Tirta Empul, Bali, is one of the largest and busiest water temples in Indonesia. The temple was founded in 926 A.D. and is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu god of water. The name of the temple actually means ‘holy water spring’ in Balinese.
If you’re planning to visit Tirta Empul, check out:
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Overlooking the temple complex is a presidential palace that was built for Soekarno, the first President of Indonesia, in 1954. The government palace is now used as a place to host visiting dignitaries and important guests.
How to Get There
Tirta Empul is located close to the town of Tampaksiring in the village of Manukaya. The village is a 30-minute drive to the north of Ubud. Tirta Empul is clearly signposted from the town of Tampaksiring. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said if you are coming cross-country from the village of Sebatu.
The entrance to Tirta Empul is set away from the main road. There’s a large car park in the front of the temple, which is always full of tour buses and cars. You will need to put on a sarong before you can enter the temple. You can rent a sarong for a small donation at the entrance to the temple.
Like many of the temples around Ubud, Tirta Empul is open seven days a week. The opening hours for the temple are between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. The entrance fee is Rp 15,000 for an adult and Rp 7,500 for a child for locals and Rp50,000 per person for foreigners.
Tirta Empul Holy Water Temple
Tirta Empul is a large temple complex and it takes at least 30 minutes to an hour to explore the entire site. There are four main parts to the temple. As soon as you pay the entrance fee for the temple you walk through the large stone Balinese doorway and arrive in the central courtyard of the temple. This area of the temple is called ‘Jaba Pura.’
The Central Courtyard
The central courtyard of Tirta Empul is a large open space paved underneath with worn stone. The courtyard is enclosed on three sides by large stone walls. Dominating the right side of the courtyard is a large open-air pavilion.
Tourists mingle in small groups around the courtyard and local sellers gather around offering small bananas to tourists. At the end of the courtyard are two large doorways built into the wall. If you walk through this doorway you arrive in the inner courtyard.
The Jaba Tengah is the most famous part of Tirta Empul temple. This section contains the two purification pools. The water in the pools is believed to have magical powers and local Balinese come here to purify themselves under the 30 water spouts that feed the pools.
When I visited Tirta Empul the central yard was overflowing with people. It was like a cross section of Bali in a space no more than five meters wide and 20 meters long. Tourists from every country stood along the edges of the pools taking photos. Local Balinese and Hindu worshippers stood in long snaking lines in the pools, waiting to dip their heads below the water spouts.
As you stand in the inner courtyard you’ll quickly notice that the people in the baths follow a purification ritual. Bathers start in the pool on the left and dip themselves under the first water spout. Once they have cleansed themselves under the first spout they join the next queue. They continue this process until they have been cleansed under each of the 30 waterspouts that fill the two purification pools.
Behind the purification pools is the final section of Tirta Empul holy water temple, the Jeroan. The Jeroan, or ‘inner courtyard’ is overlooked by most of the tourists who visit Tirta Empul. It’s a nice place to visit and relax after the hustle and bustle of the purification pools.
The inner courtyard is where people come to pray. The front part of the courtyard is dominated by the large water spring that feeds the purification pools. The spring is filled with green algae and small fish swim between the reeds. Behind the spring are large Hindu shrines.
This part of the temple is nice to quickly explore. The shrines are brightly decorated, which contrasts with the starched white clothing of the Balinese who come here to pray. It’s a nice place to take photos or just sit down and relax for a few minutes.
The Koi Pool
As you exit Tirta Empul water temple you pass through the final section, the large koi pool. This section of the temple is walled off on all four sides from the rest of the complex, which gives it a calm and relaxing atmosphere. Fat koi swim lazily in the pond waiting for their next meal from the tourists.
On the right hand side of the pond is a row of small stalls selling the usual mix of tourist trinkets. I’d avoid shopping here and just go straight to the exit of the temple.
I liked visiting Tirta Empul water temple. This is definitely one of the busiest temples that I have visited in Bali. It was interesting to see what an active temple is like, to see people praying and bathing under the waterspouts.
If you’re planning to go to Tirta Empul I’d definitely recommend combining it with a visit to one of the other temples nearby. Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu is a nice option as it’s very calm. I’d also recommend Pura Gunung Kawi, which is located very close to Tirta Empul.
Have you visited Tirta Empul? Did you enjoy your visit to the temple? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
I love Indonesia.. i’m so proud being an Indonesian… so beautiful. Thanks for sharing.
been here before this place is exotic yet beautiful 😉
Totally agree with you 😉 Thank you for stopping by here.
Thanks for all these info. Can you please help find out why some spring gauge are not being used for the cleansing ceremony?
I took part in the long snake queue just last week and i followed the locals in front of me and they all had skipped two of the first 15 springs. Also only one spring gauge was allowed to general public in the second pool. Maybe you should also write about the legends of why this temple was built etc.
There are two water spouts in the first pool that are only used for funeral ceremonies. This is why you can’t use them. In the second pool, some of the spouts are being used for symbolically cleaning goods (like a motorbike or something) and other ceremonies.
