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Panataran Temple - Year 1197 to 1454 AD

Blitar (DreamLandLibrary) - Panataran Temple is located on the southwest slope of Mount Kelud, about 12 km to the north of Blitar City, precisely in the Panataran Village, Ngleggok District, Blitar Municipality. This temple is a collection of ancient buildings that line from northwest to east then continue to the southeast, occupying an area of ​​12,946 m2.

The Panataran temple cluster was rediscovered in 1815 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781 - 1826), Lieutenant Governor General of the British colonial government in power in the archipelago at that time. With Dr. Horsfield, a naturalist, Raffles paid a visit to Panataran Temple. After being rediscovered by Raffles, the researchers began to arrive to investigate and record ancient objects in the Panataran area. In 1867, Andre de la Porte with J. Knebel also conducted a study of the Panataran temple area. The results of his research were published in 1900 under the title "De ruines van Panataran".

In the book Negarakertagama, Penataran Temple is called by the name of Palah Temple. It is said that Raja Hayam Wuruk (1350 - 1389 AD) of Majapahit often visited Palah to worship Hyang Acalapati, also known as Girindra (meaning mountain king) in the belief of Shiva. Therefore, it is clear that the Palah Temple was deliberately built in an area with a Mount Kelud background, because it was intended as a place to worship the mountain. Worship of Mount Kelud aims to ward off the danger and avoid the disasters that the mountain can cause.

Based on the writing on a stone located on the south side of the main building, it is suspected that the Palah Temple was built in the early 12th century AD, by order of King Srengga of Kediri. Nevertheless, Panataran Temple continued to develop and improve until, even after, the reign of Raja Hayam Wuruk. This assumption is based on various year numbers written on various places in this temple which ranged from 1197 to 1454 AD. The entire area of ​​Panataran, except the yard in the southeast, is divided by two wall lines that run from north to south into three part.

a. Gate
The entrance gate to the temple area is located on the west side. From the entrance there is a ladder going down to the court area of ​​about 6 m2. On this court there are two giant statues of the doorman (dwarapala). On the statues the inscription is written in 1242 Saka (1320 AD) in ancient Javanese letters. Based on the writing of the year figures, experts suspect that the Panataran Temple was only inaugurated as a royal temple in the reign of King Jayanegara, who ruled Majapahit in 1309-1328 AD

On the rear side of the patio, between the two Dwaraphala statues, there is a ladder going up to the front yard. At the top of the stairs there are still remnants of the gate made of red brick material. This gate is still mentioned by Jonathan Rigg during his visit to Panataran Temple in 1848.

The composition of Panataran Temple is indeed interesting because the location of the buildings is facing each other face to face, lined from front to back, so that at first glance it looks rather confusing. This arrangement of buildings is similar to the arrangement of temples in Bali. In such an arrangement, the holiest building is located in the deepest or rear yard, which is the closest to the mountain.

b. Front Yard
Bale Agung. In the front yard there are about 6 pieces of former building, 2 of which can not be recognized again the original shape. One important building is Bale Agung, which is located on the northwest side of the front yard, rather protrudes to the west (forward). Bale Agung, according to N.J.Krom, is used as a place of discussion for priests or markers, such as temples in Bali. Bale Agung is a building shaped like a rectangular stage measuring 37 X 18.84 m2 with a floor as high as 1.44 meters. The walls and roof of the building are gone. Only the floors are still intact.

On the floor there are some stone pits which were thought to have functioned as pegs on wooden poles supporting the roof. The entire floor is made of stone, decorated with carvings of a dragon wrapped around the floor wall and his head poking in every corner of the floor.

In the middle of each side there are stairs flanked by two Mahakala statues. All Mahakala statues are still in place except those on the east side.

Pastor's Residence. The building which is located on the north side, parallel to Bale Agung, is thought to have been used as a priest's residence. The entire building has been destroyed, so that only the order of the base is left.

Batur Pendapa. This building is also called Batur Pendapa. It is located southeast of Bale Agung, right behind the priests' quarters. As is the case with Bale Agung, all that remains is only a stone floor, 29.05 X 9.22 m2 with a height of 1.5 m. Around the walls of the floor decorated with relief stories. It is suspected that this Batur Pendapa building used to function as a place to put offerings in religious ceremonies.

