Monday, February 16, 2009

Gedongsongo Temple

Gedongsongo is the complex of Hindu temples which lies on the slope of mount Ungaran, around 1200 meters above sea level. Administratively, it is situated in the Candi village, Ambarawa, Semarang regency, Central Java province.

The temple is consisted of nine temples, and all of the constructed from adhesive. At the first complex called gedong pitu or seven building, because when Raffles discovered the complex, he found only seven buildings. At last, two other temples were found, since that the temple called Gedongsongo temple. At the present, from nine temples only five temples can be seen, while others are ruinous. Those five temples called gedong I until gedong V have been restored by the archeological institute. Gedong 1 & 2 were restored in 1928-1929, and 1930-1931, while gedong 3,4,5 in 1977-1983.

The date of its construction is not clear yet, but base on architecture some experts assumed that the temple was constructed almost the same time as Dieng complex, which was the eldest Hindus temple in central java, around 7-9 century.

Singosari Temple

Singosari temple, also known as Kendedes temple, was founded in honor to King Kertanegara, the last king of Singosari dynasty who died in 1292 AD. It was erected in 1300 AD at the same time when the ritual Sradha took place. In the vicinity of the temple there are two gigantic statue called Dwarapala, believed to be the entrance guards to the palace.

This temple has saved the historical story that always remember by Malang public. However, Singosari temple is a symbol of the existence of Malang regency from years ago.

As the other East Java's temple, Singosari temple is formed from red bricks and arranged in cone building, called temple. This temple also has beautiful relief that describe the great of Singosari Kingdom years ago.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pawon Temple

Candi Pawon (Pawon Temple)
Pawon Temple is one and half kilometers westward from Mendut Temple and eastward from
Borobudur Temple, it is also a Buddhist temple. When appreciating in detail, its sculpture is the beginning of Borobudur sculpture.
Pawon Temple is not a grave but as a place to keep King Indra's weapon namely Vajranala. This temple was built with volcanic stones. Architecturally it is a blend of old Javanese Hindu and Indian art. Pawon temple is exactly in the central point of the straight line stretched from
Borobudur to Mendut Temple.
Perhaps it was built for kubera. It is on a wide rather terrace with steps. All parts are decorated with stupa(s) on dagoba(s) and its outside walls with symbolic pictures.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dieng Temple

The oldest known temples that have been preserved are those of the Dieng plateau near Wonosobo on Central Java. Dieng was not a capital or a major settlement. Its location, at a high altitude in a poorly accessible, damp and wet mountain vale, is ill suited for human habitation. In Indian tradition, the Gods live on the mountains, so that the location might be explained from this perspective. Even today, the place at a high altitude feels mystical, enshrouded in clouds and surrounded by coloured lakes.

The Dieng complex is dedicated to Çiva. A statue of Çiva from the Dieng plateau can be seen in the National Museum in Jakarta.

Chinese sources quoted by Krom (1923) report annual visits to Dieng by the King of Java. The Candi at Dieng were built in two stages in the 8th and the 9thC. Of the structures at Dieng, seven survive in relatively complete state. Remaining foundations show that there used to be more temples. The temples are known by the names of key characters from the Javanese shadow play, such as Semar and Arjuna. Not all the buildings were used for religious purposes. Candi Semar is widely believed to be a storage place for artefacts. Dieng was a religious settlement in nature. With the main town likely far removed from the mountaintop, a store for key implements seems a necessity. It is interesting, though, that this store would be made from stone rather than wood that was used for the priests' dwellings.

An inscription dated 808 dated found at Dieng is the oldest old Javanese inscription handed down to present times. A carved inscription found at Dieng and dating from 1210 suggests that the complex had been in use continuously. Dumarcay draws the conclusion from this that the temples were changed over the centuries as demanded by ritual. As an example he quotes Candi Gatotkaca where in the mid 9thC the base was enlarged to accommodate a second shrine to the south of the original building. This new building is now in ruins because it did not have a strong foundation.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Prambanan Temple, Hindhu Temple In The World

Prambanan temple is extraordinarily beautiful building constructed in the tenth century during the reigns of two kings namely Rakai Pikatan and Rakai Balitung. Soaring up to 47 meters (5 meters higher than Borobudur temple), the foundation of this temple has fulfilled the desire of the founder to show Hindu triumph in Java Island. This temple is located 17 kilometers from the city center, among an area that now functions as beautiful park.

There is a legend that Javanese people always tell about this temple. As the story tells, there was a man named Bandung Bondowoso who loved Roro Jonggrang. To refuse his love, Jonggrang asked Bondowoso to make her a temple with 1,000 statues only in one-night time. The request was nearly fulfilled when Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice and to set a fire in order to look like morning had broken. Feeling to be cheated, Bondowoso who only completed 999 statues cursed Jonggrang to be the thousandth statue.

