Tirta Gangga is a village in East Bali. Approaching from the south along the coast beyond Klungkung, the traffic thins and the pace slows as the main road finally meets Bali’s east coast. Undulating irrigated ricefields give way to the sun’s blazing heat on this arid stretch of road which passes fishing villages, beachside salt processing factories, the old harbor of Kusamba and the holy bat cave of Goa Lawah.
Just before entering the bridge at the entrance of Amlapura, the capital of Karangasem Regency, a left-hand turn takes you seven kilometers northwest to a former raja’s retreat, one of the prettiest and least known large pool complexes in all of Bali.
Perfect for relaxation, Tirtagangga, meaning literally “Water of the Ganges,” was built by the last raja of Karangasem, Raja Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut, in 1947 with corvee labor on the site of a sacred spring emerging from under an ancient banyan tree. These formal, Italianate-style water gardens were only one of the old raja’s weekend retreats, who seemed to been prone towards a water fetish; the others lie at Jungutan and Ujung (considered his masterpiece).
With its ornate fountains, shallow pools and channels, bizarre statues, pleasant cool weather (500 meters above sea level), great beauty, quiet star-filled nights and the constant sound of splashing water, it’s a sublime experience to swim laps in big flower-strewn reservoirs filled by freshwater mountain streams.
This is a great trekking area with some of the best walks in Bali to suit all levels of fitness. Guides can be arranged easily at the water palace or from your hotel.
An easy and free, stroll for those not used to full-on hiking is one from outside the wall of the Water Palace on the low side. Walk about 300mt along the wall from the road and you come to a large concrete lined water channel off to the left. You can comfortably walk along the top of the channel for about 3km through the rice paddies. This is a great way to take in the stunning view of the volcano and also see village life.
Start trekking from Tenganan village to witness its unique original Balinese culture that still holds to the original traditions, ceremonies and rules of ancient Balinese, and its unique village layout and architecture. A splendid view will unfold before your eyes. The beautiful mountain Agung known to be the top of God for Bali Hindu lies under the spacious blue sky. There will also be opportunities to watch the farmers working on their land, as well as walk through river.
Trekking is a great way to see the area and a variety of routes are being discovered ranging from Gentle 1 hr walks to full day treks. A local guide will ensure you don’t get lost and also to be able to tell you lots about the area that you might otherwise miss out on. We can help recommend a guide for you that will consider both your safety, education and enjoyment.
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