A visit to Tirta Empul

Mar 05, 2020

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They arrived at Tirtha Empul temple in nearly one hour, where they stopped to collect holy water (something hard to understand for Jesús, as he was told that Tirta Siddhi’s spring was holy as well), praying and bathing.

He already knew the place. In fact, along with Gunung Kawi, it was one of his favourite trips, where he often took her foreign friends. He was sorry not to take the camera, and also sorry not to be able to bathe or properly seat on the ground and join the prayers and blessings. So he just sat near a pool and watched the families queuing for their turn to bath and pray on the cold spring water, under the thirty showers from the two neighbouring pools. As Ketut’s family went to the locker rooms to change clothes and put on the bathing sarongs, he had time to observe how most people seemed happy just to be there, how kids smiled near their parents. Not a single one was crying or making tantrum.

How different it would be if they were Spanish – after two minutes in there, they’d claim for their cellphones, Ipads, or whatever entertaining devices they were addicted to, they’d cry over the cold water, felt frustrated by some reason, and would be shouted at by stressed fathers; who’d secretly (or openly) pray for the weekend to finish so they’d deliver them to their educators.

People from all ages were there. That surely wasn’t like Catholic churches, whose masses were mostly attended by elderly women and their grandchildren.

Same in the praying courtyard. Children and adolescents were proud of wearing the traditional clothing and receiving the holy water sprays and rice from the pemangkus. There were so many, and most young ladies were elegant and beautiful. Not like their overweighted, weird looking, pierced and tattooed Spanish counterparts. That seemed so right, while his leg pain and cultural background seemed incredibly wrong.

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