Woodworking villages North of Ubud, are woodworking villages of Tegallaland and Jati, where generations of families are involved in the wood working and carving process from beginning to end. The intricacies of the carvings are phenomenal and range from the highly ceremonial to the phallus shaped bottle openers – a quick buck from the tourists. Each village tends to specialise in a particular theme – like animals, figures, or concepts that are more abstract. Indeed the settings of the villages in itself is worth going to, and seeing even the children carve and sand, makes you totally in awe of their gifts.
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Tirta Empul Temple
Tirta Empul is a holy water temple, sourced from the sacred Tampak Siring spring. This 1,000 year old temple has largely been unchanged. The temple houses purification pools for locals who practice Balinese Hinduism. The temple's long rectilinear pools are carved out of stone, and feature fountainheads that fill the pools with the holy spring water. Worshippers first make an offering in the inner-court temple, then climb into the main pool to bathe, pray, and collect the water in bottles to take home. The water is believed to have curative and prosperous powers. I certainly felt refreshed and renewed after taking a dip!Tirta Empul Temple includes the traditional Balinese split gate architecture (photographed below) along with shrines to Shiva, Vishnu, Braham, Bali's Mt. Batur, and Indra. On the grounds is a large community pavilion, where you will see many families and tourist relaxing and taking in this wonderful site.Tirta Empul is located in the village of Tampak Siring, you can drive independently via google maps (as I did) or have your hotel's concierge arrange transportation. The drive is spectacularly scenic, you will cross narrow bridges, see verdant junglescapes and paddy fields, venture through tiny villages, and come across hundreds of ancient temples along the winding road. The drive is 30 minutes from Ubud.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
En-route, we visited Gunung Kawi and Tirtha Empul. Gunung Kawi is a temple complex, where 10-rock cut shrines have been carved into around 23ft of cliff face. There are five temples on the east side, which belong to King Udayana, his wife and three sons. On the west side, there are similar temples that belong to the king’s minor queens.
Mount Batur Sunrise Trekking
Yes, this is hard work ; Especially trekking at 3 AM in the morning and all I can say is , IT IS WORTH IT!. I packed like a girl with flip flops and no sports shoes and I still managed to trek in the loose volcanic sand and stones for around 1.5 hours to 2 hours. I could see people flashing their torch light at my silver shiny disco flats as they panted and overtook me. But meh, same destination. I met them all up there and saw the same sunrise they did. Raw beauty of nature intimidates me and that is what happened there. Just staring straight ahead while the sun was rising was all I needed to be at peace with myself for rest of my trip. Please pack proper shoes and a nice light jacket to face the chilly wind up there, unlike me.
Over here the coffee processing is done in an organic way. Drying, roasting etc. is still carried out using natural tools such as pans made out of clay. You will get to try a wide range of coffee's. You may be seated overlooking the rice plantation and sip through these coffees. Out of the total range, we enjoyed Vanilla & Ginger the most.You will be enthralled to see the process of making, one of the most expensive coffee named Kopi Luwak. Its made with coffee cherries eaten and defecated by the Asian Palm Civet ( one type of cat). Although, its been promoted all across Bali, we didn't enjoy the strong bitter flavor.
We stayed at Villa Sanggingan on Jalan Sanggingan and it was fantastic. The staff is incredible. Located near the Alberto Blanco museum where we went in 2008 with Dov Fraser for the Ubud Writers Festival, this area is removed from the main tourist strip. The hotel is available on Asiarooms.com, Booking.com and Agoda.com. We stayed five nights and ate at several great warungs, including the famous N as well as Fuzion Café on Jalan Lungsiakan, which felt like dining in a rice field. I thought the décor was charming; this is one of the original hotels in the area and along with the Neka Art Museum, has been there more than twenty years. Bagus (Good) Laundry was great, too. I have to admit clean clothes, fresh from the laundry, are one of my favorite things!
Putri Bali Spa
12pm to 1.30pm Post the trek our driver Kadek suggested we visit the Putri Spa in Ubud. God Bless Kadek ! It was by far the best massage ever. ( I am usually skeptical of massages since they tend to hurt me). Our attendants were polite, professional and hygienic. Not very expensive either !!! Must try- The Balinese Barek Massage.
