Tirtha Empul


Beyond Tampaksiring’s last houses a road leads to the famous watering place Tirtha Empul. A general survey of the situation is available from the rest house high above the sacred spring, reachable by steps. In a nearby pura, the Pura Sakenan in the village of Manukaya, an inscribed stone mentions the name Tirtha di (air) mpul, which was founded by Sang Ratu (Sri) Candra Bhaya Singha Varmadewa in the territory of the village of Manuk Raya. The inscription, in Old Balinese, covers both sides of the stone. Much damaged and not yet fully or reliably deciphered it apparently refers to the formation or two ponds here. The text is dated 882 (=960 A.D., according to Damais; Stutterheim and Goris read 884 = 962). Tirtha Empul is still, for all Gianyar most sacred. Once a year all Gianyar barong dance clubs went there to bathe their barong masks. While editing the Manukaya inscription Stutterheim related that every year on the exact date of Tirtha Empul’s foundation, on purnama ning kapat (full moon of Kartika, the fourth month) their inscribed atone was brought for bathing. This may be one reason it is so badly worn. Since nobody knew the inscription’s contents before stutterheim read it, this date must have been handed down by oral tradition. Recently the stone is brought down much less regularly. 
 Tirtha Empul is worth visiting for its sacred wells, which make out part of the Pakerisan’s sources. Apart from a few ruined bases and detached fragments, the buildings in these venerable surroundings (duly labeled as to their functions), are modern. 

It was to Tirtha Empul’s sacred well that the gods came for restoration after Mayadanava tried to poison them. 

To the south of Tirtha Empul is another spring, Mengening, beautifully situated under a large tree. People bathe their crisses, the locals told us, in the water from a neighbouring bathing place (pancuran). Atop a small hill beside this spring is a pura with the remains of an old building and a few sculptures.