Sukuh Temple is one of the most interesting temple in South East Asia. It is full of erotic ornaments. Another unique thing is the shape of the temple looks like a Mayan pyramid from the Middle America. Unfortunately, this temple is still less-known.
Dukuh Berjo, Desa Sukuh
Unlike the world famous Khajuraho Temple in India, not many people know about Sukuh Temple. Donít blame yourself. Even many of Jogja people do not know the existence of this temple. It probably because of the location, hidden on the slopes of Lawu Mountain in the elevation of more than a thousand meters above the sea level. From Tirtonadi bus station, you can take a Solo - Tawangmangu bus and get off in Karang Pandan, continued with taking a minibus to Kemuning and then an ojek (motorcycle ride) to the temple. If you decide to drive your own car or a car rental, it should be a 2000 cc diesel car or more, so that you can go through some steep grades.
It is not really a big complex located on a terraces land. Instead of right in the middle, the main gate was built on the right side. There were some reliefs on the gate. A tall stone steps took YogYES to the front of the main gate, but there was a chain preventing visitors to go inside it. To go to the second terrace, YogYES had to walk around through the right of the gate. From this spot, the reliefs can be seen clearly. There was a relief of Garuda (a large mythical bird appears in both Hindu and Buddhist mythology) gripped a dragon with its legs. What interesting are there were reliefs of some naked people! It is just surprising since Indonesia is a country with strong norms and values. In addition, temple is identical with a spiritual building to worship God. Peeking inside the gate, there was an offering of flowers and incense on the floor, near a relief of lingga and yoni in a chain circle.
Walking closer to the main temple, there was an adult waist-high stone stage on the left. A stone tower stood on the stage and was beautified by (again) erotic reliefs of some naked people. One side of the tower was carved a horse shoe-shape relief with two men inside. Many people believe that this symbolize a woman womb. The left man is the symbol of badness and the right man is the symbol of the goodness. A small temple stood in front of the main temple. Walking to the right, there was a headless statue (Gupala). This statue is holding his "spear" which seemed too big for his body size, un-proportional. Wow!
Another interesting thing about Sukuh is its different architecture. If the other temples were built in a shape symbolizing Meru Mountain, Sukuh has a very simple trapezoidal shape. Built on the XV century just years before the collapse of Majapahit Empire, this temple looks more like Mayan Pyramid from Middle America. Is it possible if two different tribes in two different continents build buildings with almost the same shape and architecture? Or was there any influence from Mayan in the process of Sukuhís construction?
Many theories had risen trying to solve the mysteries. One of them said that Sukuh was built in the time when Hindu cultures diminished. As the impact, it was built using the concept back to the pre-historic Megalithic culture. Another theory said that the temple shape is a part of finding Tirta Amerta (the eternal-life water) story in the book of Adiparwa, the first sequel of Mahabharata. A cut pyramid symbolizes Mandaragiri that was cut the peak to swirl the ocean, looking for Tirta Amerta which can give eternal life for whoever drink it.
There are still many mysteries and questions about Sukuh Temple. You are not just taking a walk on the cool mountain slopes enjoying a beautiful ancient architecture of the last temple built in Java. Wandering around looking for story traces and pieces of ancient history evidences will be a challenging and un-forgetful experience.
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