THE MENDUT TEMPLE

Image by Edi Wibowo - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Mendut is a 19th century Buddhist temple that is quite popular in Indonesia. It is about three kilometers from Borobudur temple.

The name Mendut is derived from the word Venuvana that means a temple in the bamboo forest.

Mendut temple was built in the reign of king Indra of Syailendra dynasty in 824 AD. In the Karang Tengah inscription, King Indra built a sacred building named Venuvana that means bamboo forest. Venuvana was interpreted as Mendut Temple by J.G. de Casparis.

When it was first discovered in 1836, the entire structure was still in its original shape except the missing roof. No one knows where the roof has gone.

The Dutch authorities started the restoration in 1897 and ended in 1904. The first restoration was far from perfect. However, it succeeded in reconstructing the foundation and the body of the temple.

The restoration work was continued by Van Erp in 1908. Van Erp led the reconstruction of perfecting the roof, repairing the stupas and the upper part of the temple. As it had only a limited fund, the restoration was postponed and was finally completed in 1925.

Mendut is a square temple and it is 26.40 meters high. There’s a square terrace with balustrade on the base level. The lower walls have different story reliefs, sculptures of flowers and beautiful climbing plants.

Some areas of the outer walls have old drains for releasing water from the terrace. The drainage system of a temple is quite common in central Java and Yogyakarta. The drains of every of the temple have different shapes.

In the temple, there’s the room that has the altar of three standing Buddha statues. From the left, there is the bodhisattva Vajravani, Avalokitesvara and Buddha Sakyamuni. The three statues are still in good condition, some flowers and jossticks are usually seen under the statues. Iron fences are set in front of the statues to prevent them from unwanted damage.

There’s the relief of four handed Buddha standing on an area that has the shape of a phallus. The magnificent Buddha wears the imperial clothes.

The halo around Buddha’s head shines the golden light of glory. Both the hands are in varamudra gesture, which means giving grace to others. The outer left hand holds a holy book, while the outer right hand grasps a rosary. On the left, there’s a lotus flower growing out of a canister.

On the north wall, there’s the relief of goddess Tara sitting in a lotus flower accompanied by two men on the left and right.

The goddess Tara has eight hands. Her four left hands hold oyster, thunderbolt diamond, Vishnu’s mystical weapon and rosary. The four right hands hold a cup, axe, stick and noble book.

On the west wall beside the north entrance has the relief of sarwaniwaranawiskhambi standing under an umbrella. This spiritual character also wears the imperial clothes.

In the era of Buddhist kingdom, pilgrims visited Mendut temple to pray for pregnancy. Nowadays, tourists from different parts of the world come to this sacred place to pray for the recoveries of their illnesses.

There’re a lot of trees around Mendut temple and it’s always cool even in an extremely hot day. You may take some photos under the beautiful trees and keep them in your album.

There are also a great many of souvenir stores, which sell table decorations in the shape of a temple, ashtrays, key rings, drawings, calendars, etc.

The food vendors will be very glad to offer you various kinds of central Javanese food if you come and visit them.

There’re some three-star hotels that you can stay comfortably after visiting Mendut temple and the room rates aren’t so costly.

You’ll have a very great day at Mendut temple and an unforgettable memory after returning to your country.

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