Candi Sawentar

15 Jun

Sawentar 1

Not too far from Blitar is a little neglected temple called Candi Sawentar, deep inside the patchwork of villages interspersed with rice paddies that makes up the bulk of rural Java. The countryside of Java, between Majestic Bromo and the Ancient ruins of the Dieng Plateau, are dotted with these reminders of an older time, most still lost, others part of the relatively timeless landscape of the Javanese countryside. With some local know how and a bit of determination, tracking down ancient remains such as this temple can be an enjoyable way to spend a few days in Java.

Not much is known about this temple. Probably built in the early part of the 13th Century, it was covered in Volcanic Ash spewn forth by the nearby Gunung Kelud, and remained buried and forgotten for half a millenium until the early 20th century. There’s actually quite a few sites like this in Java, the past covered up by the destructive fury that is also the source of Java’s legendary Fecundity. It’s a cycle of of destruction and rebirth that in a lot of ways runs parallel to the culture of the Island. Or some crap like that. The temple sits below ground level, dug out during restorations nearly 100 years ago.

Sawentar 2

The temple itself has left scarcely any details as to its reason for being here. There’s hardly anything in way of engraving, and the only real sculptures are a couple of Kala heads on two sides of the temple. The Platform is slightly thicker than the top of the temple, leaving a small gallery to walk around. The structure tops out at just over ten metres tall. Beyond that, there’s little else to say about this temple, pretty far off the tourist trail and not a particularly important site. This is definitely one for the purists. Oh yeah, and the guy with the high powered hose is cleaning the thing!



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