Going on a tour of Ubud’s beautiful Water Temples with our friend Dewi – daughter of our friends Mr. and Mrs. Ananda – is the equivalent of lunch with the girls in the West.
We leave with a car full of offerings and sarongs and head to a Water Temple that is little known and almost deserted. The rituals remain the same and dress code, a sarong and sash for the waist, must be followed by all.
We visited Gunung Kawi Temple Taman Ayun Temple, Goa Gajah or Elephant Cave and Pura Gunung Kawi Sebatu.
Then we headed to a road side stall for some well earned Rujak….palm sugar, salt, tamarind, green chile pounded into a paste and then add fruit…something like green mango, paw paw and pineapple.
Begin with a flower offering . In the offering are symbolic flowers and a stick of incense.
Sit on the platform across the the altar (filled with other offerings) and offer a prayer to the gods, the water spirits, and the spirits of your mother and father. Make sure to hold your offering at chest level. Then make a wish and add your offering to the altar. At this point, the Balinese man blessed me by sprinkling me with holy water with a flower, before tucking it behind my ear.
Now you are ready to enter the water temple. There were 13 fountains in the first pool used to cleanse your mind. You must skip the first one and visit numbers 2-10 (which symbolize different sins) completing the same routine at each. The 11th and 12th are for rituals regarding the dead (skip those too) but the last one can be visited.
The routine for each fountain in the water temple is as follows: Gather the water in your hands and bring it up to your forehead in prayer three times. Say the mantra of ‘Om’ three times. Bring the water to your mouth three times, but spit it out. The last time, you must swallow it.
After completing the ritual at each fountain in the first pool; cross to the next pool and do the same with the next three fountains, which cleanse part of your soul.
Finally visit the last pool and go to each fountain in reverse order. This pool is to cleanse the body of any illness, with the last fountain (which appears to be the first) being the most powerful and also the fountain that the temple is named after (Tirta Empul). Spend some time at this one, as it will complete the cleansing process.
Exit the pool and end with a prayer thanking the gods, water spirits, and the spirits of your mother and father.
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