Tirtagangga is situated at Ababi Village, Abang District. It is about 83 km from Denpasar and 6 km from Amlapura to the north.
Tirta Gangga Royal Water Garden is composed mainly by water, plants and sculptures. It is situated in the middle of rice fields around the natural springs of Rejasa, approximately 7 km. (5 miles) north of Amlapura, the main town of east Bali, Indonesia. Tirta Gangga is a well-known cultural object of Bali. It belongs to the royal family of Karangasem. The area of the water garden is about 1.2 ha (3 acres), consisting of three levels of ground stretching from east to west. On the highest northern Swah level there are the spring under the Banyan tree, the upper swimming pool and two decorative ponds, one with four fountains reminiscent of Versailles, and the other with Victoria lotuses.
The first thing one sees when entering the garden is the elegant eleven-tiered Nawa Sanga fountain which rises from the middle of the complex. This fountain together with the two ponds forms the middle Bwah level. The larger lowest Bhur level, on the left side of the straight foot path running from the entrance to the west, is occupied by the big South pond with the long Demon Island in the middle.
Holy Water :
The water from one of the natural springs of Tirta Gangga has always been regarded as holy. It is used for religious ceremonies in the temples in the area until today. Tirta means blessed water, gangga cames from Ganges, the holy river in India. The holy water is required for ceremonies of the temples in the surrounding as far as Tirta Gangga can be reached by foot. At certain celebration days the people from the villages around will come in colourful processions with offerings, umbrellas, flags and other attributes. Led by their temple priest they hold ceremonies around the spring under the sounds of hymns and the music of the beleganjur.The springs have a huge output of pure water. The water is first led to a reservoir where it is divided in two parts. One third provides drinking water for the town Amlapura. The remainder goes into the upper swimming pool through an underground pipe. The overflow of water goes into the lower swimming pool, the other ponds and finally to the rice fields.
Brief History :
In 1948 Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (first King of Karangasem built a water garden complex which he gave the name Tirta Gangga. The religious function of the spring, the cool climate and the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills inspired him to build recreational water garden for himself and his people. Making water garden of all sorts had always been his hobby. He not only did all the designing himself, but he also used to work together with his labourers, digging in the ground, standing knee deep in the water, dirty with mud. It was always a great surprise for the visitors after some time looking at the work in progress to discover the tiny figure of the Raja among the workers. People liked it and it was one of his many charming traits.The construction of the water garden had been severe interrupted by the eruption of the Mount Agung which lasted from February to September, 1963. A series of eruptions occurred during those months.
Lava and hot ash from the mountains had killed all vegetation. The grounds had not been affected by the lava flows which found their way along the valleys to the east and to the west of the complex. However, what had been built thus far was for the greater part destroyed by earthquakes of more and less severity during all those months. In addition to the natural disaster vandalism done by people who fled their villages and had no food had taken its heavy toll. The Raja family took refuge to saver place on the island. Tirta Gangga was abandoned and fell pray to looting. Everything that could be taken away and sold such as furniture, windows, tiles, pipes, Chinese porcelain, flower pots, statues and so on disappeared in the course of time. When after about ten months the calamity was over the Raja returned, only to find the beautiful garden in ruins.
There was no money for rebuilding the ponds and structures. With the introduction of the Land Reform Bill the Rajas, like all the other great land owners, had lost their means for extravagant undertakings. The rehabilitation of Tirta Gangga could only be done in a very frugal and haphazard manner. Since 1979, after a long duty period abroad, my father supervised the rehabilitation of the garden. With a slight increase of the entrance fees in 1985 a little bit could be accomplished. With the help of the local government the upper swimming pool was rehabilitated. Little by little the water garden are coming into a better shape.
As my father become older, he was less capable in supervising the garden. In the nineties deterioration started again as very little maintenance was executed. During a walk in 1999, while overwhelmed by the majestic Banyan tree of the garden, I received a vision to transform the distressing state into the one of splendor. This vision was the reason why I found the foundation, drawn up the master plan, build this website and seek for donation to be able to restore the garden until the present shape.
What you can see around Tirta Gangga :
1. Taman Ujung Water Palace, which by the local people is called as Taman Soekasada Ujung, was built in 1919. However, the launching of this complex of water palace was performed in 1912. The water palace was constructed by the late King of Karangasem, I Gusti Bagus Jelantik, which reigned in Karangasem between 1909 and 1945.
2. Candidasa is well known for its shiny white sand. Tourism industry flourishes significantly in this area that background by the Indonesian Ocean. From this place, we will see Lombok Island and Nusa Penida in a distance and the sparkling light of “Jukung” or traditional boat at night that will always draw us to come again.
3. Tenganan Pegeringsingan, As an ancient village, Tenganan Pegeringsingan is identical with religious activities. Many temple festivals performed in this village that attract visitors to come. The most famous one is “Mekare-kare” or “Perang Pandan”. This is a ceremonial fight or war using thorny pandanous leaves as the weapon.