Cetho Temple...A 13th Century Hindu Temple

Trip Start Feb 15, 2012
Trip End Feb 20, 2012

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Where I stayed
Novotel Yogyakarta
Read my review - 4/5 stars

Flag of Indonesia  , Central Java,
Friday, February 17, 2012

From the earlier temple, it was a winding road down and then ascending up another steep mountain, in fact this was even steeper than the earlier road. This stretch of road was very scenic as there were waterfalls all along the way and mostly it was tea plantations. Everywhere you see, it was green with tea hedges. 



At 1400 meters above sea level, stands this beautiful temple called Cetho Temple, built in the 13th Century by the Majapahit Kingdom which was then under the Brawijaya V reign. By the time we arrived at the top and parked the vehicle at the designated spot, the entire valley was not visible and it was filled with fog.

It was a steep walk up a small cliff heading to the temple, but this was only for a very short distance. And above that, it was quite similar to the earlier temple, only much bigger. Here there were platforms and then a small flight of steps and then a flat terrain with the lingga yoni which spreads over 2 meters length. Here there is also the emblem of the sun which is the symbol of the Majapahit empire. On the whole, there are 14 terraces before one reach the main shrine at the top.








Once we passed the first terrace, there was a statue of the King Brawijaya and his wife. Further up on the second terrace, there is a statue of a guardian deity. On the higher platforms, there are small shrines built to other guardian deities and also that of a Lingga or phallus. 

This is a Lord Shiva temple but at the top, what you find is that the main shrine looks similar to that of the Sukuh temple, being like a pyramid in shape without any deities. I was told that though the main shrine is at the top, the main deity is the lingga yoni formation which we saw at the third platform where rituals are performed. 












This entire mountain range is filled with villages and all the villagers there are Hindus. Today, this is the only ancient temple that is still active and pujas are still performed on a daily basis. There is also a great influence of Balinese architecture on the entrance doors which are a replica of that commonly found in Balinese temples. In fact, all the houses at this villages also had the similar architecture of entrance. 

On the whole this was a beautiful temple. One has to be there in order to experience the serene atmosphere at this temple coupled by the wonderful mountain surroundings and the cool foggy weather. We spent almost 2 hours at this temple and then we moved on to visit another temple which is not far from this temple, the Goddess Saraswathi Temple.
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srirsridhar2 on

fantastic descriptions Venothan.... really i feel as if i am going through a discovery channel program...really....The Hindu temple in Indonesia needs lots of research.... Erotic sculptures were part of Hindu religion ..... Be in Khajuraho or these mountain temples..... But I wonder , who bought this Hindu religion to these remote mountainous regions....that too as early as 7th and 8th centuries.....I dont have an answer now..... You have offered the fantastic photos..... Thanks for the dedicated writing ......

Jay on

Truly a notable piece of work bro! Great writing and photos. Just to let you know that we appreciate your effort and your thirst in discovering our world further! Great work.

venoth on

Very true Sridhar. In fact, you would be surprised if I tell you more. There are other evidences in Java where temples were constructed in the 4th Century but these are unfortunately in a very dilapidated condition, buried under volcanic ash, just like how these other temples were originally found before they were restored. In Malaysia for example in the Bujang Valley, just a few months ago they found a stone with sanskrit inscription which has been carbon dated back to the 4th Century. There was also another stone inscription which shows that King Kulathungga Chola personally visited the Bujang Valley temple. More and more mysteries are slowly being discovered. Honestly, as I write this reply, am having as experience as the Tamils say 'meni silirkuthu'. Very very proud of the Kings and their arsenals to have gone boldly to ancient lands and spread the religion and teachings and installed temples there. Even today when technology is so great, we are often scared to travel to a foreign land without prior arrangements. Imagine the greatness that those guys emanated. Truly fantastic. I sincerely bow my head and offer respects to them Sridhar!!!

venoth on

Thank you Jay. Thank you very much for the great words of encouragement!

srirsridhar2 on

thanks .....Nice saying Venothan

venoth on

Your most welcome Sridhar :)

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