Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden
The Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden is a favourite retreat in the regency of Karangasem, east Bali. It was built in 1946 during the reign of the late raja of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 - 1966). Tirta Gangga saw a series of restorations following the destructive hot showers of volcanic ash from the 1963 Mount Agung eruption.
The lavish water gardens owned by the royal Karangasem family feature 1.2ha of pools, ponds and fountains surrounded by neatly cut lawns adorned with stepping stones, ornate statues and tropical gardens.
Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden is located in the village of Ababi, an approximate 75km east of Denpasar. The complex is a cool retreat in the eastern highlands, perched on the south-eastern slope of the island’s highest mountain, Mount Agung.
The Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden complex was built around the same time as the Taman Soekasada Ujung, another site located near the coast and 8.5km south in the village of Tumbu. Tirta Gangga, like its sister royal bathing complex, consists of tropical gardens, wading pools, fish ponds, and fountains.
Entering the Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden, the first thing that comes into view is a pond where rows of guardian figures holding cudgels are neatly arranged. Also, polygonal stepping stones which enable visitors to ‘tour’ the pond are set out in order. This allows viewing the old and relatively large golden carp from up close in the clear and shallow ponds.
Behind the first pond is the central towering fountain, again featuring guardian statues at its base. This 10m high fountain has eleven tiers with a shape of a lotus at its tip. The spouting water splashes down the tiers to make a cooling effect and a soothing sight.
The springs are located at a higher ground to the right of the entrance of the site, under a large banyan tree. The water is considered holy by the locals and is used during religious ceremonies, as well as a source of potable water.
At the lower level of the water source are two clear pools. One of them serves as a public wading pool and visitors are welcome to swim here. The pools have a design that harks back to the olden days, consisting of sandstone and natural materials. Different floor depths enable all ages to enjoy the pools.
The grand 100sqm pond at the southern side of the complex is filled with large golden carp and other large fish, and swimming is prohibited. Two bridges connect the sides of the pond, which feature ornate mythical Balinese dragon statues at its sides.
Building Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden, including the designing and the labor work, was a favorite hobby of the Raja. As many of his visitors did not expect this, of course they were surprised to find the Raja himself working among his labourers, standing knee deep in mud digging out the earth.
A reservoir on the grounds receives the springwater and from this reservoir drinking water is delivered via a pipe system to the town of Amlapura.
There is also an underground pipe system which leads to the upper swimming pool, where it emerges through the mouth of a raksasa (a demon statue) which stands at a corner of the pool. Here the water flows over into a lower level pool. From this lower level pool it flows into some small fish ponds and from there into the rice fields that border the gardens.
The water of Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden has always been regarded as holy and is regularly used for religious temple ceremonies. With important celebration days Tirtagangga is the destination of colourful processions with offerings, umbrellas, flags and other tributes.
Led by the local temple priests, ceremonies are held at the spring, accompanied by chanting and the music of the ‘Beleganjur’, a gamelan gong group of small gongs with each musician striking a specific, different note on the musical scale, all blending in harmony.
✪ Tirta Gangga Bali Royal Water Garden History
Tirta Gangga, meaning holy water of the Ganges in Balinese, is one of the world's romantic gardens out of time. Gushing springs flowing from beneath an ancient Banyan tree and holy temple fill the myriad reflecting and swimming pools that grace the Water Palace. The prominent 11 tiered lotus fountain has become the symbol for Tirtagangga since its creation by the late Raja of Karangasem in 1948.
After a tour of the Versaille Palace in France, the Raja was inspired to create his second Water Palace in the mountains overlooking his kingdom. The waters of the holy spring have been praised by island healers for their healing and youth giving powers. Thus the Raja named them after the holy river Ganges in India which is famous for these qualities. It is said that if one bathes in the waters of Tirtagangga on the full moon you will be blessed with lasting youth and your illnesses will be healed. Tirtagangga is the "Fountain of Youth" of Bali.
✪ Public Facilities
- Parking Area
- Public Toilet
- Souvenir Shop
- Drink Stall