Tirta Gangga Water Palace at Karangasem Bali
Tirta Gangga is a royal water garden belonging to the royal family of Karangasem. It is located in Ababi village, approximately 83km from Denpasar or 6km north of Amlapura, the capital of Karangasem regency.
Tirta Gangga water palace, a lovely maze of pools and fountains surround by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangasem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963.
It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence. The centerpiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain, and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens. This is a great spot to unwind and it has a real atmosphere of old Bali.
The architecture of this water garden is a mix of Balinese architecture style and Chinese style. Before the water garden was constructed, the spring was already there, which was used by the people to fulfill their basic needs for water but also it was believed to be sacred water to purify any bad energy around the area.
Tirta means blessed water and Gangga is taken from the name of the mother river Ganges in India. The water from the spring of Tirtaganga is considered as holy water by the Hindus in Bali. The water is used for religious ceremonies in temples in the area until today. The blessed water from the spring is needed for the ceremonies held by the temples around Tirta Gangga that can be reached by foot.
Entering the garden one can see that there is a pond on the right side that has decorative stones placed around the pond while another functions as a bridge. Statues of Gods and Goddesses majestically stand amidst the pristine cold water. Golden yellow fishes are swimming around, their scales shining as the sun light refracts into the water. This part is the Swah level. In this level, where beside those two decorative ponds, there is also a swimming pool where the locals or visitors can enjoy swimming in the cold spring.
The area of the water garden is as large as 1,2 ha, consisting of three levels of ground stretching from east to west. In the middle level, Bwah level, the eleven-tiered Nawa Sanga fountain stands elegantly. And in the Bhur level, on the left side of the straight foot-path from the entrance to the west there is a big pond with an island in the middle.
The spring has a huge output of pure water. One third of the flow is to provide drinking water for the town Amlapura. Some goes to the upper swimming pool through an underground pipe while the overflow goes into the lower swimming pool, the other ponds and to irrigate the rice fields surrounding the water garden.
The eruption of Mount Agung, Bali’s most sacred mountain in 1963 almost entirely devastated the water gardens and the Rajah and his family took refuge in Ubud.
Island healers have praised the waters of the holy spring at Tirtagangga for their healing and youth giving powers. It is said that if one bathes in the waters of Tirtagangga on the full moon, one is blessed with lasting youth and all illnesses will be healed.