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Home Tourist Attractions Attractions in Java Sukuh Temple

Candi Sukuh is a fifteenth century Javanese-Hindu temple (candi) that is located on the western slope of Mount Lawu (elev. 910 m or 3,000 feet (910 m) above sea level) on the border between Central and East Java provinces.

Candi Sukuh has a distinctive thematic reliefs from other candi where life before birth and sexual education are its main theme. Its main monument is a simple pyramid structure with reliefs and statues in front of it, including three tortoises with flattened shells and a male figure grasping his penis. A giant 1.82 m (6 ft) high of lingga (phallus) with four balls, representing penile incisions, was one of the statues that has been relocated to the National Museum of Indonesia.

The founder of Candi Sukuh thought that the slope of Mount Lawe is a sacred place for worshiping the ancestors, nature spirits and the observance of the fertility cults. The monument was built around 1437, as written as a chronogram date on the western gate, meaning that the area was under the rule of the Majapahit Kingdom during its end (1293–1500). It is unknown whether the construction of the temple was related to the decline of the kingdom. Some archaeologists, however, believe the founder had cast the fall of Majapahit, based on the reliefs that displaying the feud between two aristrocratic houses symbolizing two internal conflicts in the kingdom.

In 1815, Sir Thomas Raffles, the ruler of Java during 1811–1816, visited the temple and he found the temple in a bad condition. In his account, there were many statues that had been thrown down on the ground and most of the figures had been decapitated. Raffles also found the giant lingga statue broken into two pieces which was then glued together.

 

 
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