The stairs to go up to the pendapa floor are only on the west side or the front. There are two stairs, left and right, each flanked by a pair of small giant winged statues, resting on one knee and one hand holding a mace. The cheek or staircase wall is in the form of a coil with a beautiful 'tumpal' decoration on the top. On the upper seams of the east side of the floor wall, hidden between vines and vines, there are carved figures of the year which indicate that this building was built in 1297 Saka or 1375 AD.

Batur Pendapa is also decorated with carvings of dragons back to back, wrapped around the floor wall. The tails of the two dragons back to each other are twisted together, while the head that looks up, wearing a necklace and has a crotch rising up between the pillars of the building.

Other Buildings. The two other former buildings have only a foundation made of red bricks. Seeing the number of stone piles left in the front yard, it was thought that there used to be buildings that used wooden poles like those found in temples in Bali. The number of buildings that use wooden poles is not known with certainty.

c. Middle court
About 8 m east or behind Batur Pendapa, there is a former brick wall that runs from north to south, which borders the front court with the center court. At the southern end of the border, in line with the front gate, there is a former gate which in front of it is guarded by a pair of Dwarapala Statues in smaller sizes than those found at the front gate. On the mat of one of the statues there is a number in 1214 Saka (1319 AD). Not yet known what events are associated with this year's figures. In the center court, there are still 7 former buildings, both made of red bricks and those made of andesite. Of the seven former buildings, six of them are no longer recognizable.

The central court is divided in two again by a wall that runs east-west. It is not yet known whether the central court was once surrounded by walls, because all that was left was only the foundation. Likewise the wall surrounding the entire Panataran area has collapsed. Surrounding walls and insulating walls made of red brick material that can not survive in the long time.

Temple of the Year. This building is located around 20 m. east of Batur Pendapa, made entirely of andesite. It is called the Tahun Tahun Temple, because the building above the entrance threshold is clearly carved into the year 1291 Saka (1369 CE).

Local people know him better as the Brawijaya Temple, because this building is used as a symbol of the Brawijaya Regional Military Command. Some people call it the Ganesha Temple, because in the temple room there is a statue of Ganesha (elephant-headed god). The shape of the Temple of the Year is very well known to the public, so it seems to represent the entire Panataran temple.

Temple of the Year figure faces west, because the temple door is located on the west side. In the front yard, on the left and right of the temple building, there is a pair of statues. The foot of the temple is quite high, so to reach the door a stone staircase is made with a large 'ukel' shaped (cheeked) cheek ladder with a 'tumpal' decoration in the form of flowers in an isosceles triangle arrangement. In the body of the temple there is a chamber (garba grha), in which there is a statue of Ganesha.

As with other temples, above the threshold there is a kalamakara decoration. Right below that, the number of years is explained above. On the walls on the other three sides there is a niche that resembles a pseudo door, which is also decorated with kalamakara on it. In East Java, Kalamakara is often called Banaspati which means king of the jungle. When the above the threshold and niche of the temple is intended to frighten evil spirits so they do not dare enter the temple environment.

The roof of the temple is filled with festive decoration, with a square-shaped peak. At the top of the temple's chamber on the stone covering the lid is the 'Surya' relief, which is a circle surrounded by rays of light in the form of vertical lines forming several isosceles triangles. The 'Surya' relief which is a symbol of the Majapahit Kingdom is also found in several other temples in East Java in a slightly varying form.

Naga Temple. This building is called the Dragon Temple because its body is wrapped around by a dragon-shaped sculpture. Temple building covering an area of ​​4.83 X 6.57 m. with a height of 4.70 m. it is also located in the central court. The whole building is made of andesite stone.

Like the Tahun Tahun Temple, the entrance to the temple booth is located on the west side. The foot of the temple is quite high, so stairs are made to reach the door. 'Ukel' shaped cheek ladders adorned with 'tumpal'.

On either side of the foot of the stairs there is a giant statue carrying a mace which currently only leaves one. The existing building is the result of restoration in 1917-1918. Only the legs and body of the temple were returned to its original form. The part of the roof that was possibly made from non-durable material had collapsed.

On the body wall of the temple there are sculptures of nine figures standing on the left and right of the entrance, in each corner, and in the middle of the other three walls. These nine figures are depicted in luxurious royal attire and under the auspices of 'prabha' (a leaning place which is decorated with a deity).

One hand holds the clapper, while the other hand supports the dragon's body which circles the top of the building. Among the figures carved there are carved motifs of spheres called 'medallion motifs'. In the circle there is a combination of relief of foliage or flowers and various types of animals. Among the dots there are relief stories of animals in smaller sizes. Unfortunately the story depicted in this relief can not be revealed.

