Tirta Gangga Palace: Beautiful Water Garden in East Bali
On the gentle steps of the volcanic Mt. Agung in eastern Bali, a royal palace was built. Unlike other Rajas (kings) in Bali, the late Raja Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem (1887-1966) did not build a comparatively grand residency. He focused his attention instead on his lavish 1.2 acres of pools, fountains, fish ponds and water features that sprawl across his gardens. After almost fifty years surviving volcanic eruptions and having seen many restorations, the beautiful water garden of Tirta Gangga remains one of Bali’s most unique cultural heritage sights that is a highly recommended destination to visit.
A King’s Labour of Love
The Raja did not only design the architecture of the water gardens, but he also engineered and even helped construct the gardens. It was a rare sight to see a king working alongside members of the lowest caste, to labor with them in the mud, and hauling rocks, dirt, and water under the hot sun. It is truly a labor of love; the Raja would know every niche of his masterpiece.
A Garden with a Story
Raja’s compassion for people of all backgrounds allowed him to open his garden to the public. He envisioned his garden with designs that function to welcome and guide visitors along. One goldfish pool is dotted with stepping stones and statues of guardian spirit creatures. These stepping stones snake around the statues in a particular order. It seems that the Raja had a story to tell, and wanted to pass down these stories through his garden design. He also installed many statues of mythical creatures along a designated path. He opened a public swimming pool quite close to his home. The Raja clearly wanted to be close to his people, and his storytelling legacy lives on in the design of his garden.
A Life-giving Holy Reservoir
The Raja’s water garden has another function: to provide fresh, drinkable water to his people outside the palace. Networks of pipes connected his reservoir to people who need this life-giving nourishment. The reservoirs are also considered by many to be sacred, and some of the pools are sources of holy water. These are vital for certain ceremonies and other religious activities.
Tirta Gangga Palace is not just an open retreat for visitors looking for a place to refresh. It is also a testament to the Raja’s humility and acts of service. If you would like to visit this remarkable historic place, you need a strategic location for your stay. The Mara River Safari Lodge is located very close to Bali Safari Park and about half an hour from many popular destinations in eastern Bali and the city center. Book today and discover Bali’s cultural heritage.