Candi Sewu (Thousand Temple), East Java, Indonesia

Candi Sewu is situated at Dukuh Bener, Bugisan, Prambanan District, Klaten Regency,Central Java. This temple is located 17 km from Solo, and is a temple cluster located nearby Prambanan Temple, 800 meters on the south of Roro Jongrang statue.

Candi Sewu was built in the 8th century, in Mataram Hindu era when reigned by Rakai Panangkaran (746-748) and Rakai Pikatan. Although Mataram kings were Hindu, the kingdom was influenced by Syailendra Dynasty that was Buddha. Experts considered that this temple was the center of religious activity of Buddhist, based on an inscription written in old  Malay language in 792 Saka, Manjusrigrta inscription. This inscription tells that there was a completion activity of Manjusrigrha in 714 Saka (792), Manjusri also mentioned in Kelurak Inscription date back 782 found in Candi Lumbung.

Candi Sewu is next to Candi Prambanan and it is managed as one area, together with Candi Limbung, Candi Bubrah, Candi Gana, Candi Kulon, Candi Lor. Candi Sewu is the second biggest Buddhist Temple after Candi Borobudur. Located close to Prambanan, notably a Hindu temple, this indicated that in that period Buddhist and Hindu lived in harmony.

Sewu means thousand, to express that the temple in this cluster is quiet numerous, though actually the total quantity is not 1 thousand. Candi Sewu constitutes of 249 temples, consists of 1 main temple, 8 flanked temple (candi antara), and 240 candi perwara (ancillary temple). The main temple is located in the middle, the 4 sides are surrounded by flanked temples and ancillary temples in a symmetric composition.

This temple has 4 entrances to the outer yard, on the east, north, west and south and each entrance is guarded by pair of dwarapala statue facing each other. From the outer yard to the inner yard, there are also 4 entrances with dwarapala guarded just like the outer entrances.

Dwarapala was made of single block of andesit stone put on 1.2 m pedestal with one knee bended, and one hand holding bludgeon. Dwarapala’s height is 2.3 meters.

The main temple is located on a square yard of 40 m2, surrounded by 0.85 m stone fence. The temple shape is polygon with 20 angles and 29 m diameter. The building height is 30 m, and it has 9 roofs with stupa on top of every roof.

Temple body stands on 2.5 platform. The foot is decorated with flower in vase. To reach the surface of the platform that forms hallway, there is a 2 m stairways completed with stone railing. The rail is decorated with makara, dragon head with open mouth with Buddha statue located inside. On the outer wall of the railing carved Kalpawreksa giant.

Above the entrance, is not decorated with kalamakara, only carving od dragon head with open mouth. But it is not Buddha inside the dragon mouth, instead of a lion.

Main temple was made of andesit stone with main entrance the east, so this temple faces east. There are 3 other doors on the north, west and south. All the entrances are decorated with porches. The temple chamber is cube and wall is made of red brick, with one asana. The outer wall of the body and foot are decorated with niches. Inside the niches are Buddha statue in various positions.

Flanked temples and ancillary temples are located on the outer yard. On every side there are pair of flanked temples between main temple and ancillary temples. Each pair of flanked temples stand face to face splits a hall to main temple’s yard.

Candi apit/flanked temples stand on 1 meter platform, are completed with 1 meter width stairways to hallway on the surface of temple foot. Entrance is not decorated with kalamakara, but relief panel. The roof is in stupa shape, with line of small stupas decorate the lower part of the big stupa. Temple walls are decorated with men figures in majestic costume, look like gods, standing and holding lotus.

Candi perwara/ancillary is built in 4 lines on the most outside part surrounded main temple and candi apit. On the most inside line, there are 8 buildings, second line has 44 buildings, third line has 80 buildings and fourth line is 88 buildings. All of perwara temples, except the third lines, faces outside. Most of perwara temples are already damaged, only ruins left.