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Candi Sewu - 746 AD to 784 AD

Jakarta (Dreamland Library) - Sewu Temple is located in Hamlet Bener, Bugisan Village, Prambanan District, Klaten Regency, Central Java Province. From the city of Yogyakarta the distance is about 17 km to Solo.

Sewu Temple is a cluster of temples which is located close to Prambanan Temple, which is approximately 800 meters south of the Rara Jongrang statue.

This temple was estimated to have been built in the 8th century, by order of the rulers of the Mataram Kingdom at that time, namely Rakai Panangkaran (746-784 AD) and Rakai Pikatan who were Hindus.

Although the king was Hindu, the Kingdom of Mataram was under the strong influence of the Buddhist dynasty of Syailendra.

Experts suspect that Sewu Temple is the center of religious activities of Buddhist communities. The allegation is based on the contents of andesite stone inscriptions found in one of the ancillary temples.

The inscription, written in Ancient Malay and dated 792 Saka, is known as the Manjusrigrta Inscription. The inscription tells about the refinement activity called Wajrasana Manjusrigrha in 714 Saka (792 AD). The name Manjusri is also mentioned in the Kelurak Inscription in 782 AD which was found near the Lumbung Temple.

Sewu Temple is located next to Prambanan Temple, so currently Sewu Temple is included in the Prambanan Temple tourist area. In the tourist area, there are also Lumbung Temple and Bubrah Temple.

Not far from the area there are also several other temples, namely: Gana Temple, about 300 m to the east, Kulon Temple about 300 m to the west, and Lor Temple about 200 m to the north.

The location of Sewu temple, the largest Buddhist temple after Borobudur temple, with Prambanan temple, which is a Hindu temple, shows that at that time Hindu and Buddhist communities coexisted harmoniously.

The name Sewu, which in Javanese means a thousand, indicates that the temples incorporated in the Sewu Temple cluster are quite large in number, although in fact it did not reach 1000 pieces.

Precisely, the Sewu Temple cluster consists of 249 temples, consisting of 1 main temple, 8 clamp temples or intermediate temples, and 240 ancillary temples. The main temple is located in the middle, on all four sides surrounded by flanking temples and perwara temples in a symmetrical arrangement.

Sewu Temple has 4 gates to the outer court, namely on the east, north, west and south sides, each of which is guarded by a pair of Dwarapala statues facing each other. From the outer court to the inner court there are also 4 entrances guarded by a pair of Dwarapala statues, similar to those found at the outer gate.

The Dwarapala statue made of solid stone is placed on a square pedestal about 1.2 m high in the position of one knee on his knees, the other leg bent, and one hand holding a mace. Dwarapala statue height reaches around 2.3 m.

The main temple or main temple is located in a square area of ​​40 m2, surrounded by a fence of stone structures as high as 0.85 m. Temple building in the form of polygon with 20 angles with a diameter of 29 m. The building height reaches 30 m with 9 roofs, each of which has a stupa at the top.

The body of the temple stands on a shelf as high as about 2.5 m. The foot of the temple is decorated with a floral motif in a vase. To reach the batur surface that forms a corridor, there is a ladder about 2 m wide which is equipped with cheek ladders. The base of the staircase's cheek is decorated with makara, the head of a dragon with its mouth wide open, with a Buddha statue inside. The outer walls of the cheeks of the stairs are decorated with giant Kalpawreksa shapes.

Above the doorway there is no Kalamakara, but the walls on the left and right of the doorway are decorated with carved dragon heads with gaping mouths. Different from the one at the base of the staircase's cheek, it is not the Buddha in the dragon's mouth, but a lion.

The main temple built of andesite has a main door on the east, so it can be said that this main temple faces east. In addition to the main door, there are 3 other doors, which are facing north, west and south.

All entrances are equipped with viewer booths. The space in the body of the temple is in the shape of a cube with walls made of red bricks. In this room there is an 'asana'. On the outer walls of the body and feet of the temple roof there are niches containing Buddha statues in various positions.

Perwara and Apit temples are all located in the outer court. On each side there are a pair of apit temples between the main temple and a row of perwara temples. Each pair of temples is flanked opposite the road that divides the yard leading to the main temple.

Apit temple stands on a batur as high as about 1 m, equipped with a ladder as wide as about 1 m leading to the hallway at the foot surface of the temple. Above the threshold is not decorated with Kalamakara carvings, but some relief panels.

The roof of the temple is in the form of a stupa with a row of small stupas adorning the base. The body wall of the temple is adorned with figures of men dressed in greatness, looking like gods, in a standing position holding a lotus handlebars in his hand.

Perwara temples are built each in four rows on the outer side around the main temple and the apit temple. In the deepest series there are 28 buildings, the second row has 44 buildings, the third row has 80 buildings, and the fourth row is 88 buildings.

All ancillary temples, except those in the third row, face outward or back to the main temple. Only those in the third row face inward. Most of the ancillary temples in the ruins are left in the form of stone piles.

Photo: Special

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