Walk up the Hill, Find Gunung Wukir Temples

THERE is no parking space. Visitors have to leave their vehicles in resident’s courtyard in Dusun (Hamlet of) Carikan. What they should do then, to walk through the plantation, crossing a 15 meters long bridge, and ready to struggling up the hill through a kilometer long stretch of the trail.

By SAHRUDIN, MagelangImages

King Sanjaya Gunung Wukir Temple Java Magelang

Staffs and security officers to clean one of temples in Gunung Wukir from thick ashes from the eruption of Mount Merapi, November 2010. Image ©Sahrudin.

Conservation management of Gunung (Mount) Wukir temples is controlled by the Office of Archaeological Heritage of Central Java. Those temples themselves were built by King Sanjaya in 732 CE (Christian/Common Era), on the peak of the Wukir Hill in Dusun Carikan, Kadiluwih Village, Salam Subdistrict of Magelang Regency.

It is estimated that the Wukir Hill once was located in a village named Kunjara Kunja. And rice fields surround the hill now, that’s what used to be the ancient village of Kunjara Kunja.

“Stone mortars and other stone households had been discovered in the rice fields. It is estimated that the rice fields that once were a village, ” Surahman, one of officers in Gunung Wukir temples, said.

To manage conservation of the historical heritage, the Office of Archaeological Heritage of Central Java employs 3 staffs and 2 security officers. They are Surahman, Supriyo and Widodo as staffs, and Suparman and Witono as security officers.

“But we should all be involved when these temples need to be cleaned. We have to work together, and no differences between our positions, ” Suparman added.

The complex of Gunung Wukir temples overall has ​​2550 square meters area. These temples consist of a main temple measuring 155 centimeters and 85 centimeters wide, and three ancillary temples surround.

Gunung Wukir are Hindu temples, seen from the presence of the” Yoni” and a statue of “Nandi” or a bull. The Yoni is the Sanskrit word for female genitalia. Its counterpart is the Lingga, as interpreted by some, the phallus.

Meanwhile, the Lingga or artificial phallus of King Sanjaya as mentioned in the Canggal inscription, no longer exists since the discovery in 1938. The Canggal inscription and some important statues were found, are now being collected by Jakarta’s National Museum.

It is not all temple stones left outside. A long-cube-shaped stone with Batara Kala (one of several gods in Hinduism) face carving, for security reasons, stored in staff’s room office.

“The ancient stone of Batara Kala face carving, is the best quality relief of the Gunung Wukir temples. Other sculptures of these temples are mostly broken. We do worry of its safety if we left the Batara Kala sculpture outside , ” Suparman added.

Nandi Bull Hindu Gunung Wukir Temple Java Indonesia

The Nandi or bull statue in Gunung Wukir temples. Image ©Sahrudin.

Falling shes from the eruption of Mount Merapi on November 3 and 4 2010, had caused the collapse of bamboos and trees on the slope of the Wukir Hill. For days, people could not pass the footpath in the hill. Residents and staffs at the Gunung Wukir temples worked together. Trunks of trees and bamboos could be cleared within 5 days.

According to the guest book, visitors to Gunung Wukir temples no more than one person every month in average. I came on November 24 2010, and was became the first visitor in this month. Surahman said, most visitors precisely researchers who came from overseas. “Local tourists seemed less interested in the site,” Surahman estimates.

KING SANJAYA won the war, and replaced his uncle Sanna as ruler of the Mataram Hindu Kingdom. He whose holds the Rakai Mataram Sang Ratu Sanjaya, then set up a phallus on top of a 335 meters high hill. More than 1.200 years later, the cluster of the historical evidence was found in a damaged condition, buried under volcanic material of Mount Merapi. And now, King Sanjaya’s relic to be known as the Gunung Wukir temples.

One of historical sources mentioned that the Gunung Wukir temples being found before 1938. The source was a Dutch book “Herstel in Eigen Waarde: Monumentenzorg in Indonesie” written by Professor August Johan Bernet Kempers (1978). On pages 116 and 118, pictures 62 and 63, there are 2 photos each with the caption: “Gunung Wukir, ontgraving en gedeeltelijke wederopbouw van een bijtempel, 1938”. (Mount Wukir, Partial Excavation and Reconstruction in a Temple, 1938).

From one of Kempers’s black-white photos, it is clearly seen the Gunung Wukir temples: stones was still unruly and scattered. There was still a bamboo hut in the southeastern part of those temples area, with grass or perhaps palm leaves roof.

While from another photo, it is seen a big tree standing in the southwest of the temples area. But now, of course, that bamboo hut has no longer exists. While a large tree as shown in the photo, nobody knows, when it was being cut down.

Kempers who born in Holland in 1906, is a cultural historian and archaeologist. When he was only a few months old, his parents took him to Indonesia. In this country, in fact, Kempers even stood to stay for about 50 years. During the time, he worked as a librarian at the National Museum in Jakarta, and was also became Director of Institute for Archaeology in Yogyakarta. His researches, at least, summarized in five books on the archaeological and cultural history of Indonesia.

“These temples are actually very important to unravel the chain of King Sanjaya’s power and life,” Widodo said. His reason is, for instance, critical statements of King Sanjaya listed in the Canggal inscription (year of 654 Saka/732 CE) found in the Gunung Wukir temples.

“It is estimated, the Canggal inscription was the last one written by Sanjaya before his power as King of Mataram Hindu ended due to his death,” Widodo explained.

But Widodo reminded, some other sources told that the Canggal inscription actually created when Sanjaya was just ordained to be the King of Hindu Mataram in Java, to replace the King Sanna who died on the battlefield. This opinion was based that Sanjaya was born in 717 CE and died in 746 CE.

“The Mantyasih inscription which was also found in Magelang, marked in 907 CE. So, the Canggal inscription on the Gunung Wukir temples is 200 years older than the Mantyasih. Just after Sanjaya entitled the Rakai Mataram Sang Ratu Sanjaya, it was just written in the Mantyasih inscription, ” Surahman explained.

It is implicitly told in the Canggal inscription, King Sanjaya was being equalized to Raghu, who had conquered several kings surround him. The greatness of King Sanjaya was depicted as Meru, a tall creature, whose his legs placed far above heads of other kings.

During King Sanjaya’s reign, the world was narrated as breasted belted ocean and mountains. “How sturdy a country named Hindu Mataram in the hands of King Sanjaya,” Surahman said.[magelang.images@yahoo.com]

Baca versi Bahasa Indonesia.


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