Boasting beautiful architecture and incredible attention to detail, Tirta Gangga Water Palace is a stunning tourist attraction near Ababi village that is less than an hour’s drive from Denpasar. Featuring a collection of beautiful gardens and temples, the Tirta Gangga Water Palace was designed and constructed in 1948 by Anak Agung Anglurah Ketut Karangasem, the last King of Karangasem, and showcases a unique mix of Balinese and Chinese architecture.
Tirta Gangga Water Palace covers 1.2 hectares and features three separate complexes, each with their own collection of sculptures and ponds. The lowest level complex features an eleven tiered water fountain and two large ponds while the mid-level complex features the swimming pools. The highest level is the main complex and features the country house of the former King. Visitors can now find a restaurant as well as four bungalows available for rent in the former King’s home.
Aside from the natural beauty and tranquillity, the gardens are also remarkable as the King not only designed the gardens, but he also helped construct them. In fact, many of the local villagers were shocked to see their King knee-deep in mud, working alongside lower class labourers digging out the ponds and pools. However, designing and building the water gardens happened to be one of the King's favourite hobbies.
Although the gardens are extremely beautiful and relaxing, they do also serve a purpose. A reservoir located on the grounds stores natural spring water that delivers drinking water to Amlapura town via a pipe system. There is also an underground pipe system that leads to the upper swimming pool and into the mouth of the demon statue of Raksasa at the corner of the pool. From here water cascades over into the lower level pool, then into smaller fish ponds before finally ending up in the rice fields that surround the gardens.