The Holy Water Temple is located about 40 minutes north of Ubud. Pura Tirta Empul, as it is known by the locals, is where Balinese Hindus go for ritual purification. When we visited this temple 6 years ago I didn’t see any tourists perform this ritual, but our guide, a Balinese Hindu himself, told us that tourists are very welcome to undergo the ritual as well. And this is how it goes…
Entering the temple
As with all other Balinese temples you are only allowed to enter the temple if:
-You’re dressed appropriately, which means wearing a sarong (both men and women) You can rent a sarong at the entrance of the temple, which goes directly to maintenance and preservation of the temple.
-You’re not on your period (women only, obviously ;))
-You’ve got your hair tied back. If you’re entering the temple without your hair tied back it is believed you could be performing black magic.
Dressed for the occassion
The sarong you rent at the entrance of the tempel is not allowed to get wet, so if you want to get into the water you can also rent a different sarong, as you are for obvious reasons not allowed to jump in wearing a bikini. The sarong gets tied around your body with a special lace, and then you’re good to go.
But first: offering.
Before you go into the water you have to do make an offer. If you’ve ever been to Bali you probably remember seeing the little colorful offerings consisting of cookies, flowers and incense everywhere. We kneeled down, made our offers and then it was time for what we came for: the actual purification.
We went into the water…
And it was coooold! It was a very busy day where both many locals and tourists came to perform the ritual. The lines of people standing in front of the showers were long, but good things are worth the wait. Once making our way over to the shower we had to stick our heads under the water, wash ourselves with it and drink it. Don’t worry: the water isn’t unhealthy as it comes directly from a natural spring source.
Shower after shower
The wait was long, the rain was pouring down and in total there were about 14 showers ‘to take’. Two of these showers stand for death and for newborn babies, so we weren’t allowed to take those. After a while we started to get rrreally cold, but because you can’t leave halfway through the ritual (and because we didn’t want to) we stood tall.
When we were done with the ritual we went back to the lockers where we changed into dry clothes. If you’re planning to do this ritual then don’t forget to bring some dry underwear as well. It was a very special and unique experience, and, if you get the chance, I would highly recommend doing it 🙂