Barong Kalas' Smiles to Accompany You for the Sunset
Updated on 1/28/2016
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Two ratnas (the peak of Hindu temple) were hazily seen from behind the trees inhabiting Batur Agung Hill when we treaded the road in the southeast of Ratu Boko Palace complex. For a moment we lost sight of them, but then we could see them back in their full forms. In Candisari Village, Sambirejo, Prambanan, two stout "twin" temples stand on a large three-level yard. That's Barong Temple, the place to worship God Wisnu and Goddess Sri, the goddess of fertility, worshipped by Hindu farmers in the past. They hoped for the blessing of fertility for the rocky limestone hill.
History tells, the temple built around the 9th and 10th century was originally named Suragedug Temple. However, the ornament of kala (a creepy ogre figure, usually used as decoration on temple gate or entrance) in the form of barong on each side of the temple building is so unique that the local residents call it Barong Temple. The barong kalas in this temple, in Hinduism mythology, is believed to be guarding the sacredness of a building. Instead of creepy like kalas in other buildings, these barongs seem to give their kind smile. In addition to barong, another unique ornament in this temple is Ghana, a dwarf sustaining the temple niche.
Unlike other surrounding temples which have a chamber (a room inside the temple), Barong Temple was built without chambers, only a niche formerly functioned as the base for statue. Unfortunately, there is no statue, no lingga and yoni (symbol for male and female in Hinduism), in this temple. Even the statues of God Wisnu and Goddess Sri do not exist anymore here. As a whole, it is just a simple building; with no reliefs about shadow puppet story nor gods and goddesses. However, when we step up the stairs to the temple, we could feel the remnant of the former local residents' genius. Its extensive yard and its location-high on a hill-seems to provide a small space for anyone coming to enjoy the magnificent size of the horizon. The farmers' activities in cultivating the fields and farms around the temple seem to explain the reason behind the establishment of the temple.
It was built facing west, where the sun goes to end the day. You don't need a long time to explore around all the temple building. Still, it's rather impossible that you wouldn't want to spend longer time to enjoy the surrounding view. As the sun goes down, the view becomes even more beautiful. The sunlight turns more friendly and burn less. The sound of the wind playing with the leaves around the temple sounds so melodious and calming. Ooh... you'll not want to go home until the sun completely disappears.
Text YOGAKU PUSPITA RINI SAGALA Photography JAYA TRI HARTONO
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