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Cetha Temple - 1451 AD to 1470 AD

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Surabaya (Dreamland Library) - Cetha Hamlet (Dreamland Library) - Actually Cetha Temple cannot be grouped into temples in East Java because it is located in Hamlet Cetha, Gumeng Village, Jenawi District, Karanganyar Regency, Central Java Province.

But because historically the Cetha Temple is more closely related to the Majapahit Kingdom, the Cetha Temple was included in the Temple group in East Java on this website.

Cetha Temple is one of the temples that was built during the Majapahit Kingdom, namely during the reign of King Brawijaya V. It is said that the name Cetha, which in Javanese means clearly, is used as the name of the village where the temple is located because from the Cetha Hamlet people can clearly go to various the direction.

To the north there are views of Karanganyar and Solo City against the backdrop of Mount Merbabu and Merapi and, furthermore, the summit of Mount Sumbing. To the west and east are visible green hills, while to the south are the backs and children of Mount Lawu.

The Cetha Temple Complex was first discovered by Van der Vlis in 1842. Furthermore, the historic building received much attention from archaeologists such as W.F. Sutterheim, K.C. Crucq, N.j. Krom, A.J. Bernet Kempers and Riboet Darmosoetopo. In 1928 the Antiquities Service conducted a research through excavations to find more complete reconstruction materials. Existing buildings today, including buildings pendapa from wood, is the result of renovations carried out in the late 1970s. It is unfortunate that the restoration, or more accurately called the rebuilding, was carried out without regard to archeological aspects, so that the authenticity of the form cannot be scientifically justified.

From the writings found at the location of the temple, it is known that this temple was built around 1451-1470, which was at the end of the reign of the Majapahit Kingdom. Cetha Temple is a Hindu temple that was built for the purpose of 'ruwatan', which is ruwatan or rescue efforts from disaster and various forms of pressure due to the ongoing chaos at that time. The fact that this temple is a Hindu temple is very interesting, because the Majapahit kings embraced Buddhism. This 'deviation' is thought to be closely related to its development goals. At that time the Majapahit Kingdom was undergoing a process of collapse with the peak of social, political, cultural and even religious chaos before finally experiencing a total collapse in 1478 AD

Cetha Temple is a group of buildings consisting of 11 terraces that extend east-west. The first terrace is located on the east side, increasingly to the west the higher. Each terrace is connected by a door and a path that seems to split the terrace into two sides. On the east side of the lower terrace there is a gate which is the gate of the Cetha Temple complex. In front of the gate there is a stone statue called the Nyai Gemang Arum statue.

On the south side of the first terrace there is a wallless building that stands on a foundation as high as approximately 2 m. Inside the building there is a stone structure that seems often used to place offerings. At the western end of the path that crosses the first terrace yard there is a stone gate with a stone staircase. The stairs to the next terrace are flanked by a pair of Nyai Agni statues. Only one of the two statues is still rather intact, which still has a head.

On the second terrace page there is a composition of stones that lie in the yard, forming an image of a flying eagle with wings spread. On the back of Garuda there is a stone structure depicting a turtle. Directly above the head of Garuda there is an arrangement of sun-shaped stones shining, isosceles triangle and Kalachakra (male genitals). At the tips of each Garuda wing there are two other forms of sun.

Garuda is the vehicle of Vishnu which symbolizes the upper world, while the turtle which is the incarnation of Vishnu is a symbol of the underworld. Turtles are considered magical animals that are able to dive into the ocean to get the water of life (tirta amerta). The presence of kalachakra on this page causes Cetha Temple to be called a 'lanang' (male) temple.

The sun shines 7 (seven) symbolizes the Sun which is believed to be the source of life force. The isosceles triangle symbolizes guidelines for a world that is sinking into a sea of ​​darkness. In the center of the isosceles triangle there is a circle containing three frogs, each facing a different angle.

In each triangle there is a painting of a lizard. On the heavy line dividing the east side there is the shape of a crowned eel with a picture of planers on the south side and mimi (a type of sea animal) on the north side. The whole form is a picture of hope for fertility, both soil and human fertility. The triangle with the shape of the male sex at the top symbolizes the unity of women and men, two beings who are opposite in nature but cannot be separated from each other as a symbol of the small universe (microcosm) in humans. On the west side of the second terrace, each on the left and right of the stairs leading to the next terrace, two rooms are seen that only the foundation remains. The stairs to the next terrace are andesite stones which are not neatly arranged. On the left and right of the stairs there are stone ruins that are not clear original form.

