Thetraveljunkie.org – We went to a temple at 1,400 meters above sea level, on the western slopes of Mount Lawu, Central Jawa, it named Cetho Temple (Candi Cetho), a Hindu temple heritage character of the last days of the Majapahit in the 15th century and the temple is believed to have supranatural powers within its exotic shape. It was around one hour from Solo to the temple by motorbike. We will forever remember the exotic Cetho temple, view of Lawu mountain with all the trees in bloom, must be stunning. Any excuse is valid to go back.
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From the courtyard, we can already feel the vibe of the temple’s grandeur and sacredness. The towering gate with Mount Lawu in the background feels as though it is taking visitors into another dimension. Walking onto the first terrace, we encounter two statues in respectful poses as if they are welcoming us to go up to the next level. The artefact from the end of the kingdom of Majapahit is both unique and artistic. It is terraced and each terrace is marked with a gate.
Perhaps one of the most defining things in this temple is the statue on the seventh terrace. A phallus with a ball pierced on its top beside a mortar (for pounding rice) which probably symbolizes female genitals. The two genital symbols with exotic shape are believed to have several meanings, one of which is fertility. Then there are a big turtle and various creepy crawlies artistically arranged. On this terrace the followers of Kejawen (Javansese traditional beliefs) perform their rituals and meditations.
These symbols of phallus and vagina are actually a different form of the statues of Lingga and Yoni found in many earlier Hindu temples, with a different design which makes them look like a Garuda if seen from above.
On the subsequent terraces there are many statues and reliefs of Sudhamala, and also of Sabdo Palon and Noyoginggong believed to be King Brawijaya V’s beloved servants. On the 8th terrace, on the left side, there is a quite big phallus complete with an incense bowl in front of it. On the last terrace there is a cut pyramid on top of which sits a cubical altar which always has a red and white cloth wrapped around it.
We recommend you get totally lost around the Cetho temple, which right up till the present day is used for worship by the followers of Kejawen and Hindus from around the world. And we’re still dying to go back.
Stay tuned for more adventures around Central Java with @thebojoku in Indonesia.
Happy Sustainable Travels!