The Ancient Hindu temples
Candi Gedong Songo is among Java’s oldest antiquities, a complex of seven small Hindu temples dating from the eighth or ninth centuries (plus several more in ruins).
Architecturally similar to the earlier temples scattered around Dieng Plateau, they don’t so much have the appeal of impressive (later built) Borobudur or Prambanan near Yogyakarta, however a devastatingly beautiful mountainous setting on the slopes of Gunung Ungara, makes them well worth the 35 kilometre trip from Semarang.
Gedong Songo literally translates from Javanese as “nine buildings”, not the original name nor numerological accurate, nine is considered an auspicious number in Javanese culture, perhaps stemming from the nine virtues of Buddhism, or Java’s wali songo, nine Islamic saints (Ramadan also falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar).
Restoration works were commenced in the Dutch colonial period with ongoing projects by the Indonesian government in the 1980s and again in 2009. The reconstructed temples sit on five plateaus within the hilly landscape, signposted Candi Gunung I to V, around a looping two-and-a-half kilometre hillside path. Although the site is magnificent, we were shocked and disappointed to see much graffiti carved into the stonework of the temples, such a shameful disrespect of Indonesia’s heritage.
From the main gate, Candi Gedung I is about 250 metres along the path. This simple square structure, the earliest of the group, is constructed with a triple-stepped roof representing simultaneously Mount Meru, the holy Hindu mountain and the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva (Trimurti), typical of Hindu architecture of the time. Decorated with minimal floral relief, an open-mouthed Kala face grimaces over the top of the doorway. Note also, the carved figure on the stairs whose long curling tongue forms the balustrade.
The interior contains the remains of a yoni-lingga with just the yoni base remaining with a niche that in the past contained a standing lingga. Water poured over the top during rituals would have been collected at the spout as holy water. Arched nooks in the wall provided a place for lamps and offerings. This small temple is the only one within the complex with anything remaining inside.
( source: https://www.travelfish.org/ )
From Candi Gedung III, the path heads 150 metres into a ravine where volcanic jets of sulphurous steam hiss and splutter rotten-egg gas. Pack your swimwear for a dip in the hot springs believed to cure all kinds of ailments, 5,000 rupiah entry fee—somewhat grotty change rooms available.
The complex could be whizzed around in about an hour, but we spent a pleasant two-and-a-half hours wandering the paths and exploring the temples. If you’d like a soak in the hot springs, factor in some extra time. Horses can be hired for the trek, but they are rather small old nags who’d probably be happier with Indonesian kids on their backs rather than Western adults.
Is this your business?
Claim listing is the best way to manage this page and protect your business every time !