Tirta Gangga, the water palace owned by the royal household of Karangasem, is located 83 kilometers northeast of Bali’s capital of Denpasar and 6 kilometers north of Amlapura, the capital of the regency of Karangasem.
Beritabali.com reports that the complex was built in 1948, in the years following the end of World War II, on the initiative of the then king of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, as a place of rest and relaxation for his family.
Largely leveled by an eruption of Mt. Agung in 1963, the gardens have been lovingly restored to their original glory.
Built on the foothills of Bali’s sacred Mount Agung, the Tirta Gangga Water Palace offers both a cooler locale and panoramic views across verdant rice terraces to the Indian Ocean in the distance.
The architecture of the water garden blends both Balinese and Chinese styles. Prior to the building of the water palace, the location was known as for its cool running waters that area residents believe were sacred, capable of being both physically and spiritually regenerative.
“Tirta” in ancient Sanskrit mean “water” while “Gangga” is linked to the sacred Ganges river of India. Like its namesake, Tirta Gangga viewed as a source of holy water by Balinese Hindus and its waters are used for holy ceremonies at surrounding temples. In keeping with tradition, sacred water for ritual purposes must always be takes directly from the source, necessitating a hike through the nearby jungle.
Upon entering Tirta Gangga, visitors will see a large pool decorated with statuary. The statues of Balinese Gods and Goddesses keep watch, standing on platforms surrounded by water. Very large gold fish swim the cool waters, swimming up to the pool’s edge to solicit food from visitors.
Nearby a large swimming pool provides inviting cool dips. Changing rooms are also available.
The entire complex covers 1.2 hectares broken into three parts, each at its own elevation.
The complex is home to three separate water sources. One provides the drinking water for the entire city of Amlapura, the remaining supplies of fresh water fill the pools and irrigate the surrounding rice fields.
Those wishing to linger at the pools can stay at nearby accommodation ranging from inexpensive guesthouses to more lavish villas adjacent to the complex.
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