Quietly, hidden within the forested slopes of Lawu Mountain. Candi Sukuh portrays a pyramid-esque architecture resembling that of a Mesoamerican temple. Its architecture belongs to an enigmatic Hindu temple. While it looks a lot different than other Hindu Temple in Java.
While driving away from downtown Solo to the highlands of Lawu Mountain. The scenery of rice fields gradually transitions into tea plantations among the steep valleys. The air and pleasantly cool temperature shall immediately greet visitors. What an escapement and a world away from the tropical heat of lowland Java.
The stand-offish construction of Candi Sukuh is beautifully proportioned in a humble sized-site of one hectare. Unlike most Hindu-Buddhist temples that have a large square shrine. Its central structure is a step pyramid. Along with stairs leading up the center to the top.
The haphazardly placed large truncated turtles are one of the few decorations. Yet it enhances the bizarre intriguing nuance of this exotic temple.
The Exotically Eccentric Candi Sukuh
The relief across Sukuh Temple displays uncommon theme among Hindu-Buddhist temple in Indonesia. While most reliefs in other temples recite the God and Goddess. Or else the story of Hindu-Buddhist Kingdoms and its civilization. Here, people will find very little of it at Candi Sukuh.
Instead, visitors will find patterns of lingga and yoni. The common symbol representing male and female sexual organs. In a reserved and culturally conservative country of Indonesia. These findings seem very stand-offish, if not eccentric in the eyes of many.
The relief is not without a story. The common belief tells that the relief serves the function of cleansing. Mainly for the mind and the heart from an evil thought. That is why the relief is instilled within the entrance. So whoever entered the temple would have to step over it and get “cleansed”.
The now fenced area of the relief has somewhat turned into a wishing well. Where people often toss the coins and belief that it will grant their wish. While in here, don’t miss the wishing well. Be a part of probably a hundred believers and toss it. And finger cross let’s hope it’s granted.
In the fourth week of April, the villagers around Candi Sukuh would gather. Celebrating the prosperity that they have enjoyed for the past year. The celebration is known as Grebek Sukuh. Coming in April, get a chance to observe the ritual. Where villagers gather the best harvest of the year and turn them into gunungan.
The select vegetables bear the gratitude for prosperity. Therefore becoming the offering for the Gods and Goddesses. As the sun is setting, tourists can join the ceremony, where a traditional appliance called lesung produce the rhythm to accompany the entire rite.
The sound of it makes will break the silence of the night with a dynamic melody. Soon visitors may observe dancers following to the music. While the head of the village offers their prayer in the terrace of Candi Sukuh.
Then they will pass a candle for everyone to offer their prayer. The end of the ceremony is the most awaited part. Where everyone will fight their way to get their share of the offer. The humble offering has once again become the source of prosperity of the people.
For a humble site such as Candi Sukuh this cultural site holds notable events across the year. Annually, Candi Sukuh holds a two days festival known as Srawung Seni Candi. It marks and commemorates the changing of the year. Start on New Year’s Eve and lasts until the first day of New Year.
The festiveness of last year festival for instance. It brings not only local cultural activists. But also a well-known cultural-art performer across Indonesia. And also International artists such as Claire Loussouarn from France, Tetsuro Koyano from Japan and Sha Sha Higby from Canada to attend the event.
In the first day morning, the event will start with distributing plants. In the afternoon, participants can join in a yoga session. Right afterward follow with a night vigil known as tirakatan in the evening. It doesn’t stop there. Because next day tourists can participate in a ceremonial rite in the temple at 9 a.m. Where locals chants prayers in the tranquility of the morning.
The main celebration takes place at the Garuda Stage, reside next to the temple complex. Tourists can enjoy the parade and traditional dance performance and play. Srawung Seni Candi is the best opportunity to experience a mystical and tranquil night. While celebrating the welcoming of a new year.
Candi Sukuh Opening Hours
The temple welcomes tourists every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. While planning to get here make sure to check other nearby temples Candi Cetho. Or sit back and enjoy the water stream at Jumog waterfall.
|Candi Sukuh Opening Hours|
|Monday – Sunday||07:00 – 18:00|
Candi Sukuh Entrance Fee
The temple charges an inexpensive price for the entrance fee. There is no difference entrance fee for weekdays and weekends. Tourist will have to pay Rp 25,000 for the entrance.
|Candi Sukuh Entrance Fee|
|Weekend & Weekday||Rp25.000|
There are public facilities on the premises such as parking area, toilet, and washing room. Small stall and food vendors available outside the temple and serves hot coffee, tea. Have some traditional snacks to go along with them. And enjoy the serene scenery and atmosphere of Lawu Mountain.
Some cottages, hotels, and villas are available for visitors who wish to spend the night near the area of Ngargoyoso and Tawangmangu. The price starts at approximately US$17.50 per night. Most of these places are fully furnished but not all of them come with meal package, visitors have to bring their own.
How To Get To Candi Sukuh
Sukuh Temple is only about 50 km from Solo, 1.5 hours ride by car. For convenience, visitors better rent a car or motorcycle to get to Candi Sukuh. Starting off from Solo, the route is Jl. Raya Solo-Tawangmangu – Jl. Lawu – Jl. Karangpandan-Ngargoyoso – Jl. Sukuh Temple.
Visitors can walk from the entrance gate to the temple. The track is slightly uphill about 1 kilometer long. There are also some motorcycles available to rent to get to the entrance gate.