According to Balinese who have visited Panataran, the function of the Naga Temple is the same as the function of the Kehen Temple in Bali, namely as a place to store objects belonging to the gods. Perhaps it is more appropriate when the Naga Temple compared to Taman Sari Temple, located in Klungkung Regency. This temple, discovered in 1975, shows a close affinity with the Majapahit kingdom. Besides functioning as a place of worship of the Klungkung Kingdom, Taman Sari Temple is also used as a 'supplying' place (giving magic powers) to the heirloom weapons brought from the Majapahit kingdom. If this comparison can be justified, then the function of the Naga Temple is not only to store ceremonial objects belonging to the gods, but also as a place of 'supplying' the inheritance of the Majapahit kingdom. Thus, for the purpose of 'supplying', the Majapahit heirlooms do not need to be brought to Bali.

d. Internal Court
The last page is the inner court which was originally also limited by a wall that runs across the north-south direction. In the south there is also a former gate that is guarded by a pair of Dwarapala statues. In this courtyard there are at least 9 buildings, 2 of which can be recognized are the main temple and the composition of the body building experiments. The other seven buildings are ruins, whose form and function have yet to be revealed.

Main Temple (Main). Main Temple is the largest building among all Panataran buildings. The location of the building is located in the rear (east) courtyard, which is considered a sacred part. The temple building consists of three terraces with a total height of 7.19 m.

The first terrace is rectangular in shape with a diameter of 30.06 meters to the east west direction. In the middle of the four sides there is a part that protrudes out about 3 m. To go up to the first terrace, there are two stairs on the left and right of the west side. On each side of the two stairs there is a statue of Dwarapala which was carved on the sculptures in 1269 Saka (1347 AD). Along the walls of the first terrace are carved reliefs of stories.

The second terrace is smaller than the first terrace, because the part that protrudes out on the first terrace actually protrudes slightly in the second terrace. The difference in size between the first terrace and the second terrace forms a corridor on the floor of the first terrace, which allows people to walk around the building while watching scenes depicted in relief stories carved along the walls. On the walls on the first and second terraces lined panels carved stories of Ramayana and and Krisnayana interspersed with medallion motif decoration.

On the second terrace there is a staircase that is located almost in the middle of the wall. This ascending staircase continues with the stairs on the third terrace.

The third terrace is almost square in shape. The walls are carved with winged dragons with heads slightly looked forward and winged lions with hind legs in a crouching position while the front legs are raised up. The carvings on the third porch wall in addition to filling the empty fields also function as building pillars.

When dismantling the third terrace floor, in the context of restoration, it was found that the middle part of the floor was made of red brick. It is clear that the building plan is rectangular in shape with parts protruding forward. Based on these findings, a suspicion arises that the original building of Panataran Temple was made of red brick. In the next period Panataran experienced an expansion by covering the original building using andesite stone. Expansion was estimated to occur in the Majapahit era.

The third terrace is an empty patio. In that place the body of the temple should have been standing which until now has not been successfully returned to its original form because not all parts of the building have been found. A part of the body of the main temple has been arranged in an experimental arrangement in the temple courtyard.

Palah inscription. In the south of the main temple still stands an inscription stone. Judging by the size of the stone inscription, experts suspect from the beginning the stone was located in that place.

The inscription, which was written using the ancient Javanese letters, dates to 1119 Saka (1197 AD), made on the orders of King Srengga of the Kingdom of Kediri. The contents of the inscription which, among other things, mentions the inauguration of a fief land for the benefit of Sira Paduka Batara Palah, underlies the notion that what is meant by Palah is nothing but Panataran Temple. If it is true that Palah is Panataran Temple, the age of Panataran Temple is at least 250 years and the construction of this temple has a long journey, namely from 1197, the era of Kediri kingdom, until 1454, the era of the Majapahit kingdom. Almost all buildings that can still be seen now come from the reign of the Majapahit kings. Perhaps older buildings (from the time of Kediri) have long since collapsed.

e. Another building.
There are still two other buildings which are located outside the Panataran area which still has to do with the Panataran temple, namely a 1337 Saka (1415 M.) swimming pool located in the southeast and a 'petirtaan' (bathing place) pool of a size rather large, which is located approximately 200 meters northeast of the temple area.

Photo: Special

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