The purification I completed at Tirta Empul in Bali was an experience I will never forget. It ranks top 5 in all my travel experiences so far and I wanted to share it with you all! If you ever visit Bali, I would highly recommend it.
What is Tirta Empul?
Tirta Empul is a Hindu Balinese water temple where it is famous for its holy spring waters. When we arrived, we could see a swarm of people in the pool of waters or lined up waiting to get into the water. It was a combination of locals and tourists dunking their heads into each fountain, taking a sip of the water and later walking up towards the temple to attend a ceremony.’ What is going on?’ -I asked Komang (Komang was our amazing driver while in Ubud) He briefly explained to us what was going on and the ‘high level ‘process on how to complete a purification and how it cleanses their mind, bodies and souls. I was very intrigued! He explained that local Balinese complete this about 1-2 times per month, especially in times when they feel upset, stressed, anxious or negative. It is also known to promote good health and prosperity. The Balinese have been coming to this sacred spot for 1000s of years. I knew immediately that I wanted to participate and complete the purification, so I asked him if he can show us how to do it. He was happy that I asked and was kind enough to offer to do it with us- of course with a small cost associated. Since there is preparation involved, he suggested to complete it on another day. So we did just that.
Trust the process
The next day I woke up excited. I did not know much about this process and did not know what to expect. I also wasn’t sure how Mario would feel, and whether he would be comfortable or not. To my surprise he was more open to the process than I thought! So together, we embraced the unknown and open to a new way of practicing spirituality.
Komang picked us up around 3pm, he said the best time to do the purification is during sunset since it is more quiet and not as busy with tourists. When we arrived, he went through the step by step process, so we would understand how to complete it. Below are the detailed steps and you can also follow these steps when/ if you ever visit!
Completing a Purification: Step by Step
- Start at the changeroom and change into your sarong, leaving your items in the locker (there are no locks so do not bring anything valuable) Komang brought us an outfit, but if you do not have one then you can simply rent one for a few dollars at a table directly beside the changerooms. Make sure you wear something you do not mind getting wet underneath and bring a change of clothes (I wore my workout shorts and racer back)
2. Once you are dressed appropriately, you can now prepare the offering. These offerings are typically placed at the entrances to any house, temples, buildings, stores, etc. The offering tray is made with a banana leaf delicately trimmed and pinned to form a tray. We filled it with the following items, each having its own meaning:
- Flowers of different colours
- A pinch of cooked rice
- Money for a donation to the temple
3. Once we had our offerings complete, we made our way down to the water pools and fountains. Prior to entering the pool, you will see a stand with other offerings placed on it. Add your offering and then have a seat behind the stand-this is where you can say a prayer, set an intention or whatever you prefer prior to entering the pool.
4. There are a total of 15 fountains, in 3 different sections. You will begin on the left side and make your way to the right. (Side note: The 12 and 13th fountains are for those deceased, so you can visit these if you are in mourning). At each fountain you will wish /pray for one thing, rinse your head under the water and then drink some. Total time to complete should be about 15 minutes.
5. You are now complete the purification, and ready for the ceremony led by a priest. Make your way up the steps towards the temple, directly to the right of the fountains and you will see the alter. If there is a ceremony is progress, wait until the next one – they are not very long. Once the ceremony is ready to begin, have a seat in front of the priest and he will give his final blessing by placing some sticky rice on your forehead. (Side note: After purification is complete the men also wear a traditional hat – Mario looked super cute in it…lol)
6. Your Purification at Tita Empul is now complete! Body, mind and soul cleansed. Make sure you remain open to the process and leaving all those ‘thoughts’ behind.😊
7. Finish off by enjoying a basket of fruits together !
What I really appreciated in completing this, was that even if you do not practice Hinduism, you can still complete the ceremony, and have it mean what you desire. During the time completing the purification, there was something so peaceful and magical about it. The sun was setting, there were few people (most locals), incense was floating through the air – and my husband beside me through it all. Letting go and eliminating all the things that no longer serve me was something very fulfilling. This is a moment we both will never forget.
Until next time,
COMING UP NEXT: SINGAPORE