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Exploring Ubud Water Palace: A Tranquil Oasis in Bali

Introduction

Nestled in the heart of Ubud, Bali, the Ubud Water Palace, officially known as Pura Taman Saraswati, is a captivating Balinese Hindu temple that beckons travellers seeking serenity and cultural immersion. With its lotus pond, intricate stone carvings, and lush surroundings, this historic site offers a glimpse into Bali’s rich heritage. Let’s dive into the details and discover what makes Ubud Water Palace a must-visit destination.

History and Architecture

Designed by the renowned Balinese sculptor and architect, I Gusti Nyoman Lempad, the temple construction began in 1951 and was completed in 1952. Commissioned by Prince Cokorda Gede Agung Sukawati of Ubud, Lempad’s vision brought to life the exquisite Pura Taman Saraswati. The temple is dedicated to Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of learning, literature, and art.

The Lotus Pond and Water Garden

The most enchanting feature of Ubud Water Palace is its lotus pond. As you step into the temple grounds, you’ll be greeted by a serene expanse of water adorned with vibrant pink and white lotus blossoms. Plumeria trees line the edges of the pond, casting their fragrant blooms upon the water’s surface. The straight bridge-like path, adorned with volcanic tuff sculptures depicting Hindu mythological figures, leads you to the temple’s entrance.

Exploring the Temple Grounds

  1. Kori Agung Gates: Three red-bricked kori agung gates provide access to the inner sanctum. The central gate, flanked by tall plumeria trees, is the largest. These gates symbolise the transition from the outer world to the sacred space within.
  2. Aling-Aling Wall: Just before entering the inner courtyard, you’ll encounter an unusual aling-aling wall. This architectural feature disorients evil spirits, ensuring their inability to disturb the temple’s tranquillity. Behind the wall stands a 3-metre-tall statue of the rakshasha figure Jero Gede Mecaling.
  3. Padmasana Shrine: Positioned at the most sacred side of the temple, the padmasana shrine represents the cosmic turtle and nagas. At its pinnacle sits a golden empty throne adorned with the image of Acintya, the highest deity in Balinese Hinduism.
  4. Trimurti Pavilion: A bale (pavilion) houses three empty thrones dedicated to the Hindu Trimurti—Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. The intricate stone carvings and traditional architecture make this pavilion a visual delight.

What to Know Before You Go

  • Attire: Dress modestly, covering your shoulders and knees, as a sign of respect.
  • Opening Hours: The temple is open daily from 7:30 AM to 10:00 PM.
  • Photography: Capture the beauty but be mindful of the sacredness.
  • Offerings: Feel free to leave a small offering at the shrine.

Experiencing Ubud Water Palace

As you wander through the temple, take a moment to absorb the peaceful ambiance. Listen to the gentle rustling of leaves and the distant sound of water. The lotus pond reflects the sky, creating a harmonious blend of nature and spirituality. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a photographer, or simply seeking tranquillity, Ubud Water Palace promises an unforgettable experience.

So, pack your curiosity, your camera, and an open heart. Ubud Water Palace awaits—a timeless oasis where Bali’s past and present converge.

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