In the middle of rice fields and surrounded by jade green hills, Tirtagangga nestles peacefully and timelessly. Tirtagangga is a royal water garden belonging to the royal family of Karangasem. It is located in Ababi village, approximately 83 km from Denpasar or 6km north of Amlapura, the capital of Karangasem Regency.
The water garden was constructed in 1948 on the initiative of the King of Karangasem, Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem. The architecture of this water garden is a mix of Balinese architecture style and Chinese style. Before the water garden was constructed, the spring was already there, which was used by the people to fulfil their basic needs for water but also it was believed to be sacred water to purify any bad energy around the area.
Tirta means blessed water and Gangga is taken from the name of the mother river Ganges in India. The water from the spring of Tirtaganga is considered as holy water by the Hindus in Bali. The water is used for religious ceremonies in temples in the area until today. The blessed water from the spring is needed for the ceremonies held by the temples around Tirtagangga that can be reached by foot.
Entering the garden one can see that there is a pond on the right side that has decorative stones placed around the pond while another functions as a bridge. Statues of Gods and Goddesses majestically stand amidst the pristine cold water. Golden yellow fishes are swimming around, their scales shining as the sun light refracts into the water. This part is the Swah level. In this level, where beside those two decorative ponds, there is also a swimming pool where the locals or visitors can enjoy swimming in the cold spring.
The area of the water garden is as large as 1,2 ha, consisting of three levels of ground stretching from east to west. In the middle level, Bwah level, the eleven-tiered Nawa Sanga fountain stands elegantly. And in the Bhur level, on the left side of the straight foot-path from the entrance to the west there is a big pond with an island in the middle.
The spring has a huge output of pure water. One third of the flow is to provide drinking water for the town Amlapura. Some goes to the upper swimming pool through an underground pipe while the overflow goes into the lower swimming pool, the other ponds and to irrigate the rice fields surrounding the water garden.
This place is great for escaping from the heat as the weather in the area is less tropical. Taking a relaxing walk or dipping your feet into the cold water is as enjoyable as taking some snapshots of the picturesque scene.