Photo: Evocative.

Candi Jabung

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Candi Jabung is Java’s easternmost Majapahit temple, a relic from the Hindu-Buddhist Kingdom based in East Java between the 13th and 15th centuries that during the golden age in the 14th century spread its tentacles as far as mainland Southeast Asia.

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The small but impressive temple is believed to be a funerary site for Majapahit royalty. The temple lays around 35 kilometres east of Probolinggo, around 500 metres off the main north coast route to Banyuwangi. Candi Jabung, standing a little over 16 metres, is constructed of red brick which was then carved in relief. Apparently an inscription over the entrance reads 1276, which in the Saka calendar used at the time corresponds to 1354 (although we couldn’t make this out when we visited).

No risk of forgetting where you are. Photo taken in or around Candi Jabung, Probolinggo, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

No risk of forgetting where you are. Photo: Sally Arnold

References in classical Javanese texts mention that the temple was visited by legendary Majapahit King Hayam Wuruk in 1359. The temple underwent a five year restoration during the 1980s, but historic photographs from the mid 19th century don’t look too dissimilar. The west-facing temple sits on a staggered rectangular base with a protruding staircase leading to a narrow portal in the almost cylindrical shaped main body of the structure. The roof is incomplete, but experts suggest it was most likely crowned by a stupa. The whole structure gives the impression of a giant yoni-lingga.

The lower levels are carved with florid patterns interwoven with various animals and images of daily life and while some carvings are well preserved, much of the finer details are badly worn and difficult to make out. Fierce giant Kala masks appear above niches facing the cardinal points, although are missing above the main doorway—this common element in temple architecture of the period was designed to protect and scare away malevolent spirits. The steep stairway leading to the inner chamber is very deteriorated and closed to ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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How to get there
By car or ojek from Probolinggo the journey to Candi Jabung is very straightforward—head east towards Banyuwangi and around five kilometres past the large urban centre of Kraksaan look out for a small sign (on the left) indicating the turnoff to the right. Continue for 500 metres.

To reach Candi Jabung by bus from Probolinggo, take any bus from Terminal Bayuangga heading to Situbondo and ask the driver to let you off at the turnoff, then it’s a 500 metre walk along a flat paved road. For the return journey, walk back and hail down a bus.

For a comfortable air-con Patas bus you’ll have to pay the full fare to Situbondo which is around 30,000 rupiah, the economy bus price to Situbondo is 18,000 rupiah, but you can probably negotiate 10,000–15,000 rupiah for the shorter trip which will take around one to one-and-a-half hours each way, depending on traffic.

Candi Jabung
35 kilometres east of Probolinggo
Admission: Free

Location map for Candi Jabung

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