Beyond the last houses of Tampaksiring is a road leading to the famous watering place known as Tirtha Empul. A general survey of the scene is available from the resthouse high above the sacred spring, reachable by steps. In the nearby Pura Sakenan in the village of Manukaya, an inscribed stone mentions the name Tirtha di (air) Mpul, which was founded by Sang ratu (Sri) Candra Bhaya Singha Varmadeva in the territory of the village of Manuk raya. The inscription, in Old Balinese, covers both sides of the stone. Much damaged, and not yet fully or reliably deciphered, it apparently refers to the formation of two ponds here. The text is dated Saka 882 (A.D. 960, according to Damais; Stutterheim and Goris read 884 – 962) Tirtha Empul is still , for all Gianyar, most sacred. In the past. All Gianyar barong dance clubs went there to bathe their barong masks. While editing the Manukaya inscription, Stutterheim related that every year on the exact date of Tirtha Empul’s foundation, on purnama ning Kapat (full moon of Kartika, the fourth month) the inscribed stone was brought for bathing; this may be one reason it is so badly worn. Since nobody knew the inscription’s contents before Stutterheimread it, this date must have been handed down orally. Now the stone is brought down much less regularly.
Tirtha Empul is worth visiting for its sacred wells, which draw from part of the Pakerisan’s sources. It was to Tirtha Empul’s sacred well that the gods came for restauration after Mayadavana tried to poison them. Apart from a few ruined bases and some detached fragments, the buildings in these venerable surroundings (duly labled as to their functions), are modern.
During the course of a renovation of Pura Pegulingan, in the same village of Manukaya (Banjar Basangasmbu) in the late 1980s, the remains of the foundation of a stupa were found, in the middle of which stood a miniature stupa (height about 80 cm)
To the south of Tirtha Empul is another spring, beautifully situated under a large tree. People bath their kerises, the locals told us, in the water from a neighboring bathing place (pancuran). Atop a small hill beside this spring is a pura with the remains of an old building and a few sculptures. In the mid-1980s, the remains of a (free standing) prasada were discovered at Mengening. After excavation they were marked out for restauration.
From: A.J. Bernet Kempers, Monumental Bali.