Bathe in Holy Waters at Tirta Empul Water Temple
Balinese people have taken ritual baths in the waters of Tirta Empul since it was founded in 962. The waters are believed to have healing powers, both physically and spiritually, so people come from all over the island to purify themselves under spouts of cool water in the long stone pools. Worshipers place offerings or say a prayer at each of the spouts from west to east. Nonworshipers can bathe, too, and the experience can be very moving (be aware that the last of the spouts in the first pool are reserved for purification after funerary rites). As at any Balinese temple, you must be respectful of Hindu rules and traditions. Menstruating women should not go inside any temple, and all visitors must wear a sarong and sash while on temple grounds, even while bathing. Men can go shirtless in the pools. There are changing rooms, so don't forget to bring an extra set of clothes. Tirta Empul, 25 minutes outside of Ubud, is very close to Gunung Kawi, another religious site worth a visit.
By Hannah Wijana, AFAR Local Expert
Jl. Tirta, Manukaya, Tampaksiring, Kabupaten Gianyar, Bali 80552, Indonesia