Standing in the middle of Dieng Plateau, Arjuna temple brings another nuance than just a place of Hindus praying in the past. The not so many reliefs and inscriptions revealing about the temple makes it as one of the Asia's most mysterious temples.
Desa Dieng Kulon, Kecamatan Batur, Kabupaten Banjarnegara
Cultural relics as the witnesses of the past greatness scattered in every corners of the archipelago. The example is the Arjuna Temple, one of the oldest temples in Java. In this complex, only five of more than a thousand years old temples that still stand sturdy. The temple was pretty crowded with visitor both domestic and international that evening. They walked around for a closer view of the temple. The atmosphere was relaxing and peaceful. A group of young people took an advantage of terrain on the right temple to play football.
These temples were first discovered by a British soldier named Van Kinsbergen in 1814. Unlike the other temples that mostly found buried underneath the land, the temples on Dieng plateau were found on a water swamp. The drying process started more than 40 years later. There is no clue about who named the temples after the puppet characters. The main temple is Arjuna which is facing a smaller temple with an elongated shape that is often called Semar Temple.
Srikandi Temple, PuntadewaTemple, and SembadraTemple stood in line on the left of Arjuna. Puntadewa has a shape that is almost similar to the Arjuna, while Srikandi Temple and Sembadra Temple slightly smaller and shorter. Based on the folklore, Puntadewa Temple is in the midst of Srikandi and Sembadra as a mediator for the two sisters who both became the wife of Arjuna.
Beautiful gardens with pine trees and flowers around the temple complex presented the beauty in the midst of peace and serenity atmosphere. On the distance, white smoke is billowing endlessly from numerous volcanic craters. The hills and mountains surrounding added a peace in to our mind. Many young people took advantages of the beauty and serenity of this temple by spending the times with their spouse or partner. YogYES walked slowly on the grassy land surrounded the temple, while admiring the natural beauty of God's creation and breathe fresh air that is almost impossible to find in the middle of urban areas. The turf felt soft and bouncy. It WAS bouncy. The complex was once a swamp, so the ground around the temple contained a lot of water. As a result, walking on the ground felt like walking on foam.
Arjuna temple complex is the oldest Hindu temple in Java Island which was built in 809 AD and was a place of worship of Shiva. This can be seen from the Lingga and Yoni in the main temple, and the statues of Goddess Durga, Ganesha, and Agastya on the building. The statues are now placed in the Kaliasa Museum near the temple. Architecturally, Arjuna Temple was influenced by the Indian culture. The shape is similar to a temple in southern India called Wimana. Meanwhile, Semar Temple was likely copied the form of Mandapa, which became part of a temple in India as a place for the pilgrims and festivals.
There is not many temple reliefs found in this complex. There was only a relief depicting the Trimurti Gods; Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma, strengthens the evidence that this temple is a Hindu temple. But strangely, these reliefs were not carved on the main temple. Depictions of the three Gods were found on the walls of the Srikandi Temple. While the walls on the other temples were plain. None of the 12 inscriptions found in Dieng explain about this. There was only Kala decoration at the entrance of temples and niches where statues were placed.
After enjoying with the beauty and peace fulness of Arjuna Temple, YogYES followed the path toward the southwest. Approximately 10 minutes walking, we arrived at a small temple called Gatotkaca. Rows of shops and stalls lined nearby, provided a variety of souvenirs, traditional food and drink of Dieng.
Across the street, on the slopes of a hill stood a museum called the Kaliasa Museum. There are 4 buildings in which two showrooms functioned to display variety of objects and artifacts of historical heritage. Most items on display are statues and stones from the complex of temples in Dieng. The most interesting item is the three-headed Shiva statue often referred as Shiva Trisirah. Shiva Trisirah is known as the oldest form of worship to Shiva. In addition, the museum is also displaying various information about the typical life of the indigenous Dieng people, traditional arts, as well as information about the phenomenal of the dreadlocks children. There is also a theater space to play the documentary film about Dieng’s natural and cultural potential that would be played for at least a 10-visitors group.
Exiting the museum, YogYES walked up the stone steps leading to the building located at the highest. It turned out that this building serves as a cafe. While unwind after going around the temple and museum, sat in the cafe, sipping hot drinks and enjoy the breathtaking view of the Dieng Plateau is just amazing.
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