Pura Tirta Empul
The next morning four of us met up with the intention of heading to Pura Tirta Empul. This is a Hindu Balinese water temple located about 40-60 minutes (depending on traffic) from the town of Ubud. We hopped on our motorbikes and started the 15 km trip to the temple. Upon arriving we paid the parking and entrance fee and received our sarongs. We walked into the temple and got ready to get into the water. It turns out the sarongs we received for free were not to enter the water. So we had to pay to rent sarongs that were allowed in. Not knowing what we were meant to do, we asked a local and he asked us which ceremony we wanted to do, the simple or the full. We all decided on the full ceremony and he explained to us the full process. First we were to spend some time meditating before entering the water. Then we were to enter the first purification pool and start at the left-most spout. At the first spout we were to take three sips of water, dunk our heads three times, and then put our whole body under the water for as long as we could hold our breath. We were to repeat this for the first ten spouts, skip the 11th and 12th, and then repeat the ritual on the 13th. From there we were to enter the second purification pool to the right. We then repeated the same ritual for the spouts in the second pool. Finally we were to enter the third purification pool and repeat the ritual on the first spout. After that we would have finished the full ceremony. Being that we were in the water for the majority of time, I only have a few pictures from our time there.
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Our group for the day. A Serbian/Australian living in Nepal, a Russian living in America, an Italian living in Spain, and an American who doesn’t really live anywhere.
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The first purification pool. I don’t know how I was so lucky to get a picture with only one person in it.
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Say what you’d like, but after doing the full ritual I felt an amazing change. I believe that there is something special about these pools and the ritual. After finishing the ritual, all four of us, without speaking to each other, sat down and meditated again. After we discussed our experiences and we all agreed that the first few spouts we felt nothing special, but by around the 7th spout we all felt something. It continued until the end of the ritual, and we each felt truly purified at the end.
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Behind the pools there is another part of the temple where another ritual was being performed.
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I’m not sure what was going on, but it was fascinating to watch.
After all the time I spent in Bali, Pura Tirta Empul ranks as one of my favorite places. It may be a large tourist attraction, but I believe that not many people go through the whole purification process. To most it is simply a nice view and a new cultural experience. For others, it can truly be an eye-opening experience at a whole different level.