Purification Ceremony at Pura Tirta Empul
A Balinese Hindu Temple in the northeast of Ubud, Pura Tirta Empul was discovered in AD 962. The water here is believed to have magical curative powers. The springs bubble up into a large, crystal-clear pool within the temple with the water gushing out through waterspouts into a bathing pool. I made my visit with my new Balinese friend for the day who explained everything to me and guided me through the blessing in the temple, a crucial first step to prepare you for the water blessing.
The 15 water fountains are said to cure a range of illnesses are are used for a symbolic cleansing of your mind, soul and spirit. There is a ritual to adhere in order to correctly complete the ceremony, including having to wear a traditional sarong.
Beginning with the first fountain on the left, water needs to be cupped onto your face three times, followed by passing it over your head three times, and lastly submerging yourself entirely under the flowing water. This process is continued along the fountains, skipping the final two fountains which are reserved for the dead.
You then move over to the smaller second pool where there are a further two fountains followed by the third where the ritual is only carried out at the first fountain.
At the end you are believed to be blessed with holy water and therefore should not use a towel to dry yourself as this would be removing yourself of the blessing. I visited early in the morning so the temple was still very quiet other than for a few local Balinese people which might have helped to make the experience even more special.
There was something very very special about this experience which is a little difficult to put into words. The progression from fountain to fountain being a metaphor for a journey of healing. I came to truly appreciate the life I have and the positive choices I have taken that had brought me here, feeling grateful and content.
Whatever you may believe, it’s a very spiritual place and it may even just be the experience of having cold water poured over your numerous times, but I do believe that something magical happened and I’m trying so hard to hold onto that little piece of magic. The water feels more refreshing than cold and the people around are as amazed by the experience. I came away truly happy. Balinese people carry out this ritual at least once per year, and I know that I’ll be back again soon.