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Tirta Empul Temple, a holy Balinese spring

Holy Water Temple
Holy Water Temple
Holy Water Temple
Holy Water Temple
Holy Water Temple
Holy Water Temple
Tirta Empul Temple 1
Tirta Empul Temple 2
Tirta Empul Temple 3
Tirta Empul Temple 4
Tirta Empul Temple 5
Tirta Empul Temple 6
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Jakarta, IO – The Holy Water Temple of Tirta Empul is located in Manukaya Village, Gianyar Regency, Bali, about 14 kilometers northeast of Ubud. This temple stands beneath the Tampaksiring Presidential Palace, an edifice built by President Soekarno in 1957. The place of worship is the site of springs that are said to wash away sins. 

Balinese Hindus consider Tirta Empul Temple a sacred bathing place. Therefore, all visitors are required to respect this belief by wearing a special cloth provided at the temple entrance that each guest must wear before entering. Women having their menstrual cycles are not allowed to enter the temple. 

The Balinese government concluded that the Tirta Empul Temple was constructed in 962, during the reign of Phratry Raja Chandra Bhayasingha Warmadewa. The temple was built to respect Vishnu, one of whose aspects is that of the God of Water. According to the Usana Bali manuscript, building the Tirta Empul Temple was linked to the myth of a battle between a powerful but evil king, Mayadenawa, and the god Bhatara Indra. The king was not a believer and forbade his people from worshiping God. 

He possessed extremely deadly spiritual powers. However, due to his insatiable greed for power, Mayadenawa abused his abilities for dark magic recklessly, resulting in mayhem. A priest named Sang Kulputih thus begged Bhatara Indra to halt the king’s bad acts. When Indra and his army attacked Mayadenawa, intending to dethrone him, the king and his troops fled to the north, a place that is now known as Tampaksiring. 

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With devious power, while Bhatara Indra’s troops were sound asleep at night, Mayadenawa sneaked into their camp and created a beautiful – but poisonous – spring. As he crept into the camp, he walked on the edges of his feet to avoid leaving footprints. This story is believed by the people to be the origin of “Tampaksiring”, the village name, as it means “tilted footprint”. 

In the morning Indra awakened to the sight of his troops poisoned and dead. Indra used his magical rod to pierce the ground, creating a holy healing spring. He splashed this water over the bodies of the fallen warriors, reviving them. This spring is known as Tirta Empul, renowned for its healing abilities and perceived as a source of life.

(IO/Albrianso Wayapen)

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