Hindus will pray as he / she wishes. Quite often foreign tourists also perform the ritual and come to pray with bringing together both palms.
According with the Balinese believe that the springs rising from the earth is the God’s creation, hence in 882 Saka (990 AD) arranged to be a pond purified by the kind of Indrajayasinghawarmadewa with the name of Tirtha ri air hampul. The data contained on an inscription at Sakenan Temple. Transcription of the inscription that mention the Tirtha Empul was in row and 5 those are: Indrajayasingha Warmadewa masamahin tirtha ri air hampul. In addition to the above epigraphic data, at Tirtha Empul temple is also found the following archeological items as follows:
- Linga Yoni is located in the second courtyard, on top of an altar (Bebaturan) behind the façade of the gate that faces to the west. Yoni Linga is a worship symbol of Lord Siva with Goddess Parvati to invoke the fertility, especially for the agricultural fertility.
- The Lion Statue that was worn on it faces making difficulty to be identified. In the Hindu mythology, lion is a vehicle of Durga Goddess which is the wife of Siva God in angry aspect. In that aspect, the Siva God as Siva Mahakala. In the angry aspect, the Siva God is manifestation as the god who returns home all the contents of the universe.
- Tepasana is a building or altar which was originally just a patio/Bebaturan. What seen now is a building that has been restored/renovated in 1067 AD.
- Tirtha Empul pond with it water source from the earth because it’s location on the ground surrounded by hills that can be said a bless from the god. In 960 AD, the spring had been built and expanded by the Indrajaya Singhawarmadewa King where on his inscription says Masamahin Tirtha, which mean to build and expand the holy pond.
Historically based on local
In the Lontar (Holy Bible written on palm leaf) of Usana Bali is mentioned that Tirtha Empul is created by Indra Deity when fighting against the king from Bedahulu. He is known as a very powerful king, could be lost or disappear suddenly called cyberspace (Maya). Therefore he is called Mayadenawa. Because of his power, he become arrogant and claimed he was a god. Mayadenawa King has an assistant called by Kalawong. The forbid the people to do the ceremony, so frequently happened the natural disasters, diseases outbreak, unsuccessful agriculture that make people live in poverty.
To overcome this problem, Indra Deity with his army and fought against Mayadenawa King and his assistant. It is said that the in a battle occur in Tampak Siring area, the soldier of Mayadenawa King was troops pressed and eliminate traces. Mayadenawa walk with his feet in the oblique position (oblique position = miring), so that this area called Tampak Siring. In this area, Mayadenawa also created the pond with it toxic water. After fighting, the soldiers of Indra Deity feel thirsty then they drink it water that make them died. After knowing the emergency situation, Indra Deity sticks the Umbul-umbul to the earth immediately then suddenly the holy water come out from the land that is called Tirtha Empul. By drinking this water, all soldiers who have died able to life back successfully. Because the purity of spring water has efficacious as Tirtha Amertha Pengentas Urip (The holy water revive the spirits)
After the crisis from the battle, it is said that Mayadenawa with his soldiers getting squeezed and run to the north. Mayadenawa disappear and change into a big bird and then that place is called by Manukaya (Manuk = bird, raya or aya = big). His tricks were soon known by Indra God and then finally Mayadenawa fled to hide behind of rock located in Pangkung Patas area. Nevertheless, because of his sin, finally Mayadenawa was killed, died because of Indra Deity’s arrow and his blood flow condemned as a river called by Petanu River.
Tirta Empul temple is divided into 3 parts: Nista mandala is the outermost part of the temple, also called ‘Jabe side’, Madya Mandala is a central part of the temple after the harsh mandala is usually called ‘middle Jabe ‘and the last is the Mandala is the main part of the temple which is commonly referred to as ” Jeroan”. In the outer yard of the temple, there is very hugh and old Banyan tree, which is considered sacred, where the worshiper pray at first before taking purification bath at Middle yard (Jabe Tengah). In Jaba Tengah, there are 2 rectangular pool with 30 showers (fountains) which is named accordingly: Tirtha empul, Peleburan, Pengelukatan, Pebersihan, Sudamala dan Pancuran Cetik (poison). After taking a holy bath, then continued to dress in Balinese traditional costume, and then going to Main yard to pray (making the ritual). In this main yard, we can see the big temple complex, that consisting of many shrines, an also we can the pool, where the spring water comes out from the ground.
On the left hillside of the temple is a modern villa on the hill. built for President Sukarno’s visit in 1954, which is now used as a rest house for important guests.
On your visit to this temple, tourists are allowed to participate purify themselves in the pool’s showers, the main requirement is that you must be wearing polite cloths like Kamen (sarung), temple scarf and long skirt, if only to see around. Temple scarf is a cloth tied around the waist in Kamen or sarung is a tool used by Hindus worship to be able to enter the courtyard of a temple, and also if you want to bath, mus wear sarung. Locker is provided with only Rp 5.000. The entrance fee is Rp 15,000 / adult, which includes sarung and temple scarf.
Bali always has unique attractions and characteristics that may not be owned by other tourist places in Indonesia. Nothing wrong if the island of Bali known as a paradise for travelers who want to enjoy a vacation on the island of Bali. The unique about this temple is that you can join the Balinese people having a purification, and make a wish based on you religion / believe, as it is presents the Universal requirements spiritually. Better to come in normal day, if you come during any Balinese Holiday / any celebration (full moon) or temple ceremony, there would be so many people in the pond on a long queue in snake spiral formation…:) Coming in the evening time is recommended. But, just enjoy it….:)
The following are photos of Tirtha Empul temple in Tampaksiring, Gianyar Regency, Bali – Indonesia