Prambanan temple has three main temples in the primary yard, namely Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples. Those three temples are symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief. All of them face to the east. Each main temple has accompanying temple facing to the west, namely Nandini for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma, and Garuda for Vishnu. Besides, there are 2 flank temples, 4 kelir temples and 4 corner temples. In the second area, there are 224 temples.

Entering Shiva temple, the highest temple and is located in the middle, you will find four rooms. One main room contains Shiva statue, while the other three rooms contain the statues of Durga (Shiva's wife), Agastya (Shiva's teacher), and Ganesha (Shiva's son). Durga statue is said to be the statue of Roro Jonggrang in the above legend.

In Vishnu temple, to the north of Shiva temple, you will find only one room with Vishnu statue in it. In Brahma temple, to the south of Shiva temple, you find only room as well with Brahma statue in it.

Quite attractive accompanying temple is Garuda temple that is located close to Vishnu temple. This temple keeps a story of half-bird human being named Garuda. Garuda is a mystical bird in Hindu mythology. The figure is of golden body, white face, red wings, with the beak and wings similar to eagle's. It is assumed that the figure is Hindu adaptation of Bennu (means 'rises' or 'shines') that is associated with the god of the Sun or Re in Old Egypt mythology or Phoenix in Old Greek mythology. Garuda succeeded in saving his mother from the curse of Aruna (Garuda's handicapped brother) by stealing Tirta Amerta (the sacred water of the gods).

Its ability to save her mother made many people admire it to the present time and it is used for various purposes. Indonesia uses the bird as the symbol of the country. Other country using the same symbol is Thailand, with the same reason but different form adaptation and appearance. In Thailand, Garuda is known as Krut or Pha Krut.

Prambanan also has panels of relief describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally from generation to generation. Another interesting relief is Kalpataru tree that - in Hindu - the tree is considered tree of life, eternity and environment harmony. In Prambanan, relief of Kalpataru tree is described as flanking a lion. The presence of this tree makes experts consider that Javanese society in the ninth century had wisdom to manage its environment.

Just like Garuda, Kalpataru tree is also used for various purposes. In Indonesia, Kalpataru is used as the logo of Indonesian Environment Institution. Some intellectuals in Bali even develop "Tri Hita Karana" concept for environment conservation by seeing Kalpataru relief in this temple. This tree of life is also seen in the gunungan (the puppet used as an opening of traditional puppet show or wayang kulit). This proves that relief panels in Prambanan have been widely known throughout the world.

If you see the relief in detail, you will see many birds on them; they are real birds as we can see on the earth right now. Relief panels of such birds are so natural that biologists can identify their genus. One of them is the relief of the Yellow-Crest Parrot (Cacatua sulphurea) that cites unanswered question. The reason is that the bird only exists in Masakambing Island, an island in the middle of Java Sea. Then, did the bird exist in Yogyakarta? No body has succeeded in revealing the mystery.

You can discover many more things in Prambanan. You can see relief of Wiracarita Ramayana based on oral tradition. If you feel tired of enjoying the relief, you can take a rest in the beautiful garden in the complex. Since 18 September 2006, you can enter zone 1 area of Prambanan temple. The damage caused by the earthquake on 27 May 2006 is being reconstructed. Please come and enjoy Prambanan temple.

Cetho Temple

Built in the 15th century, the Cetho Temple is also located high on the western slope of Mount Lawu, above the Sukuh Temple. The journey to Cetho is a trip for the real adventurer, along a winding road trough tea gardens and forest, up the Temple’s fourteen terraces in to the clouds. The Temple’s allure lies in its aura of mystery. Architecturally reminiscent of the ancient Aztec and Mayan cultures of Central America, the Cetho Temple is similar to the Sukuh Temple and is unlike other temples in Central Java. It provides an unforgettable experience for the more during traveller.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ratu Boko Temple

High on a mountain side about three kilometers to the South of Prambanan temple, Ratu Boko Temple, provides spectacular vistas of the Prambanan plain. To this day it is still unknown who discovered Ratu Boko or who named it. Inscriptions dating from the mid 700's say that it was a dormitory for monks. There are several ruins, including a well preserved arena which was used as a hall for royal audiences. Some legends say that it was also used as a venue for tests of mortal combat. A series of circular plunge pools carved into the limestone were used as royal baths. But most spectacular of all, is the entrance gate. With two separate gateways set on different levels, it contains very elaborate stone facings.