Balinese Water Temple Purification Ceremony

A Bali blessing is a spiritual ceremony that is part of Balinese traditional custom consisting of purification, welcoming of good spirits and a final offering while the individual performing the ceremony chants mantras in ancient Sanskrit.

The myth behind the curative and purifying spring tells of a Balinese ruler, known by the title Mayadenawa, who is depicted to have defied the influence of Hinduism and denied his subjects religious prayers and practices. The legend goes that this eventually angered the gods, and in a campaign, god Indra sought Mayadenawa’s subdual.

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The hide-and-seek tactics of Mayadenawa fleeing Indra’s troops took place at various places all over the region, from the rivers Petanu to Pakerisan, and up to the north of Tampaksiring. Hence, the names of the sites and natural features all reflect an episode from the tale, such as Tampaksiring – tampak meaning ‘feet’, and siring meaning ‘sideways’, depicting an episode when the fleeing king left his footprints up the hill.

It was here that through his magical powers Mayadenawa created a poisoned spring from which Indra’s exhausted troops drank and succumbed. Indra noticed the fall of his men, and soon thrust his staff into the ground where a holy purifying spring spurted out, to cure the troops and to even bring some of them back to life. This escapade became the legendary background to the holy spring of Tirta Empul, as well as the holy days of Galungan and Kuningan celebrated by the Balinese Hindus.

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When you arrive, various offerings will be placed at the ceremony location where you will be sitting or kneeling. We will begin with incense to purify and cleanse the body, a ritual we perform regularly in Bali to cleanse our bodies and spirits. We are further purified using various offerings including the sprinkling of blessed water to purify the body. Water represents the flow of energy, or chi, and Bali has many sacred springs and rivers. During this ceremony, you are invited to receive the water over your head and body in what is referred to as a holy shower.

After the holy shower, rice is then placed on the forehead for good fortune and prosperity and prayer, the waving of hands is in memory of your ancestors and the placement of pieces of thread on the body signify strength. The ceremony will finish with eating small portions of food for a happy and prosperous future.

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