Faces of Bali - Tirta Empul
Tampaksiring is the name of a small village 36 Km from Denpasar on the road to Kintamani. The temple Pura Tirta Empul, bequeathed to the people by ancient Rajadom, is perhaps the most fascinating spot in the area. On the west side of this temple, high on the hill, can be found a Presidential palace that was built during Sukarno’s time. The name “ Tirta Empul” derives from large spring in the centre of the temple “Tirta” means holy water and “Tirta Empul” is holy spring water. This water originates from the Pakerisan river to the East of the temple, that flows through the entire valleys past relies of ancient time. The temple was built around 960 AD, during the rule of Raja Candra Bhayasingha from the Warmadewa dynasty. Conforming with the structure of most Balinese temple, it is devided into three main court yard, the middle, and the inner sanctum.
Backing the outer courtyard can be found two rectangular pools, each fed by a line of 15 fountains. Stretching from East to West and to the south. Each fountain has its own name and function according to tradition. For example there is fountain for spiritual purification, another for cleansing from evils, another supposed to be an antidote for poison. The “Pancoran Cetik” or “Fountain for poison” is connected to the mytological battle between Mayadanawa raja Batu Anyar, of Bedahulu, and Bhatara Indra. In the ancient tale the Raja Mayadanawa was such a tyrant he forbade the people to carry out their religiond ceremonies the request the blessing of God. The gods heard about this tyranny, and led by Indra they attacked Mayadanawa. In the end lost the battle and ran away to hide in the forest to the north of the village of Tampaksiring. With his magic powers, created a spring of poison, which caused many deaths amongst Indra’s troops who drank from the spring. In fury Bhatara Indra drove his spear into the ground at the poin where the spring was bubbling up, rerouting it to come out through the centre of Tirta Empul. This holy water was used to splash upon the afflicted Gods and revive them from the grasps of death. This mythology is possible connected to the influence of the Majapahit Kingdom of East Java. The expedition of Patih (Minister) Gajah Mada and members of the Majapahit court to Bali in 1343 is symbolized as Bhatara Indra, and the Evil Raja Mayadanawa as Bhatara Sri Astasura Bhumi Bante. According to the belief of the Balinese people this myth is also connected to the Galungan ceremony that is celebrated every 6 moths (210 days) according to the Balinese calendar, on a day known as ‘Hari Rebo Keliwon Wuku Dungulan”.