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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Take a Quiz on Hindu History

Take a Quiz on Hindu History

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1. How did Hindus continue to transmit Hinduism from one generation to next when there were so many restrictions on practicing any thing but Islam.

 
 
 
 

2. Name the two rivers along which Vedic Indus civilization flourished.

 
 
 
 

3. Basic form of Hinduism as we know it today was well established by?

 
 
 
 

4. Indus valley civilization became the largest, most widespread civilization of the world in its time? Yes/No

 
 

5. Hindus were producing iron and steel as early as 400BC?

 
 

6. Hindus adopted secularism for the first time when a new constitution of Independent India was adopted on January 26th 1950? Yes/No

 
 

7. Which Muslim invader defeated Hindu kings in the Ganges valley and established an Islamic Sultanate in India?

 
 
 
 

8. Muslim rule in India was tolerant of Hindus all the time? Yes/No

 
 

9. Name the Hindu warrior who used latest technology, navy and stealth warfare to fight Moghul rulers in India.

 
 
 
 

10. Where does the earliest archaeological evidence point as the place where Hindu civilization develop?

 
 
 
 

11. Namaste, the Hindu greeting, was well established during Indus civilization? Yes/No

 
 

12. Name the largest religious building in the world?

 
 
 
 

13. Which of the four Vedas speaks of Saraswati as a mighty river originating in Himalayas?

 
 
 

14. The earliest archaeological evidence for Hinduism dates back to more than 30,000BC?

 
 

15. Name the Hindu activist who coined the term Hinduatva.

 
 
 
 

16. Name the Hindu province that was the first Hindu province conquered by Muslim invaders?

 
 
 
 

17. Who in 1995 said that Hinduatva is a way of life.

 
 
 
 

18. Which people attacked India and ruled it for 800 years after that?

 
 
 
 

19. When did the river Saraswati where Indus civilization developed, dry up?

 
 
 
 

20. Who discovered the concept of number zero?

 
 
 
 

21. When was the Natyasastra – a Hindu text on performance arts that integrates Vedic ideology – was also completed?

 
 
 
 

22. Name the Muslim invader who plundered and destroyed Somnath temple?

 
 
 
 

23. Vedas referred to their land as?

 
 
 
 

24. Did Muslim force Hindus to convert to Islam at all? Yes/No

 
 

25. Which century did almost all of of India come under Islamic rule?

 
 
 
 

26. Chalukyas, Pallavas, Pandhayas and Cholas flourished as some of the largest Hindu kingdoms in which part of India?

 
 
 
 

27. Did Hinduism spread to Philippines beyond Bali during 8th century? Yes/No

 
 

28. Hinduism is the oldest living religion in the world? Yes/No

 
 

29. What were Takshshila, Nalanda, Vikramshila and Valabhi famous for?

 
 
 
 

30. During British rule in India, name the first Hindu monk who gave the message of Hinduism to the west.

 
 
 
 

31. Indus valley civilization was a peaceful civilization? Yes/No

 
 


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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)

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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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Nyepi Ritual in Yogyakarta Using Holy Water from India

A total of 5,000 Hindus from Central Java and Yogyakarta joined Tawur Kesanga ritual to commemorate Nyepi Holy Day at Prambanan Temple, Yogyakarta, on Friday, March 16. Since early morning, people flocked to the yard of Wisnu Mandala in Prambanan Temple Park (TWC) to conduct the ritual. “Tawur Agung Kesanga is a purification ceremony which is held one day before Nyepi Saka 1940,” said Committee Chairman of National Nyepi Laksda TNI I Nyoman Gede Ariawan.

COLLECTIE TROPENMUSEUM Reliëf op de aan Shiva gewijde tempel op de Candi Lara Jonggrang oftewel het Prambanan tempelcomplex TMnr 10016191.jpg
By Tropenmuseum, part of the National Museum of World Cultures, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link (Ravan kidnapping Sita and fighting Jatayu)

The Prambanan temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples.[2] Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world.[3][4]

The Prambanan temple is the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java, and the first building was completed in the mid-9th century. It was likely started by Rakai Pikatan as the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty’s answer to the Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty’s Borobudur and Sewu temples nearby. Historians suggest that the construction of Prambanan probably was meant to mark the return of the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty to power in Central Java after almost a century of Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty domination. The construction of this massive Hindu temple signifies that the Medang court had shifted its patronage from Mahayana Buddhism to ShaiviteHinduism.

The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. Although the temple ceased to be an important center of worship, the ruins scattered around the area were still recognizable and known to the local Javanese people in later times. The statues and the ruins became the theme and the inspiration for the Loro Jonggrang folktale. After the division of Mataram Sultanate in 1755, the temple ruins and the Opak River were used to demarcate the boundary between Yogyakarta and Surakarta (Solo) Sultanates, which was adopted as the current border between Yogyakarta and the province of Central Java.