Pura Tirta Empul
The Legend of Tirta Empula:According to scriptures, Bedahulu, also known as Mayadanawa, was a very powerful king who has mystical powers. He became arrogant and proclaimed himself a God, forbidding worship of any other Gods. To teach him a lesson, Indra – the king of heaven arrived with his army and a fierce battle started near the site of the present temple. It is said that the demon king created a pond filled with poisoned water. When Indra’s soldiers drank this water, they immediately fell dead. Seeing this, Indra struck into the earth with his weapon and the water which came out of the spring brought life back into the bodies of his soldiers. It therefore, started to be called Tirta Amertha Pengentas Urip (holy water that revives the spirits).As we entered the temple, there were two sets of ponds with a total of 12 springs. There was a lot of activity around the pools, with the pious taking bath, tourists like us taking photographs, some meditating besides the pool while happy children splashed in the water.The worshippers first made an offering in the temple and then stood under the fountains. Wayn informed us that the water of this fountain had medicinal properties and that it could cure many diseases of skin. However he cautioned that the last two fountains were to be used for death related ceremony. Poor tourists were unaware of this and were taking bath under each fountain religiously.The main temple lies beside the pools, a spacious quiet type of place, a heaven of tranquillity. It was basically a complex dotted by many small temples. A part of it was out of bound for tourists, earmarked – “for mediation only”. That is actually a good thing that they do not allow worshippers to be disturbed by clicking cameras and chattering tourists. We even saw the source of the 12 streams, a turquoise-green pond bubbling with volcanic water. So this was the pond created by Lord Indra ! The bubbling water has minerals which give the wading ponds their purifying touch. We spend some time there marvelling at the beauty of the place, and clicked a lot of photographs.
Pura Tirta Empul
The Tirta Empul Temple holds a very prominent place in the lives of the Balinese. The water from its springs are believed to cure diseases and deliver men and women from the sins of this life. Important rituals related to birth and death are observed in its ponds, giving it the name – Ganges of Bali.
Pura Tirta Empul
1. Pura Tirta Empul or Holy Spring Water TempleA sacred setting in the midst of the Gianyar town, this Hindu temple attracts tourists and locals for the purpose of immersion in the blessed water and prayer to the Gods. We spent half a day here learning about the history, culture and traditions practiced by the Balinese people. Distance from Ubud: 11km
Pura Tirta Empul
Bali’s temples are an architectural delight and the serenity that one gets to experience is hard to express. The calmness can be seen in the famous Tirta Empul Temple which is visited en route Elephant Safari Park. This temple is open daily and is nestled within a lush green area with a pristine pool in the center.
Bon Nyuh Bungalows
Day 4: UbudMara river safari lodge has so much to do and see. They organized various animal shows for guests that are worth watching. It was time to say goodbye to this place move towards our last destination Ubud. On the way we went to Mt. Batur and Kintamini volcano. It has nothing great to see except having lunch near volcano. In Ubud we stayed at Bon Nyuh Bungalows. Situated right in the middle of paddy fields we had a beautiful village stay here. Bungalows were large with pool. Owner was extra caring and very friendly. He took extra efforts and took us to ubud market in his own car. Ubud market is beautifully crafted though a bit small. After our dinner we went back to our bungalow for some drinks.
I arrived in Bali two days prior to my stay at the Umajati Retreat, wanting to see the island on my own terms, I decided to rent a scooter. After all, this was my very first solo travel experience. I'm so happy I opted for this mode of transportation, it felt so freeing to just drive wherever I chose to. No schedule...no worries. Just me...Bali...and my bike.The drive to the Umajati Retreat was pure magic, zigzagging through tiny backstreets, over narrow ravine bridges, and through lush paddy fields, I couldn't have painted a more scenic route. The closer I got to the retreat, the more pronounced its signature terra cotta roofs rose from a sea of greenery. Stepping onto the retreats grounds, I was equally enamored. I meandered through the coconut grove entry path, filled with spectacular blooming orchids of varieties I had never seen. Waiting to welcome me at the paths end were proprietors, Jean Howe & William Ingram (Made Pung 3rd founder). They are the kind of people you want to sit with, have some tea, talk of distant places, rich cultures, and stories of their well-traveled lives. Jean and William are apart of Umajati’s authentic soul; this wonderful environment they’ve painstakingly crafted is a true gift to experience.