We went to the temple today and definitely the best place we visited all day. We did the mistake of going to those two empty fountains and praying there until someone asked us not to do it. We had no idea about it. Now we know.
Hi, I’m glad to know that you enjoyed the temple.
Yes, I would recommend getting a guide if you want to perform prayers.
when i went to Bali i had no time to visit this place.
maybe next time 🙂 because it looks great!
Do come early morning to avoid the crowd 🙂
The temple and the lake miraculous. One must see for anyone visiting Bali. I went there one week back and did the rituals. It was one of my lifetime experience and I was enchanted. Swasti Astu. …
It’s a really beautiful temple, I agree Shamanta.
I agree with you Shamanta. You will not regret to visit Bali island over and over again to enjoy the beauty of it. You can do the ritual like “melukat” or purify your soul there if you are not in your period. About the lake, you can throw a coin to the lake and make a wish.
The referenced entry fee is for locals. Foreign visitors pay a much larger admission. Not prohibitively expensive but more than is advertised here.
Thanks for the info. I just realised that the tickets info was for locals only.
I have updated the article.
i love bali, every year i do hide my self to bali. I know this temple but had no time to explore, but if i come down there, may i join the holy bath there? Is it only for local or anyone can join for a cleanse. I really wanted to know about this holy bath before i proceed or travel in Bali again.
Hi Anna. You can join the bath at Tirta Empul. It is not just for locals.
I’m so glad I stumbled across your site! It’s so informative.
I love Bali so much, I’ve lived there, actually, I love all of Indonesia. Can you believe I haven’t visited Tirta Empul Temple yet?
By the way, you describe it, I think it must be one of the most underrated temples in Bali, am I right? On TripAdvisor etc, everyone gives this temple such a great rating, but when I was in Bali I was only recommended to visit Tanah Lot, Uluwatu, Besakih etc…. I’ll definitely visit here next time I’m there!
Hi Emrah. So happy to hear you like the site. You should definitely visit Tirta Empul. It’s one of my favourite temples in Bali.
Can we have information about Jaba Pura?
I don’t know that much about it. I suggest to visit the site and get a local guide.
Hi, I am Gede from Bali.
I was doing research through the Internet and I found out one of your article are wrong.
The first paragraph that included “and is dedicated to Vishnu, who is the Hindu god of water”, are totally wrong.
First, God of Water in Hindu is Varuna/Baruna in Indonesian.
Second, the Temple dedicated to God Indra (God of War).
The story is (what I got from the school), Bhatara Indra when he was at war with the king of Mayanadenawa from Bedahulu, In a state of urgency, Mayanadenawa created a poisonous spring (Yeh Cetik) to destroy the Bhatara Indra troops. It turned out that his tactics were successful, because of exhaustion due to constant warfare, eventually many Bhatara Indra troops drank Yeh Cetik. Not a few Bhatara Indra troops were poisoned by drinking the poisoned water. As a result of these cunning tactics, the strength of Bhatara Indra’s army was greatly reduced. To deal with the problem, Bhatara Indra then plunged a penny-shaped weapon into the ground. Immediately there appeared a spring that was enveloped upwards from the king’s weapon. After drinking the spring, Bhatara Indra’s troops were able to recover as usual. Centuries later the springs were laid out and perfected into a water park by Raja Indrajaya Sigha Warmadewa in 882 çaka and given the name “Tirta Ri Air Hampul” or “Tirta Empul” which meant a rising Pathirtaan.
I really appreciated you wrote something about Bali, but please make some research first before posting it.
Om shanti, Santhi, shanti, Om
Hi I Gede Antariksa,
Thanks I appreciate the correction and the addition to my knowledge 🙂 Have a good day.
What time does Tirta Empul Temple open on December 25, 2018?
I’m not sure to be honest.. I read it online that they open either at 7 or 8 am, but some people that do the Melukat, some of them come earlier, like at 6 am.
Planning on visiting this beautiful temple in May. My itinerary is jammed pack and the only time I can visit this temple will be in the afternoon like at 12pm. I keep seeing that the best time to visit is early morning so now Im worried I wont have enough time and the place will be super crowded. Is 1-2 hours enough time to see the temple?
Yes 1-2 hours is enough to explore the temple. Hope you have a great time.
Hi, im going to bali next week and tirta empul is on my itinerary in the morning. I just wonder is it necessary to get a guide to do the cleansing bath or i can just perform it myself ? Because most of the website says its better to get a guide. Im travelling by my own and i didnt book any tour as well. Is the ritual very complicated ?
Hi Vel, please arrive in the morning (as early as 6 am maybe). There is the pedanda (ritual leader) at each temple, but sometimes if it is too busy/crowded then the ritual leader will not have enough attention for each ritual participant. So arrive early is better.
Hope you have a great time in Bali.
The most magical place I been !! Also since I was there my life completely changed!! I truly believe that purification ritual was magical and powerful also helping us to open so mane gates !!!