Prambanan Complex 1.jpg
By Gunawan KartapranataOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link 

The temple attracted international attention early in the 19th century. In 1811 during British short-lived occupation of the Dutch East IndiesColin Mackenzie, a surveyor in the service of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, came upon the temples by chance. Although Sir Thomas subsequently commissioned a full survey of the ruins, they remained neglected for decades. Dutch residents carried off sculptures as garden ornaments and native villagers used the foundation stones for construction material.

Half-hearted excavations by archaeologists in the 1880s facilitated looting. In 1918, the Dutch began reconstruction of the compound and proper restoration only in 1930. Efforts at restoration continue to this day. The reconstruction of the main Shiva temple was completed around 1953 and inaugurated by Sukarno. Since much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction sites, restoration was hampered considerably. Given the scale of the temple complex, the government decided to rebuild shrines only if at least 75% of their original masonry was available. Most of the smaller shrines are now visible only in their foundations, with no plans for their reconstruction.

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The most sacred Hindu places of worship in Bali

Pura Lempuyang Luhur is one of the oldest and the most revered temple in BaliIndonesia. The temple is actually a collection of several temples along the hiking path to the summit. The main temple also the highest, the Pura Lempuyang Luhur, lies at 1,175m above sea level, up on the peak of the namesake Mount Lempuyang.[1]

The temple is located on Mount Lempuyang or Gamongan Hill, Bunutan village, Abang subdistrict, Karangasem, east Bali, around 10 kilometres north from Amlapura, the capital of Karangasem. The temple complex is dedicated to Ida Betara Hyang Iswara, the guardian of the east.[2] It is one of Sad Kahyangan Jagad or the “six sanctuaries of the world” which are the six holiest places of worship on Bali.

The most popular temple among visitors is the Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang. With its towering white candi bentar split gate, three dragon stairs and three kori agung gates, this compound has a spectacular view to the west overlooking Mount Agung, the highest volcano in Bali.

The temple consists of several temples along the hiking path to the summit of Mount Lempuyang or also known as Gamongan Hill in eastern Bali. The temples along the hiking track among others areː

  • Pura Puncak Bisbis
  • Pura Pasar Agung
  • Pura Lempuyang Luhur

Pura Lempuyang Luhur, the highest temple, is the crown jewel of the complex (and also its namesake). It sits atop the mountain’s peak, which is believed to be its most sacred spot. Those who make it to the top are rewarded with a peaceful sanctuary and breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

 

The establishment of places of worship around Mount Lempuyang is believed to predate the majority of Hindu temples on the island of Bali.[1] The puras of Mount Lempuyang, represented by Pura Lempuyang Luhur, the highest temple in the area, is grouped one complex of pura which represents the Pura Sad Kahyangan Luhur Lempuyang. The temple groups are considered as part of the Sad Kahyangan Jagad, or the “six sanctuaries of the world”, the six holiest places of worship on Bali. According to Balinese beliefs, they are the pivotal points of the island and are meant to provide spiritual balance to Bali.[2] The temple groups of Mount Lempuyang is also one of the group of temples in Bali known as Pura Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana. Each of the temple in the Pura Kahyangan Padma Bhuwana marked each of the eight cardinal directions. Pura Lempuyang Luhur represents the direction of east (purwa) and the color white. This direction is associated with the domain of Balinese the god Iswara.[3]

Pura Penataran Agung Lempuyang was restored in 2001.

The piodalan or puja wali festival (pura’s anniversary) of Pura Penataran Agung is held once every 6 months every Waraspati (Thursday) or one day after the Galungan festival.[7]

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Jakarta President urges Hindu community to improve quality of human resources

President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) has called on the Hindu community to improve the quality of human resources and to prepare for facing global challenges and rapid industrial development. “Global challenges necessitate Hindus to become more intelligent, creative, and innovative in responding to the changes,” President Jokowi remarked in his speech while attending the commemoration of Dharma Santi National Seclusion Day in Cilangkap, East Jakarta, on Saturday.

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Thousands of Hindus in Klaten perform Melasti at spring

Jakarta Post12 Mar. 2018
Performed on Sunday, March 11, by thousands of Hindus in Klaten, the Melasti ritual was held to mark the beginning of the ceremonies prior to Nyepi (Hindu Day of Silence) which will be commemorated on March 17. Klaten is one of the biggest Hindu structures in Indonesia. Melasti is a Hindu Balinese purification ceremony and ritual, which according to Balinese calendar is held several days prior to the Nyepi holy day. It is observed by Hindus in Indonesia, especially in Bali. Despite most devotees performing Melasti on the beach, Hindus in Klaten chose Umbul …
 

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