|Look at the astonishing ornate stone work - Babes in the front yard of Tirta Empul|
Our next stop in Bali on the second day of setting foot in the beautiful land of Gods was yet another Hindu Balinese temple which is known as Holy spring water Temple aka Pura Tirta Empul.
Rich in its heritage this temple also had opulent stone artwork reminding us of the culture, practices and the age-old Balinese kingdoms that ruled Bali.
This temple was built around 960 AD and is a national cultural heritage site. And there was so much water and water sources in this temple that, unequivocally did justice to the name of the temple.
Like every other temple in Bali, Pura Tirta Empul, also had a Split Gateway also called as the Candi Bentar. This is a classical Balinese Gateway, split perfectly into two, symmetrically, creating a passage for people to walk through. We must have seen hundreds of these split Gateways all through our travel in Bali and we have taken so many pictures in front of them. The Candi Bentar is usually in an elevated place with a flight of stairs taking the people to it and acts as an boundary between the outer world and the inner realm of an Hindu temple.
|The four of us with Tirta Empul's Candi Bentar in the background|
|The four of us again - Zig Zag posing ( notice all of us adhering to the dress codes of the temple?)|
|The sculpted water spouts used for purification|
As is common with Balinese temples, Pura Tirta Empul had three complexes, the front courtyard, the central and the inner courtyard. The front courtyard is a vast walled one, welcoming us to the bathing pools. The central courtyard has a rectangular purification bath, with 13 elaborately sculpted spouts, that line the edge of the wall. We saw numerous foreigners who had their hands pressed together solemnly offering prayers and bowing under the gushing water spouts starting from 1 to 11. The last two are meant for purification purposes in funerary rites. ( Thanks to our Guide Kevin, we would get these inputs intermittently).
The water was crystal clear and the ground of the tank was layered with pebbles and it was such a pleasant sight. It was a hot day and though we were tempted to get down into the water, in the purifying tank, we held our horses, as we didn’t have much time to change and we had a long day ahead and a lot more places to cover.
This is where Sudha started chanting mantras and she purified herself by sprinkling some water on her head, while we all watched the foreigners (mostly westerners) in awe at their sincerity in prayers. There were groups of them who had a Hindu priest (obviously!) with them and were chanting prayers religiously. Oh not just that – we also clicked some pictures of some westerners who had elaborate colourful tattoos on their entire upper bodies.
The water here is supposedly curative and purifying
and we also went to the inner courtyard that also has a ground water spring
which kept spewing water gently and deliberately that it created nice water
ripples that we could watch. This bubbling spring was totally walled and we had
to see from a distance, but the view was worth it. Never seen an active
underwater spring before.
Pura Tirta Empul also has a Presidential palace to its
right and somehow the modern concrete structure, albeit its beauty, didn’t sync
with the traditional ambiance and architecture of the temple. Thankfully the
presidential palace was on the right side, on a higher plane and was unobtrusive
to the temple view from wherever we were.
|Look at that elaborate and artistic Tattooed body!|
|Curative holy water spring!|
|Falling in love with the Gargoyles of Bali.|
I realised, every temple visit in Bali, expanded my perspective of religion, and helped me broaden my horizons about the oneness of the concept of God.