Tirta Empul is a water temple in Tampak Siring village, Gianyar district, founded around the year 960. The date and temple history are recorded in an ancient Balinese lontar book, the Usana Bali.
Once a “holy” king named Mayadenawa ruled this region of Bali. Because he was haughty and treated his subjects badly, God Indra decided to intervene and sent his divine troops in human form. King Mayadenawa got wind of the attack and fled into the forest. Before doing so, however, he had created a poisoned spring to kill the troops of the divine army. In fact, some divine warriors in human form drank from this spring and died.
Enraged, God Indra watched what was happening. He personally came to the battle site and created a second spring with healing powers. When the corpses came into contact with the water, they came back to life. King Mayadenawa was also overcome.
The spring that God Indra had created is the sacred spring Tirta Empul. The spring water in the temple gives healing to the people who trust the holy place.
This spring also irrigates many rice fields through the Balinese irrigation system, which allows the natural water to be distributed in the cultivated land.
There are a multitude of stone water spouts through which the water splashes into the two basins. People enter the water in temple clothing and pray at almost every outlet. This is the purification ritual.
Some outlets have special functions and should not be used. Best practice is to ask one of the priests present which outlets to skip.
Afterwards, the Balinese pray in the temple area, which is slightly elevated above the two water basins. This place is not open to tourists. Visitors who want to pray there must be dressed in proper temple cloths (Bali adat); foreigners need to be accompanied by Balinese.
Tirta Empul is an important place for devout Balinese. People of any religion seeking healing can also seek healing from physical and psychological ailments there, dressed appropriately.
Full moon and new moon are auspicious days in Bali when many Balinese purify themselves at Tirta Empul.
I have been to Tirta Empul several times to seek healing. Often I asked for healing from holding on to my past. I am in good health, otherwise I would certainly have asked for it.
So far I have always been there with a priest who also brings the appropriate offerings. I have two sets of temple clothes with me so that I can change after the purification ritual. Fully clothed, Adat Bali, we proceed to the water basin. At each water spout, I pray, bend under the water stream three times and take three sips of the spring water from the water spout. After changing in the changing rooms, we pray in the higher temple of the temple complex.
The painting came out of my feeling of gratitude for this place and the experience of being blessed and strengthened.