Huge, stunning, holistic, and artful are words to describe the Kalasan temple. Built magnificently in Sleman, Yogyakarta, is one of the charms in the region. As one of the old Buddhist temples in Java Island. The ancient Buddhist legacies stand since the 8th century.
Kalasan temple lies on the south side of the Yogyakarta-Solo highway. The structure is a square base with 52 stupas with a unique cover layer. The layer structure is made with a mixture of egg white, plant sap, and fine lime. Unfortunately, as the temple gets old. The plaster didn’t hold the structure as strong as it used to.
Stupas at the top of the temple will immediately remind people of Borobudur. Despite in here, it’s much smaller. Some of the top structures partially broken in corners. Back then, there is even a 6-meter bronze statue. Portraying the majestic era and wealthiness of the kingdom. The temple’s chambers in the top are also empty. And sadly, there is no literature unfolds this story.
Kalasan A Dedication To A Goddess
Unlike the Prambanan temple, a sacred place to worship 3 God. Kalasan is specifically dedicated to just 1 Buddhist Goddess, Tara. As a prominent female figure in Buddhism. Tara is known as the mother of all Buddhists. She represents the freedom, success and holiness achievement of a person’s soul.
In light of history, the temple speaks for the king of Mataram’s loyalty and faithfulness to his people. During his dynasty, both Hindu and Buddhist temple was built. The major and most recognizable one is Prambanan. The biggest structure of Hindu trace. And Kalasan, the Buddhist trail adds another mark of the existence of Sriwijayan power and authority in Central Java.
Rakai Panangkaran was a true and loyal Hindu. But, he is a wise king for his people regardless of their religion is. And Kalasan Temple is one of the proof. Dedication and devotion for his people and tolerance to the Buddhists. As a result, Kalasan temple does not only own Buddhist ornaments. The Hindu’s character is pretty obvious in a few corners.
The Demon Statue
Although the structure of Kalasan temple is no longer solid. It has yet to lose its beauty. In the south part of the temple, two Bodhisattva reliefs are hard not to notice. Representing a pictorial of Buddhist to-be person. Kalasan has the same character as any Buddhist temple, including Borobudur.
Along with the two Bodhisattva reliefs, a huge Banaspati stands unbothered in the south. The statue is quite tall and huge. In Buddhist, Banaspati is the dark demon that looks like a fire – and the devil with fire as his main power.
Unlike the common Banaspati statues, the figure in Kalasan is different. Here, Banaspati has a mix of Buddhist-Javanese characters, including the tendrils. At the top of the temple, a Buddhist statue Gana adorns the space. Gana’s name may sound unfamiliar for a non-Buddhist. But people directly will familiar seeing a bloated man statue carrying a bunch of things.
Hindu & Buddhist Carvings
In Buddhism, Gana is a figure of attendants. Its name is taken from Sanskrit which partly means troop. A statue of God holding lotus flowers lies in the outer corner of the temple. In Buddhist belief, a lotus represents the cause and effect of life principles. It’s a straight warning for people to be thoughtful of their actions. Keep doing good things so they have better luck in future life.
Aside from the top part, a Kalamakara statue sitting as a doorway on one side. Like the other statues, Kalamakara holds a deep philosophy in Hinduism. The statue is carved and shapes a monstrous face with snake-like bodies. It speaks for one’s purification to God. Right below the statue, a cross-legged female decoration adds a strong meaning.
Aside from its philosophical meaning. An image of Kumuda decorates the bottom walls. A pictorial of Kalpataru leaves that rambles out of a jar. In Buddhism, Kumuda means a wishing tree and a tree of life. It symbolizes the concept of three-stage of the world a person will experience.
The statues are not the only splendid thing. Inside the temple, guests will get to see the intense structure. A bunch of piles of stones placed and arranged in such a way tied to one another. It’s remarkable how the ancient construction manages to create strong lasting centuries structure.
The open octagonal roof gives a peek to the sky. The light that comes through the roof gives little shines to its chambers. The sunlight sometimes touches the sculptures of Dhyani Buddha or Five Tathagatas. A Buddhist sculpture that speaks for five qualities of Primordial Buddha, the highest stage of all.
Moving to the main room, a throne settles in the center. This space is adorned with detail carvings. What makes it more interesting is that it is placed in the back of an elephant statue. It holds a strong Buddhist philosophy. Since an elephant is a representation of Queen Maya. The birth mother of Gautama Budha.
Kalasan Temple Renovation
As the temple aged, it has lost huge part of the structure. The stone bricks are no longer solid and crumble in some parts. The Indonesian government has been doing a renovation job for a while. Especially on the top part. The renovation affects much on tourism activities.
Since 2015, the local government has warned visitors not to come too close. The stone bricks are fragile and anytime can easily be falling apart. Therefore, it is quite dangerous for tourists to come inside. Seeing the temple from outside is strongly suggested until the renovation ends—possibly in 2019.
Kalasan Temple Opening Hours
Kalasan temple is open from 08.00 a.m to 05.00 p.m. To avoid extreme heat go after 03.00 p.m.
|Kalasan Temple Opening Hours|
|Every day||08:00 – 17:00|
Kalasan Temple Entrance Fee
The entrance ticket for foreign tourist cost Rp. 10.000 per person. A parking area is available on the premises with no additional fee.
|Kalasan Temple Entrance Fee|
|Children & Adult||Rp10.000|
The temple has yet to have well-developed facilities due to the big renovation. Toilets are placed in a corner of the area. A large parking area lays in the front and available for free. Lastly, a guide is ready to welcome and accompany the guests from the entrance.
How To Get To Kalasan Temple
Kalasan Temple is 13 kilometers away from the Prambanan Temple complex. To reach the temple, visitors can directly follow the Solo-Yogyakarta main road. The temple is right on the south side of the main road. The temple is accessible by public transportation.
Visitors can go straight to the temple using Trans Jogja’s 1A route. The same route that heads to Prambanan. The ticket fee is Rp3.500. From downtown stop in Kalasan’s bus shelter. From the bus shelter, it takes only 7 minutes walking to get to the temple.