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Indonesia: Candi Sambisari, Java

October 25, 2015

Another site near Jogjakarta made a strong impression on us during our visit to the area.  I knew I wanted to visit Candi Sambisari after learning that the temple had only been rediscovered by accident in 1966. Apparently constructed in the 9th century AD, a farmer plowing a field stumbled upon the ruins when his farm implement hit stone.  The best guess is that Sambisari was covered during an eruption of Merapi Volcano and then completely forgotten in the aftermath.

You can see that when Sambisari was built the ground level was several meters below what it is now.

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While the modern ornamentation lacks subtlety, the original geometric layout, aligned with the four cardinal points, is well preserved. Something about the site seems different, although I can’t quite put my finger on the nature of Sambisari’s uniqueness.  Perhaps it is the central shrine with its lingam, obviously the principal object of worship. The melted candle wax at its tip indicates that the shrine is still visited by devotees.

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The lingam is supported by wonderful platform held in place by serpents.

Toothy serpents or perhaps dragon hybrids?

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The main tower, quite discreet, also sports an interesting geometric design. Likely the protrusions represent lotus flowers.

java 357Outside the base of the shrine stand beautiful statues at of the four sides.

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Best of all, Diana and I had the place to ourselves. Always makes for a more enjoyable experience.

java 198photos by  Kit and Diana Herring

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