Tirta Gangga in Bali

Bali is an island in Indonesia and has largely native Hindu population. A water garden was built in Bali by Dr Anak Agung Made Djelantik in the year 1948 and named after the Hindu holy river Ganga.

Tirta Gangga – Bali

Tirta Gangga is a former royal palace in eastern Bali, Indonesia, about 5 kilometres from Karangasem, near Abang. It is noted for its water palace, owned by Karangasem Royal.

The primary draw in this area for visitors is the Tirta Gangga water palace, a lovely maze of pools and fountains surround by a lush garden and stone carvings and statues. The one hectare complex was built in 1946 by the late King of Karangsem but was destroyed almost entirely by the eruption of nearby Mount Agung in 1963. It has been lovingly re-built and restored and has an air of authentic royal magnificence. The centrepiece of the palace is an eleven tiered fountain, and there are many beautiful carvings and statues adorning the gardens.

Lempuyang Temple (Pura Lempuyang Luhur) is about 10 km east of Tirtagangga on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang. This is one of the key nine directional temples on the island. Park in the car park and walk up the steps to the temple. The lower temple is always open but the upper temple (at the top of the dragon staircases) is often locked, so it is best to go with a Balinese driver who will usually be able to arrange for the temple priest to open it up for you. It’s situated high up a mountain and there are magnificent sunset views at dusk.

Taman Ujung or Taman Sukasada (Sukasada Park) is 5 kilometers to the southeast of Karangasem (Amlapura), another water palace built by the predecessor of the King who constructed Tirta Gangga. It was largely destroyed by the eruption of Mount Agung in 1963, damaged again by an earthquake in 1979, and has not been restored on the same scale as Tirta Gangga. 

Holy Water

The water from one of the natural springs of Tirtagangga has always been regarded as holy. It is used for religious ceremonies in the temples in the area until today. Tirta means blessed water, gangga came from Ganges, the holy river in India. The holy water is required for ceremonies of the temples in the surrounding as far as Tirtagangga can be reached by foot.

History

Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik (1919 – 2007) (source : http://www.tirtagangga.nl/)

After a childhood in the puri (palace) of Karangasem, my father was educated in Java and Holland. Completing his medical study during the turbulence 2nd world war, he worked from 1948 as a doctor and chief medical officer in various parts of Indonesia. From 1969 he was connected to the World Health Organisation, taking postings in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. From 1979 he continued his passion for public health, culture and arts, especially painting, in Bali.

Construction (An account by Dr Anak’s son Widoere Djelantik)

In 1948 my grandfather built a watergarden complex which he gave the name Tirtagangga.

Apart from his personal interest, my grandfather built Tirtagangga for 2 main reasons:

– To ensure and improve the holiness of a holy place;

– To create a place of contemplation, rest and joy for every one, the local people as well as the domestic and foreign visitors.

These are still and will always be the purposes of the garden.

The religious function of the spring, the cool climate and the scenic beauty of the surrounding hills inspired him to build recreational water gardens for himself and his people. Making watergardens of all sorts had always been his hobby. He not only did all the designing himself, but he also used to work together with his labourers, digging in the ground, standing knee deep in the water, dirty with mud. It was always a great surprise for the visitors after some time looking at the work in progress to discover the tiny figure of the Raja among the workers. People liked it and it was one of his many charming traits.

The construction of the water gardens had been severe interrupted by the eruption of the Mount Agung which lasted from February to September, 1963. A series of eruptions occurred during those months. Lava and hot ash from the mountains had killed all vegetation. The grounds had not been affected by the lava flows which found their way along the valleys to the east and to the west of the complex. However, what had been built thus far was for the greater part destroyed by earthquakes of more and less severity during all those months. In addition to the natural disaster vandalism done by people who fled their villages and had no food had taken its heavy toll. The Raja family took refuge to saver place on the island. Tirtagangga was abandoned and fell pray to looting. Everything that could be taken away and sold such as furniture, windows, tiles, pipes, chinese porcelain, flower pots, statues and so on disappeared in the course of time.

When after about ten months the calamity was over the Raja returned, only to find the beautiful garden in ruins. There was no money for rebuilding the ponds and structures. With the introduction of the Land Reform Bill the Rajas, like all the other great land owners, had lost their means for extravagant undertakings. The rehabilitation of Tirtagangga could only be done in a very frugal and haphazard manner.

Since 1979, after a long duty period abroad, my father supervised the rehabilitation of the garden. With a slight increase of the entrance fees in 1985 a little bit could be accomplished. With the help of the local government the upper swimming pool was rehabilitated. Little by little the watergardens are coming into a better shape.

As my father became older, he was less capable in supervising the garden. In the nineties deterioration started again as very little maintenance was executed. During a walk in 1999, while overwhelmed by the majestic Banyan tree of the garden, I received a vision to transform the distressing state into the one of splendour. This vision was the reason why I found the foundation, drawn up the masterplan, build this website, seek for donation, incorporated the Balinese Hinduism-Buddhism concept in the complex, design the buildings, bridges, sculptures and so on to be able to restore the garden until the present shape.

