Central Java, Baka temple, Sambirejo, Dawung, villages

Written by on June 21, 2012 in Java Heritages with 0 Comments

Central Java, Baka temple, Sambirejo, Dawung, villages





Baka temple is located around 3 km to the south of Prambanan temple or about 19 km to the east of Yogyakarta. Situated on a hill ± 195.97 m above sea level, Ratu Baka temple compound is situated in an area belonging to two villages of Sambirejo and Dawung. The Ratu Baka site is in fact not a temple, but ruins of a palace. Therefore, this temple is also called Ratu Baka palace. Legend has it that site used to be the palace of King Baka, the father of Lara Jonggrang. The word ‘kraton’ derives from Ka-ra-tu-an that means king palace. It is estimated that the Ratu Baka palace was built in the 8th century by Buddhist Syailendra dynasty, and then occupied by the kings from Mataram which was a Hinduism. The occupation causes of the structure of Baka palace influenced by both of Hinduism and Buddhism. Ratu Baka palace was discovered in the 17th century by Dutch archaeologist HJ De Graaf. The ancient temple was rediscovered in the year 1790 by Van Boeckholtz. The publication of the discovery had attracted scientists such as Makenzie, Junghun, and Brumun to collect data on the site in year 1814. Early in the 20th century Ratu Baka site was investigated by FDK Bosch, who reported the results in an article entitled Keraton Van Ratoe Boko. During the research Mackenzie found a statue of god-headed man and woman hugging each other. A stone pillar with ornaments of zoomorphic figures such as elephant, horse, and so on is also found among the ruins. Abhayagiriwihara inscription dated in 792 AD, which was also found on the site, indicates that Ratu Baka palace was built by King Rakai Panangkaran. The inscription is written in Pranagari letters, which is characteristic of Buddhist inscriptions and tells that King Tejapurnama Panangkaran, who is assumed to be Rakai Panangkaran, had ordered the construction of Abhayagiriwihara. Similar name is also written on other inscriptions such as Kalasan (779 AD), Mantyasih (907 AD), and Wanua Tengah III (908 AD). Scholars believe that the word abhaya means peace or without hagaya and giri means mount or hill. Therefore, Abhayagiriwihara means a monastery that is built on a peaceful hill. Rakai Walaing Pu Kombayoni, who ruled between 898 and 908 AD, changed Abhayagiri Wihara into Walaing palace. Ratu Baka palace, which is located in a large vicinity, consists of several building clusters, most of which are already in ruined conditions. The Gate. The gates into Ratu Baka complex are located on the west side. Since the temple is laid out on a hill, people will have to walk up around 100 meters away to access the gates from the parking lot. To enter the temple, people have to go through two gates, the inside and outside gates. The inside gate, which is bigger, serves as the main gate. The outside gate is in fact a group of three individual roofed-gates (paduraksa) standing one next to the other from north to south facing the east. The biggest or the main gate is flanked by the other two. Because three of them stand on a high platform, people have to use two flights of stairs, each 2.5 meter-high, to access the platform. The walls on the platform are reinforced with blocks of andesite stone. The gate’s roofs are all in ruined condition, which makes it difficult to recognize their original shape. The inside or the main gate is located at about 15 m from the outside gate. It consists of 5 paduraksa gates positioned one after the other. The main gate is flanked by two pairs of individual gates. Although there are five individual gates, only three flights of stairs are provided as a means of access to the center gate. The two pairs of flanking gates have no access stairs. The stairs have stone railings on the left and right sides, each of which has ornaments in ‘ukel’ (curl) style at the bottom and head of a giant at the top. The outside walls are richly decorated with sculptures of flowers and climbing plants. The roof of the main gate has already in ruined condition, which makes it difficult to recognize its original shape. However, the roofs of the flanking gates remain intact and have a dome shape topped with a ratna. Batukapur Temple. A limestone foundation 5 x 5 m in dimension is found around 45 meters from the main gate to the north east of. It is estimated that this structure’s walls and roof are not made of stones, but of less durable materials such as wood, thatch, or ordinary roof tiles. Crematory Temple. This temple is a soil stepped-mound 3 meters high and located at around 37 meters to the north east of the main gate. The temple’s base is laid out on a square plan of 26 m2 dimension. The second terrace is smaller than the first to form a walkway around the second terrace. The surface of the second terrace is covered with grass, and its walls are reinforced by blocks of stone. To the west, there is a flight of stairs with stone railings on the left and right sides. At the center, there is a square hole 4 x 4 m in dimension that serves as a crematory furnace. An old well to the southeast of the temple is said to be a source of holy water. Paseban. Paseban is Javanese word for a place where people appear before their king (seba = to appear before). This building is located at around 45 meters to the south of the gate. Paseban is a platform made of blocks of andesite in a dimension of 1.5 m high, 7 m wide and 38 m long from north to south. Stairs to access the paseban are placed on the west side. Found on the paseban’s floor are 20 stone pedestals on which columns were used to be mounted and 4 lines of recesses where walls had probably used to be standing. The Hall. Around 20 meters from the paseban or to the south of the temple gates, there is a 3 m high stone wall that encloses an area 40 m long and 30 m wide. A roofed entrance gate is located at each of the fence’s north, west and south sides. A jaladwara (water gully), which is also found in Barabudhur and Banyuniba temples, is found in a number of locations outside the wall. There are two andesite platforms within the fence. There is a stone path along the wall and between the two platforms. The first platform is called pendapa (hall), in a dimension of 1.46 m high and 20 m2 wide. In Javanese language, pendapa means reception room or a roofed platform commonly situated to the front of a house. The stair to the hall is on the northeast and northwest. There are 24 stone pedestals on the floor. The second platform, called pringgitan, is situated to the south of the hall. Pringgitan means inner room or sitting room. Pringgitan is usually square in a dimension of 20 X 6 meters. There are 12 stone pedestals on the pringgitan’s floor. Shrine. To the southeast of the hall, there is a stone platform that is still intact. On farthermost of the platform, there are three small shrines, with the one in the middle is the biggest among them and dedicated to the worship of Vishnu. The flanking temples are dedicated to the worship of Shiva and Brahma. Keputren. Keputren which means room for the princesses is situated to the east of the hall. This building is 31 X 8 m in dimension, bordered by 2 m high wall that has crumbled in some parts. To each of the east and west sides of keputren there is a roofed entrance gate with Kalamakara decorations. Keputren compound is divided into two by a wall with a door linking both sides. This compound has three pools, one of which is square and bigger than the other two rectangular pools. Cave. The hill on which Ratu Baka is situated has two caves called Lanang (male) cave and Wadon (female) cave. Lanang cave is located to the northeast of the ‘paseban’ in a dimension of 1.3 m high, 3.7 m wide and 2.9 m deep. There are two niches on the left and right of the cave’s interior. Its wall has sculptures that resemble the shape of a picture frame. Mackenzie found a statue at the front of Lanang cave. Wadon cave is smaller than Lanang, located at 20 m to the south east of ‘paseban’. The dimension is 1.3m high, 3 m wide and 1.7 m depth. There is a niche on to the back of the cave.

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