Photo: Join the queue.

Tirta Empul

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If you’re Balinese and it’s your birthday, chances are you’ll be heading to Tirta Empul Holy Springs for a ritual purification. The baths here are Bali’s oldest and most sacred, and pilgrims flock from all over Bali for the magical curative and spiritually cleansing waters.

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The Springs are the source of the Pakrisan River, which flows south passing the neighbouring antiquity of Gunung Kawi, and the surrounding temple complex here was built in the Saka (Balinese calendar) year 882 (around 960 AD) during the Warmadewa Dynasty.

Tourists welcome. Photo taken in or around Tirta Empul, Ubud, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Tourists welcome. Photo: Sally Arnold

Legend tells that the springs were created by the God Indra who thrust his staff into the ground to tap amerta (the elixir of life) to reincarnate his troops poisoned by the demon King Mayadanawa. The battles between Indra and Mayadanawa are the origins of many place names in Bali, Tampaksiring (the village in which both Tirta Empul and Gunung Kawi are located) translates to “oblique impression” and illustrates an episode when fleeing Mayadanawa left his footprints upon ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 600 words.)

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