WHO IS WHO

  Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887 – 1966)

My grandfather, the last Raja of Karangasem, succeeded his uncle, Gusti Gede Djelantik in 1908 as stedehouder (local ruler under the Dutch colonisation). A born architect and lecturer, he build several watergardens and wrote many philosophical, ethical and religious notes, hymns and poems in the Indonesian and Balinese languages.

As a child I found him most happy when sitting on his verandah or walking around enjoying the watergarden in a modest sarong, chewing his sirih.

   
  Dr. Anak Agung Made Djelantik (1919 – 2007)

After a childhood in the puri (palace) of Karangasem, my father was educated in Java and Holland. Completing his medical study during the turbulence 2nd world war, he worked from 1948 as a doctor and chief medical officer in various parts of Indonesia. From 1969 he was connected to the World Health Organisation, taking postings in Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan. From 1979 he continued his passion for public health, culture and arts, especially painting, in Bali.

My father wrote several books, including an autobiography, The Birthmark (Periplus, 1997, isbn 9625931651). The autobiography is an excellent source to know more about the background of the watergarden.

   
  Widoere Djelantik (1953)

My full name is Ir. Anak Agung Gede Dharma Widoere Djelantik MMIT. I spend most of my childhood in Denpasar, Bali. In 1971 I went to Holland, where I completed studies in architecture, fine arts and information technology. After posted abroad as development engineer in Mali, Botswana and the Maldives between 1979 and 1986, I worked as information analist for the municipal of Gouda until 1998. From then until today I am connected as senior adviser to Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch forestry department.

From childhood, the watergarden has always been an exciting place to me. With my sisters and other children I jumped in and out the water the whole day. In between the swims there were endless possibilities to play, such as building ships, daming the open gutters, playing in the rice fields or in the hills in the surrounding.

 

  Agung Bagus (1971)

Born and grown up outside Bali, my cousin Ir. Anak Agung Bagus Raka Barahyangwangsa obtained his master degree for architecture in Jakarta in 1995. Between 1979 and 1982 he lived in several south American countries, where his father served as ambassador for Indonesia. Before he and his family moved back to Amlapura in 2000, Agung Bagus has gained experience as architect and job captain in large projects such as Plaza Indonesia and Menara Jakarta.

   
  Surya Djelantik (1950)

Like me, my sister Anak Agung Ayu Suryawati Djelantik spend most of her childhood in Denpasar, Bali. After completion of her hotel-management school in Holland in 1973, she worked at several Indonesian leading hotels, such as Kartika Plaza in Jakarta, Nusa Dua Beach and Sheraton Nusa Indah in Bali.

 

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Happy Galungan & Kuningan 9th June 2018

By Madya Lila.

This Balinese celebration of the triumph of dharma over adharma is one of the most auspicious days in the Balinese calendar and relates with the Diwali celebration of Hindus in other parts of the world. In Balinese, the word “Galungan” means victory and commemorates Indra’s victory over a tyrant king who prevented his subjects from practicing their religion. Balinese people make offerings, decorate their homes and temples, gather their whole family and visit temples to offer prayers. One of the most distinctive features of Galungan are the beautiful penjor decorations that line whole village streets. Penjors are long bamboo poles decorated with young coconut leaves, fruits and flowers. 

The tenth day of Galungan is the celebration of Kuningan when the ancestors and gods and goddesses who have visited the earth return to their heavenly homes. Kuningan is also the day when the Supreme Lord, known as Ida Sang Hyang Widhi, blesses and brings prosperity to the whole world. Balinese make special offerings of yellow turmeric rice on this farewell day as a symbol of their gratitude to God for the life, joy, wealth, health and prosperity given.

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Largest Vishnu statue in the world

Garuda Wisnu Kencana Cultural Park in the island of BaliIndonesia is devoted to the Hindu God Vishnu, and his mount, Garuda, the mythical bird who became his companion. Planned to be established as a landmark or mascot of Bali, construction of the giant statue of Lord Vishnu who was riding his mount Garuda, as high as 120 meters is currently going on.

CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 

Designed to be the Indonesia’s tallest statue, Garuda Wisnu Kencana was inspired by Hindu mythology about the search for Amerta (the elixir of life). According to this myth, Garuda agreed to be ridden by Lord Wisnu in return for the right to use the elixir to liberate his enslaved mother.

(Acknowledgements : Wikipedia)

[Click here to read more ….]

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Bali Hindu temples Tanah Lot, Ulun Danu to get cleaned up

Two of Bali’s most iconic temples and popular tourist destinations, Tanah Lot and and Pura Ulun Danu will get cleaned ahead of the much anticipated IMF-World Bank meeting to take place on the island in October 2018.

Bali Province has been hard at work to make things on the island more “attractive” and functional in anticipation of the all the delegates and their families that the meeting will bring.

[Click here to read more ….]

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Bali hotel apologizes for posting job ad seeking non-Hindu employees

 

A hotel in Hindu-majority Bali has apologized for a controversial job ad that called for only non-Hindu applicants.

The hotel, the Rich Prada Bali, located in Pecatu on the island’s Bukit Peninsula, claims its job postings weren’t meant to communicate a bias against Hindus but were rather advertised for “technical needs.” But the hotel’s ad was shared on social media, bringing it into the spotlight with netizens calling out discriminatory recruitment.

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