It is about 36 km from the city of Denpasar, in Tampaksiring district, Gianyar Regency. The roads are good and paved can be reached by any cars.
Tirta Empul Temple bequeathed to the people by ancient Rajadom is perhaps one of the most fascinating spot in the area. On the west side of this temple, high on the hill could be found a Presidential Palace that was built during Soekarno’s time. Which is an unspectacular; single-storey structure with several outbuildings designed by Sukarna himself and built in 1954 on the site of a Dutch rest house. The name of Tirta Empul derives from large spring in the center of the Temple. “Tirta” mean Holy Water and Tirta Empul is Holy Spring Water. The Tirta Empul’s water flowing down to the Pakerisan’s river. Along the Pakerisan River there are some ancient monuments. The temple was built around 960 AD, during the ruled of Raja Candra Bayangsingha from the Warmadewa dynasty.
Coforming with the structure of the most Balinese temple, it is divided into three main courtyards such as: the outer yard, the middle yard and the inner yard or the holiest part of the temple where the prayers take place. Mayadenawa Raja Batu Anyar, of Bedulu, and Bhatara Indra. In the ancient tale the Raja Mayadenawa was such a tyrant forbade the people to carry out their religions activity to request the blessing of God. The Gods heard about this tyranny, and led by Bhatara Indra they attacked Mayadenawa. In the end he lost the battle and run away to hide in the forest to the north of the village Tampak Siring. With his magic powers He created a spring of poison. Which coursed the death amongst Indra’s troops who drank the water with poison from the poisonous spring? In fury Bhatara Indra drove his spear into the ground at the point where the spring was bubbling up, rerouting it come out through the centre of Tirta Empul. His holy water was used to splash upon the afflicted Gods and revive them from the grasps of death. This mythology the expedition of Patih (minister) Gajah Mada from Majapahit courned Bali 1343 is symbolized Bhatara Indra, and the evil Raja Mayadenawa as Bhatara Cri Astasura Bhumi Banten.
According to folklore this myth is also connected to the Galungan day, which is celebrated every 6 months (210 days) according to the Balinese calendar, on a day known as “Hari Rebo Kliwon Wuku Dungulan” Galungan is a day on which battle beween good (Darma) and evil (Adharma) is commemorated. Every year on the day of Galungan all the sacred dance masks in Gianyar district are brought to the temple of Tirta Empul to be bathed in holy water. The holy springs Temple at Tirta Empul are believed to have magical powers where most of the Balinese do the purification so the temple here is an important one. Despite its antiquity, the temple is glossy and gleaming new – it was totally restored in the late 60s.
The inscription mentions the construction of Tirta Empul temple in 960 AD, when the king Chandrabhaya Singha Warmadewa ordered this which is already 1042 years ago. It seems that this place was not interesting for ancient king but the first Indonesian president Soekarno had built his presidential villas just at the west side of the temple. This villa has brought also the name of Tampaksiring become known world widely. The present temple as a common temple of Bali, the layout is divided into 3 courtyards. At the middle courtyard is constructed and first courtyards were constructed:
1. Pool with 13 fountains, used as holy water for cremation or dead ceremony,
2. Pool with 8 fountains, used as water for symbolic cleaning ( spiritual purification ), when a person is sick it is believed he is infected by immaterial dirt.
3. Pool with 5 fountains for holy water used people from outside come to pray.
At the first courtyard is also a pool for public bathing place.
Total numbers of shrines are 30 nits currently, after later addition by local people who have the responsibility for the temple. The ceremony is performed every 210 days, and fixed date can be read in Balinese calendar. There is an old stone sculpture being preserved at the last courtyard of the temple in the form of buffalo. The condition of the carving is badly damage, so it can not be observed in detail to fix the type. Buffalo in the pantheon of Hindu is considered as the mount of god Shiwa and this animal is called ” Nandi
What you can see around Tirta Empul Temple :
1. Gunung Kawi Sebatu, this temple was built in homage to the God of preserver (Wisnu), who rules over water, and here one finds a number of natural spring and waterspouts. The Balinese believe that water is one of the forces of life. The etymology of Gunung Kawi means a fabricated mountain.
2. Gunung Kawi Tampaksiring, in the bottom of this lush green valley is one of Bali’s oldest and largest ancient monuments. Gunung Kawi consists of 10 rock-cut Candi (shrines): memorials cut out of the rock face in imitation of actual statues. They stand in 7m/23ft-high sheltered niches cut into the sheer cliff face.
3. Goa Gajah (Elephant Cave) located two kilometers east of Ubud , this complex overlooks the Petanu river and consists of a SiSwati rock-cut cave, a bathing place, a monks’ chamber, a number of Buddhists rock cut Stupa and statues , and several foundations.
4. Taro Elephant Safari Park was officially opened by the Minister of Tourism in the year 2000 after three years of development. An official member of the World Zoo Association, the Park meets International Standards for animal care and is set in more than 2 hectares of exotic eco tourism landscaped botanical gardens, surrounded by national forest.