Photo: Java’s oldest.

Dieng’s Temples and Kawah Sikidang

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Central Java’s Dieng Plateau is home to Indonesia’s oldest surviving Hindu temples peppering a highly volatile geothermal plane, the guts of an ancient caldera.





In a half-day walk from the village of Dieng it is possible to visit most of the temples, a small museum, Kawah Sikidang, a bubbling, hissing volcanic creator and Telaga Warna, a picturesque lake, returning to Dieng via a circular route.

Forget the temples, we found a foreign tourist! Photo taken in or around Dieng’s Temples and Kawah Sikidang, Dieng Plateau, Indonesia by Stuart McDonald.

Forget the temples, we found a foreign tourist! Photo: Stuart McDonald

Dieng Plateau’s temples (Candi) were likely constructed between the eight and ninth centuries, and at a later date mysteriously abandoned and reclaimed by nature. Rediscovered in the early 19th century, it’s believed much of the site was pillaged for building materials but experts surmise there may have been in excess of 400 temples in its heyday. Today eight remain.

The squat stone temples are thought to be influenced by Pallavan architecture from Southern India, combined with certain local vernacular and were built as shrines to the Hindu god Shiva. Interesting, although these stone edifices are the oldest surviving, they may not have been Java’s first Hindu temples and earlier wooden structures are thought to have existed, evidenced by architecture depicted on reliefs in Borobudur.

Dieng’s weather really turned it on for our visit... Photo taken in or around Dieng’s Temples and Kawah Sikidang, Dieng Plateau, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

Dieng’s weather really turned it on for our visit... Photo: Sally Arnold

The temples are a mini representation of the Hindu cosmos, divided into three sections: Bhurloka, the lowest realm of mortals, Bhuvarloka, for the pure including ascetics and the enlightened and Svarloka the highest and holiest realm of the gods. This symbolism continued into later Islamic architecture and can be seen in the roof style of mosques ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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Dieng’s Temples and Kawah Sikidang
Dieng village.

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