Image by Dharma from Penang, Malaysia - 002 Candi Kalasan, CC BY 2.0

Most people know that Borobudur is a very old Buddhist temple in Indonesia. Whenever they go to Yogyakarta, they’ll likely visit this temple. In fact, there’re still a lot of Buddhist temples that can be visited during a summer vacation.

One of the ancient Buddhist temples, which is close to Prambanan temple, is Kalasan temple. It is situated in Tirtomani village, Kalasan subdistrict. It is said that Kalasan temple is the oldest in Yogyakarta.

Kalasan temple has a combination of Buddhist and Hindus architectural styles. This temple was built in 700 Saka or 778 AD by Rakai Panangkaran of the Sanjaya dynasty.

There was only Kalasan temple at the beginning. However, other temples were discovered after a deeper and wider area of excavation.

Besides Kalasan temples and other buildings, there are three little temples that take the shape of a stupa.

Though Kalasan temple isn’t as famous as Borobudur or Prambanan, it’s quite unique and has immense historical value. The ornaments of this temple are a lot different. The strong adhesive used for sticking the reliefs on the outer wall was made of plant sap.

Kalasan temple has the size of 45 x 34 meters. The cube shaped upper part of the temple, which is surrounded by 52 stupas, symbolizes the top of Mount Meru.  Besides the main chamber, there’re four other rooms in this temple.

There’s also a god statue that attracts tourists’ attention. The statue holds lotus flowers and the lion shaped throne add more beauty to the environment. That’s why a large number of visitors want to take photos with this god statue.

The roof of the temple has an octagonal shape. It’s unbelievable that the ancient people had so awesome artistic sense. It should spend a lot of time to accomplish all the hard work.

The Kalasan inscription is written in Sanskrit. The inscription states that Kalasan temple was built based on the suggestion of the religious leaders in Wangsa Syailendra dynasty.

Some historians made the research on Kalasan temple. Prof. Dr. Casparis was one of the researchers. According to Van Rumond, Kalasan wasn’t the oldest temple in Yogyakarta. He expressed his opinion on the matter in 1928.

The archeologists said that the temple had been restored several times. It can be seen at the foot of the temple. According to the research, there’re the signs that a restoration had been taking place from 1927 to 1929.

Nowadays, Kalasan temple is still the place for Buddhist to worship goddess Tara. Most of them are the followers of Trantrayana Buddhism.

The main chamber, which is in the shape of a square, sits in the middle of the temple. The entrance door is on the east side of the temple.

You can see a layered stone structure in the main chamber and it was the place for goddess Tara statue in olden days. It is said that the statue was made of bronze and was 6 meters high. The statue has disappeared for a long time and no one knows where it has gone.


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