Pura Tirta Empul, Tampaksiring
Finally I’m getting to have a spiritual cleanse in these waters after missing out on my last two trips to Bali.
Spare change: Check.
Swim wear: Check.
Offerings: Chee…no, not checked. I have none. Looks like I have to purchase some on the way or at the temple.
It’s customary that everyone who wishes to ‘bath’ in these pools to bring an offering for the gods. You would need 2 sets minimum, one for the alter right in front of the first bathing pool, and the second when you are at the first watering spout (when you are in the pool of course).
We paid our entrance fee, Rp. 15,000 per person, and I soon made my way to the changing area where a sarong and locker can be rented. It’s a custom to tie a sarong when you want to get into the pool. If not, you’re not getting in, that’s for sure.
Lord Indra heard the cries of the people and descended from heaven to earth on a mission to kill Mayadenawa. Upon hearing this, Mayadenawa fled. Mayadenawa then poisoned Lord Indra’s troops, obviously angering Lord Indra further. To cure the poisoned troops, Lord Indra strikes the ground and out gushed water that’s used as an antidote to cure the troops. And that antidote or holy water is what flows at Tirta Empul.
Long story, eh?
Anyways, since the source of the water comes from the ground, it’s constantly cool and fresh. And it tastes good too! The sky was clear and blue as ever and the midday sun was blazing hot, but as soon as I dip my feet into the pool, I felt chilly. The water is amazingly cool regardless of the sun blaring upon it.
I was told later that it was a funeral procession taking place. Oops...
As soon as I was done with the purifying ritual, I got changed and headed to visit the temple. Little did I know that to pray, you’d have to be dressed in traditional Balinese Sarong and Kebaya, if not you’re not allowed into the praying chamber to pray at all!
The time I went, the temple grounds were not as crowded, I was told that during the full moon, it could take up to two hours to bath in these pools. Also, there are special ritual prayers that take place here every 6 months.
If anything, this is one of my favourite temples in Bali, purely because you can partake in the cleansing ceremony as compared to other temples where you are just a visiting tourist doing nothing but take pictures and walk on.
Pura Tanah Lot, Tabanan
Tanah Lot must be one of the most famous postcard picture that is used to promote Bali. So much so tourist pour in, in the bus load (for once, I am not exaggerating) to visit this place and take lots of pictures.
This temple, as you know is set on a rock at sea. It is said that during the 15 century, a priest named Nirartha believed that the rock was a holy place to worship the Balinese sea gods.
He was traveling along these parts of the coast when he set his eyes on the beauty of the rock island and decided to rest here from his journey. A few fishermen saw him and brought the priest gifts. The priest carried on to stay a night and come morning he told the fisherman to build a shire on the rock as he felt it was a holy place.
Of course it’s a beautiful setting apart from the tourist. At the base of the temple, there is a holy spring where you can get blessed. Its up to you to donate a small amount of money, but I can assure you that your donation goes towards the restoration of the temple. Again I couldn’t get up to the top of the rock temple as I wasn’t in traditional costume and I have to pray.
If you have the time you can get down to the beach. You’ll see a few surfers out on the break as the waters here are said to be good for beginners. The grounds are really pretty if anything but on a hot blazing day like this, it can get a tiny bit uncomfortable.