We were advised that we needed two temple outfits to visit Tirta Empul: so it was off to the markets to be outfitted in a long sarong, a shirt to cover the shoulders and a sash, worn over the shirt. Times this by
We looked like school girls going off on a picnic, some of us with our sarongs tied much to
tightly - showing off the figure, but barely allowing movement, let alone walking.....
We were keen - arriving at the temple well ahead of the continual casual crowd of tourists that would visit throughout the day. Already there were some serious local visitors - they had come to purify, sanctify and heal. The waters are believed to have magical, curative powers and the Balinese travel from all over the island, just as they have for over a thousand years, to be cleansed.
We began the bathing ritual - twelve spouts flowing with Holy water under which to douse oneself in prayer. Each spout has a separate purpose - to cure an illness, to give prosperity, and to assist with pregnancy.
I skipped that one, but the rest of the group should be pregnant in no time. I also skipped the last two spouts as they are strictly reserved for local ceremonies and cremations. I am not sure how they bathe the dead - do they bring the body to the water or take the water to the body? There is a sense that anything is a possibility.
Later, dressed in our second and most auspicious temple outfits, we were granted a wonderful tour of the temple. It was a place of tranquility and peace.
I gingerly touched the stone - many hundreds of years old - that the Hindu God Indra had struck with his sword. Water gushed forth - the Spring of amritta - the elixir of immortality - with which he revived his forces who had been poisoned. I like to touch places that have been touched by God........and they exist more abundantly than we realise!
The main temple courtyard is beautiful, with many shrines and pavilions, one for Brahma, Siva and Krishna, one for Mt. Batur, and one for Indra (Dewi Indra) which is for us all to pray at. We made our offerings -
and the priest offered our prayers for us, and then it was out into the madness of the market stalls
that line the road leading from the temple back to the car park....