Today’s Bali Photos of the day feature the sacred springs of Tirta Empul. The holy springs are located at Tempak Siring Temple.
As with many aspects of Balinese history, religion and holy sites, there are several explanations and legends involved.
Several things about the holy springs of Tirta Empul are for certain. The Balinese Hindus flock to the clean cool springs because they believe the springs offer wellness and have magical curative properties. We know from an inscription, as well as carbon dating, that the temple itself was constructed on the site of the natural spring in 926 A.D. during the rule of Warmadewa.
The Tirta Empul Temple is of a traditional style and includes shrines to Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, as well as one for Indra and Mount Batur. It is considered one of the five or six most holy temples in all of Bali and is perhaps the most holy water source (the other being Pura Ulun Danu Bratan).
In the inner courtyard of the temple is a large walled off rectangle that houses the spring itself. The water is fed into a series of fountains in which the devout balinese Hindus will ceremoniously bathe (with the exception of one fountain which is kept for the deceased). Worshipers will first make an offering at the main temple and then proceed to the 15 fountains and allow it to wash over them four to thirteen times.
We also know that the name Tampak Siring comes from two Balinese terms. Tampak in Bahasa Bali means palm but can also refer to the ‘palm’ or sole of the foot and the Balinese word siring means angled or tilted.
Here is where there is some debate. The prevailing legend comes from an epic battle between a powerful and magical king named Mayadenawa and the God Indra. Mayadenawa possessed the spiritual power to transform himself into any form he desired. But he became careless with his powers and used them for black magic. Indra took exception to this and brought his army to right the wrongs of the evil King. Mayadenawa caught wind of the plan and snuck into Indra’s camp as the army slept. He created a beautiful but poisonous pond that the army would drink from upon their awakening.
As Mayadenawa snuck into the camp, he walked on the sides of his feet so as not to leave footprints- thus the name Tampak Siring or tilted palm. In the morning Indra awoke to find many of his men dead and scores more sick and dying. It was then, with mighty power that the God Indra piercing the ground with his staff and created the sacred healing spring of holy water.
The Wellness Retreats offered at Floating Leaf Eco-Resort often feature trips to the sacred springs of Tempak Siring and some groups are able to partake in special private cleansing ceremonies called Melukat at the temple and springs lead by a Balinese Hindu Pedanda (Healer or high priest). Contact us today to find out about upcoming retreats.