Tirtagangga, The Water Palace
Tirta Gangga is a small village built on an altitude of about 500 meters, seven km northwest of Amlapura. Tirta Gangga means “water from the Ganges”, and the place is known for it’s “water palace” and beautiful surroundings. In many people’s opinion this is among the most beautiful areas on Bali. Lately Tirta Gangga has become increasingly popular as a base for exploration of East Bali.
Many visitors prefer to go hiking or biking in the lovely surroundings, or even rent a guide here to take them to the top of Gunung Agung or other nearby mountains. The walk to Gunung Agung’s top takes about 4 hours, including one hour of car transport to the starting point.
The palace was a place for rest and recreation for the king and his family.The village is maybe most famous for the water palace, built by the last king of Karangasem (see Amlapura); Raja Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut. Tirta Gangga was one of the king’s favorite places to go for relaxation. A similar palace can be found in Ujung five km south of Amlapura. The palace in Tirta Gangga was built in 1947 and take it’s water from a holy spring. The complex is made of several pools, one is open for the local population and very popular among the local children, another is open for tourists.
The village has no large number of accommodation and restaurants, but outside the high season there should be room for everybody who find their way here. The prices are reasonable, there are no five-star hotels here.
The small village Tirta Gangga is situated among fertile ricefields.If you continue further north from Tirta Gangga you will climb even higher in altitude and have a beautiful view over fertile rice fields, with the blue ocean in the background and dense forest behind you. The vegetation becomes more scarce after Culik, but many decide to continue to Tulamben on the northeast coast, mainly to dive on the wreck of the American freighter “Liberty”, which was torpedoed by the Japanese outside Lombok in 1942.
Another alternative from Tirta Gangga can be to walk to the easternmost mountain on Bali, Gunung Lempuyang (1.058 meters). Pura Lempuyang, an important temple, is located at the foot of the mountain. This is a state temple, “sad-kahyangan”, with the same status as temples like Uluwatu and Besakih.