Tirta Empul is located about 15 minutes from the centre of Ubud & is a temple of great significance to Balinese Hindus. Tirta meaning "holy" & Empul "from the ground" this sacred temple is a place where locals & tourists alike, gather to pray & partake in cleansing & purification rituals. The natural spring water here is believed to have healing properties that can cure ailments, prevent bad thoughts or dreams and according to the Balinese is an eternal fountain of youth to rejuvenate the body, mind & spirit. I have participated in the purification ritual myself many times now & offer this to all the women on my tours. This group back in May 2017 was the first group I had taken here.
Upon arriving at Tirta Empul on this particular day we were greeted by the sound of bells & drums & we were all in awe as we witnessed the most amazing spectacle of a ceremony procession as it snaked its way from the top of the hill right down into the temple grounds. They bought items from the temple that were to be blessed & cleansed because this day was Purnama, or full moon.
As we entered the temple we become acutely aware of the surprising mix of humanity gathered here. A real melting pot of local Balinese Hindus, foreign Hindus, men & women on retreat or sabbatical & curious tourists alike.
In a sign of respect we are required to wear a sarong & sash before entering the inner temple.
We first place offerings on the alter & bow our heads in silence to ask permission to enter the pools. We enter the first & larger of the pools to begin the purification ritual where we then moved through a series of three pools in significant order. The physical action of washing away thoughts & feelings that may have been holding you back is exhilarating. It was a symbolic time for the women to let go of those thoughts & anything else that may have been weighing them down or being a road block to living authentically was uplifting. A ritual to cleanse the mind, body & spirit.
If you can, spend some time wandering the temple grounds & marvel at the intricately carved statues & buildings adorned with thatched roofs and elegantly carved timber painted in gold that symbolise wealth. You might even hear a Hindu priest chanting the order of the prayer ritual & ringing of bells. And be sure you check out the pond with some of the biggest Coi Fish I have ever seen.
Check out the size of those Coi Fish!
There is something very special about this experience & difficult to actually put into words but grateful, content & blessed for the opportunity are a few that do come to mind. No matter what the reason is for participating this day & where they are on their journey all the ladies agreed that it was a deeply uplifting & spiritual experience & one they will remember for a very long time.