Candi Penataran is located in Penataran Village, Nglegok , Blitar Regency, East Java, right on 450 m asl on the foot of Mt Kelud that the area has mild temperature. Candi Penataran is the biggest and best nurtured temple complex in East Java, Indonesia. Situated at the north of Blitar City, according to Verbeek note, this complex consists of few clusters. This temple is just 12 km from the city with a good road to the site.
Penataran Temple was found in 1815 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles (1781-1826), a representative of British in Indonesia. Raffles with Dr Horsfield visited Candi Penataran, and then wrote the findings in “History of Java” that was published in 2 volumes. J Crawfurd a resident assistant in Yogyakarta, Van Meeteren Brouwer (1828), Junghun (1884), Jonathan Rigg (1848), and then NW Hoepermans respectively continue inventorying the complex.
Entering the complex, two Dwarapala statuary welcome visitors, local people call them Mbah Bodo. The Dwarapala have daemonic faces. The digit carved on the statuary pedestal are written in old Javanese letter: 1242 Saka or 1320. According to the inscription, the temple that was also called palah was a sacred place that served as state-temple, officially opened by King Jayanegara that ruled Majapahit from 1309-1328.
On the east of the statuary, there are remnants of gates made of red brick. Other important buildings is a rectangle shape building that is called as Bale Agung. Also a profane building that only the pillar foundations that still survive the times.
On the south of temple standing an inscription in old Javanese letter that shows 1119 Saka or 1197, written by King Srengga from Kediri Kingdom. It says about the official ceremony of a fief land for Sira Paduka Batara Palah, the original name of Penataran Temple. In Conclusion, the complex was built at least within 250 years time period, started in 1197 from the era of Kediri to 1454 in the era on Majapahit.
” alt=”” width=”150″ height=”130″ align=”left” hspace=”10″ vspace=”10&” />Candi Penataran was built in relation with Gunung Kelud, one of the most dangerous volcano that threatened local people life. That’s why this temple is a mountain temple, that was intended to worship mountain to avoid volcanic disaster. Penataran could be derived from its status as the state-temple. In Bali, state temple is also called Candi Penataran, such as Pura Panataransasih, Pura panataran Besakih. Natar means center or central, that Penataran Temple means Central Temple.
Candi Naga (Dragon Temple) with 4.83 meters width, 6.57 meters length and height 4.70 meters. This temple is called dragon temple as the body of the temple is wrapped around by dragon and other features depicted as nine figures of king that is holding a bell with one hand and the other hand support the dragon. Overy part of the temple wall is decorated with circle shape that is called as Medallion Motive. Inside the medallion there is a relief of leaves and flowers and animals or birds. This temple resembles as temple in Bali, Pura Kehen,temple to save gods belongings.
Among the sacred buildings, the main temple is located in the most rear. This sacred temple has 3 terraces with height of 7.10 meters in total. On each side of the stairs of the first terrace, there is a Dwarapala that was built in 1269 Saka or 1347 according to the letter on the pedestal.
Behind the temple, there is a sacred pool, that was used as part of ritual ceremony. This mini pool is just 2 meters width and 5 meters length.
Reviews from old codex, such as Negarakertagama that was written by Mpu Prapanca, tells that Candi Penataran was highly respected by the officials of big empires in East Java. This temple also ever used as funerary ash of King Rajasa (Ken Arok) the founder of Singasari and King Kertarajasa Jayawardhana the founder of Majapahit. And according the local legend, this temple is where the phenomenal vow of Gajahmada “Sumpah Palapa” was saith.
Reliefs in Penataran are : Sang Setyawan, Sri Tanjung, Bubuksah-Gagang Aking, Hanoman Duto, Kresnayana, Hunter, Turtle and Bull and Crocodile. Those reliefs have educative values such as heroic and love. Few read by pradaksina order and others by prasawya order.