The third terrace is a page that is not too broad. As found on the previous terrace, on the west side of this terrace there is also a pair of rooms flanking the road to the stairs to the terrace which is higher. In the room there is a stone structure forming a rectangle stretching from north to south. On the walls of the stone structure looks reliefs of people and animals. It is said that the reliefs are excerpts from Kidung Sudamala. Relief with the theme of Kidung Sudamala is also found in Sukuh Temple. This relief reinforces the suspicion that Cetha Temple was built for the purpose of 'ruwatan'. The stairs to the next terrace are made of andesite, which are very neatly arranged, made in stages with a wide gap (landing) on ​​each level. The cliffs in the guess and right of the stairs are supported by stacked stone plaster. No information is obtained whether this ladder is the result of refurbishment that has been done before or is the original ladder.

On the inner (west) side of the fourth terrace there is a pair of Bima statues guarding a stone staircase leading to the fifth terrace. The fifth terrace is a courtyard with a pair of roofed buildings, called an outside pendapa. The building without walls flank the road to the stairs to the sixth terrace. According to information obtained from the caretaker, the outside pendapa is a waiting room for guests who will face the King of Brawijaya.

On the west side of the sixth terrace, at the foot of the stairs, there is a Kalachakra statue and a pair of Ganesha statues. The ladder leading to the seventh terrace is also very neat in its arrangement and is made of 3 stories. The cliffs on both sides of the stairs are reinforced with stone piles. At the top of the stairs there is a gate which is the entrance to the seventh terrace, which is a courtyard surrounded by a stone wall. Similar to the outside pendapa, on this terrace there is also a pair of roofed pendapa without walls. This terrace is called the pendapa dalam. On the west side of the pendapa there is a ladder leading to the next terrace.

The eighth terrace is a room used for prayer. In front of the doorway there are two stone statues with Javanese writing that indicate the year the Cetha Temple was built. On the west side, behind the room, there is a ladder leading to the ninth terrace.

On the left and right of the west side of the ninth terrace there is a room facing east. The second room serves as a place to store ancient objects. On the east side, opposite each of these storage rooms, there are two buildings. The building on the north side contains the Sabdapalon statue and the one on the south side contains the Nayagenggong statue. Both of them were leaders of the clerics (caregivers and royal advisors) at that time.

The west side of the ninth terrace is bordered by a stone wall that functions as an entrance into a stone stairway leading to a room on the tenth terrace.

On each side of this space there are three wooden buildings facing each other. In each building there is a statue. One of the row of statues located in the north row is Prabu Brawijaya statue. In the south row, again, there is a Kalachakra statue. The western end of the southern row is the Empu Supa heirloom storage area. Empu Supa was a famous and respected empu (weapon maker) in his lifetime. The west side of the tenth terrace is bordered by a stone wall that functions as an entry gate into a stone stairway leading to the eleventh terrace.

At the top of the corridor there is a stone wall about 1.60 meters high which divides the stairs with the main room, in the form of a building without a roof, surrounded by a stone wall as high as almost 2 m, with an area of ​​about 5 m2. The main room, which is Prabu Brawijaya's guest house, is located higher than all the other rooms, so that from this place the rooms below are clearly visible.
The main building of Cetha Temple is located in the backyard and on the highest terrace and faces the mountain peak. This reflects the belief that the temple's sacredness is part of the natural surroundings. The architecture of the Cetha Temple is based on the concept that the gods do not reside in the sky, but rather at the top of a mountain. Mountains are a source of visible and invisible energy. That the main building of this temple is located in the top and most backyard, is different from the general temple concept which places the front room as the center of all activities, similar to that found in Panataran Temple, Blitar. Far to the west of this temple complex, on a rather high plain, there is a 'spring' or a pool where the concubines and their ladies in waiting bath. Too bad that this spring is not maintained, in contrast to the temple which is always cleaned at least once a year.

Until now Cetha Temple is still used as a place of worship and is visited by Hindus, especially on Tuesdays and Fridays, every 1 Sura (Javanese calendar). Every 6 months in this temple there is a commemoration of Wuku Medangsia. Besides Hindus, there are also many tourists who visit this temple, both men and women. There is one taboo for female visitors, namely wearing a skirt. It is recommended for women who visit to wear long pants. Perhaps the taboo is related to the belief that Cetha Temple is a lanang temple (a male temple), a temple that depicts sensitive parts of a man's body.

Cetha Temple is closely related to Sukuh Temple, which is located relatively close together. Sukuh Temple, which was founded in 1440 AD, is located on a lower plain compared to Cetha Temple.

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