Umbul Temple, Warm Springs, and Relaxing Feel

Umbul temple and warm springs pools, in Kartoharjo Village, Grabag District, Magelang Regency. Images taken on November 18, 2011.

 

By: Sahrudin – alwaysmagelang@gmail.com

“The moss, combined with warm water directly from the source, create a very relaxing feel…”

UMBUL temple is located in Kartoharjo Village, Grabag District, in the northern part of Magelang Regency.

It is situated in upper middle land, at the bottom of a small but deep valley surrounded by hills, several tens of meters south of the River Elo.

Thousand year old warm springs pools in the area, are things that make Umbul different from other ancient temples.

The main pool is relatively small, measuring 12.50 meters long, 7.15 meters wide and about 1.5 meters deep.

A staircase located on one side of the pool gives access to the bottom surface.

The other, smaller pool has an area of only 8.50 meters by 7 meters, also with an andesite staircase on one of its sides.

A two meters long water channel links the two ponds, so that water can freely flow from the main pool to another one.

Air bubbles coming out of between round stones lining bottom surface of each pool, indicate there are springs down there.

Moss-like algae that grow on each side of the ponds seem never been cleaned, make bottom surface of the pools slippery, and water feels kind of mossy.

But a friend once said: “The moss, combined with warm water directly from the source, create a very relaxing feel…”

Umbul temple and its warm springs pools was probably built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty.

A large number of scattered stones are still visible around the ponds, among other several lingga (the symbol of male genital) shaped stones, a yoni (female genital), numerous mouldings and a miniature temple.

It possible that two temples once stood here, although their bases could not be located.

Fragments of seven sculptures with the lower limbs of a bird are still visible.

They might have been birds, kinari or garuda (eagle).

Several other sculptures have been found here, among others a lingga, two yoni, two Ganesha (elephant head, large ears, long noses), two Durga, and one Agastya.

A garuda with a human body was also discovered among the ruins.

After hundreds of years buried, in 1870, Umbul temple was renovated and reopened by Dutch East Indies government.

RHT Friederich, RDM Verbeek, and NJ Krom were among researchers who had observed the temple in the 18th and 19th centuries.***

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