Bali’s most popular sacred spring, Tirta Empul Temple dates back more than 1,000 years. Travelers from around the globe flock to its holy waters to bathe beside Balinese pilgrims; accept blessings from healers, priests, and shamans; or simply soak up the atmosphere. The temple is northeast of Ubud in Tampaksiring, not far from Gunung Kawi.
Tirta Empul Temple is easy to visit independently yet is also a very popular stop for Bali tours, large and small. (In general, due to heavy traffic, winding roads, and language barriers, booking a private guide or joining an organized tour can help you get the most out of your Bali trip.) Prebooking a tour is one of the easiest ways to enjoy a Balinese Hindu water blessing. To check off several of Ubud’s most celebrated temples in a single day, many Bali temple tours include a stop at Tirta Empul.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Tirta Empul’s bathing pools make it a popular choice for photographers, and anyone with an interest in Balinese spirituality.
- Entry to the temple requires a small fee.
- Sacred springs should be treated with respect. While sarongs are available for a modest fee, all visitors should wear tops that cover their shoulders.
- Balinese Hinduism prohibits menstruating women from entering temples of any kind. Please honor this requirement.
- As with most Balinese temples, Tirta Empul includes steps and is not suitable for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Tirta Empul Temple lies about 9.5 miles (15 kilometers) northeast of Ubud in the village of Tampaksiring. Unless you speak Indonesian and have a lot of time, private transportation is essential.
When to Get There
Balinese Hindu temples generally host ceremonies on the full moon, new moon, and other auspicious days calculated on a complicated calendar. Around these times, and during the Balinese festivals of Galungan and Kuningan, Tirta Empul Temple gets very busy. Any day you visit, come early to catch the temple at its best as worshippers start to arrive and make their offerings.
The Legend of Life
Balinese lore relates that when the god Indra did battle with the demon king Mayadanawa, he tapped the elixir of life from the ground at Tirta Empul. As such, Tirta Empul—just one of many holy water temples on Bali—is sacred to Balinese, who visit on their birthdays, and a key part of Bali’s subak irrigation system, a UNESCO World Heritage landmark.