Culture-Sport-Traditional tour combination
Pura Tirta Empul
Balinese from every corner of the island make pilgrimages to Tirta Empul (daylight hour ; Rp 15 000 Kid Rp 10 000), signposted off the main Tampaksiring-Kintamani Road, about 500 m north of the turn off to Gunung Kawi. They come seeking to spiritually cleanse themselves and to cure their ailments by bathing in the holy springs here. Legend describes how the spirngs were first tapped by the god Indra during his balttle with the evil Mayadanawa, an early ruler of the Pejeng Kingdom. Mayadanawa had poisoned the nearby river and made hundreds of Indra's retiners sick, so Indra pierced the earth to release a spring of pure and sacred water-the elixir of immortality-that would revive his flagging troops. The new spring was named Tirta Empul, and has been considred the holiest in Bali ever since the tenth century, if not longer.
A temple was built around the springs adn special bathing-pools constructed for devotees, and the complex is now an extremely popular destination, both for Balinese and foreign tourists.
The shallow red-brick bathing pools are sunk into the ground of the outer courtyard of the temple, fed by water from the springs in the inner sanctuary, Men, Women and priest each have their own segregated sections in which to immerse themselves, though most modern devotees just splash their faces and smile for the camera. However, for the pregnant women and anyone who's just recovered from a long illness, a visit to Tirta Empul has particular significance as one of three places in which they must bathe for a special ritual called melukat. This ceremony requires immersion in the waters of each of the three holiest springs in Bali; the "holy waters of the mountain" at Tirta Bungkah, the "holy springs of the plain" here at Tirta Empul, and the "holy springs of the sea" at Tirta Selukat. In the inner courtyard, you can see the clear slate-blue spring water bubbling up into its own enclosed rectangular pool through a sedimentary layer of black sand.