Tirtagangga – The Water Palace is located near Ababi village in Ababi, Karangasem, situated about 6 kms. north of the town of Amlapura, 83 km from Denpasar.
History Bali water palace – Tirtagangga
When we visited these delightful gardens on a bright and beautiful Sunday, it was full of Muslim ladies and their families. They were like a group of brightly coloured birds scattered about the park.
The beauty of the gardens and layout was so breath taking I decided to do some research on the history of the gardens. They have this wonderful Alice in Wonderland ageless appeal.
Information provided indicates the gardens of the Bali water palace in Tirtagangga were designed and constructed in 1948 by Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 – 1966). He was the last Raja of Karangasem.
A man different from his predecessors he was very hands on. He was unusual because he was not only the architect of the water gardens but also because he assisted with the construction of the gardens.
When visiting the construction people were astonished to find the Raja out there among the labourers, working knee deep in the mud digging out the pools and ponds.
The gardens of this Bali water palace show a unique mix of Balinese and Chinese architecture. The grounds comprise approx. 1.5ha. The water garden consists of three separate complexes each with ponds and many sculptures.
The most complex area is on the lower level and has two large ponds and a pagoda type water tower. The second level contains the swimming pools. The third level is the main complex. Here you will find the country home of Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, the former Raja. Today it houses a restaurant and four bungalow units (which are for rent).
The design and building of the water gardens was a lifelong passion for the Raja. His visitors were often surprised to the Raja himself working side by side with his labourers, standing knee deep in mud digging out the earth.
There is a reservoir on the grounds which receives the spring water and water from this reservoir is delivered via a pipe system to the town of Amlapura.
Water is then piped into the upper swimming pool, from an underground system of pipes where it emerges from the mouth of a raksasa (a demon statue) at a corner of the pool. From here the water then flows over into a lower pool.
From the lowest swimming pool, the water continues to flow into some small fish ponds and from there into the rice fields that border the gardens.
The water of Tirtagangga has always been regarded as holy and is regularly used for religious temple ceremonies
On festival and celebration days, Tirtagangga is an important destination. There are colourful processions with offerings, umbrellas, flags and other tributes. The local temple priests lead the ceremonies that are held at the springs, 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.
A beautiful place and well worth the visit.