Located in Manukaya village of Gianyar Regency in Bali, Pura Tirta Empul is a sacred temple, who’s holy springs draw thousands of pilgrims here each year. The temple is believed to be created by Lord Indra, who is considered as the God of rain according to Hinduism. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Tirta Empul means water coming from the earth. The temple witnesses many visitors every year because of the local belief that the spring at the temple has healing properties. The temple is located near the Presidential Palace, Tampaksiring which was built by the first president of Indonesia, Soekarno, in 1957. The Pura Tirta Empul is a huge temple site. When you enter, the first thing that will appear is three gigantic stone gates which are called Candi Bentar in Balinese.
Followed through the gate is a courtyard, with another huge gate. Statues of two guards are placed at this door, which is locally known as Dwarapala, guarding the temple’s main area. Inside the courtyard is the main area of the temple known as ‘Jaba Tengah’. Holy springs are in this area and people stand in a queue to take a dip in the holy springs. There are around 13 waterspouts and two main purification pools. The worshippers pass through the 13 waterspouts one by one and reach the main pool to complete the purification process. The purification ritual is known as ‘Melukat’. Ahead of these purification pools is the area where prayers are being offered. This part of the temple is called ‘Jeroan’.
The front part is mostly covered with the spring. You can spot several fishes in the spring. One needs to carry a sarong and sash to enter the temple. Along with it, the visitors also need to carry a traditional wrap called ‘Kamen’ on the lower part of their body. The temple has a shrine of the Hindu trinity, Lord Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma along with Lord Indra and mount Batur. The temple came in limelight when in 2017, former US president Barak Obama visited this temple with his family during the trip to Bali. The temple is beautiful and very sacred. The legends of its creation depict the story of good versus evil, where the good defeats the evil. The place is not very far from Ubud. The opening hours are from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Women during menstruation can not visit the temple. The purification ritual is also only for the pilgrims and devotees but if you want to perform it, you can ask for the guidance of your local guide. The best time to visit the temple is between noon to evening. There are several shops for food and refreshment around the temple. The place has good bus connectivity from Ubud and you can also hire a car with a local driver from Ubud. There are plenty of hotels and villas where you can enjoy a nice accommodation. Some of them are also really budget friendly as well.