Mendut Temple

History of Mendut Temple – development, Relief, and Arca

The history of Mendut temple is a topic that is also interesting to discuss. Mendut Temple is one of the most popular Buddhist-style temples in Indonesia. Mendut temple is located in Central Java, precisely in Mendut village, Mungkid District, Magelang Regency. It is located about 38 km from Yogyakarta city. This temple is also not quite far from other famous temple, Borobudur temple.

Judging from the history of Mendut Temple, Borobudur Temple has a link that is quite close to Borobudur temple and Pawon temple. When you look at the map, the third location of this Buddhist temple forms a straight line from north to south.

This article will give an overview of the history of the Mendut temple and the story behind the architecture contained therein.

As mentioned earlier, Mendut temple is a Buddha-patterned temple that is quite famous either on a national or foreign scale. The word Mendut itself comes from the word Venu, Vana, Mandira which means temple in the middle of bamboo forest.

The early history of Mendut temple development still has several versions and has not been ensured the truth. Notable historian named J.G.De Casparis explained that Mendut temple was built during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty in 824 A.D. It is based on the contents of Prasati Karangtengah per year 824 M.

In the inscription it is mentioned that King Indra built a holy building and named him Wenuwana. Wenuwana or Bamboo forest is interpreted by de Casparis as Mendut temple. Using assumptions, the history of the Mendut temple has begun before the Borobudur temple. Mendut Temple has an older age than Borobudur temple, one of the largest and most famous temple in the world that once went to the 7 wonders of the world.

Rediscovery of Mendut Temple

The rediscovery of Mendut temple occurred in 1836 years. At that time, it was found that all parts of the temple were mendut except the roof of the temple. The Dutch East Indies government at the time had a restoration from 1897 to 1904. The result of this effort was good enough to restore the foot and body of the temple through reconstruction.

However, there are some parts of the temple that still cannot be reconstructed. Four years ago, Van ERP became the leader for the reconstruction activity of Mendut Temple phase two. This team performs the return of the temple roof form, installation of Stupa stupa and repairs on some of the temple roof tops.

The goal of this reconstruction is good enough that it has been constrained by funds in the middle of the process. This reconstruction activity was only resumed in 1925. Thanks to this reconstruction effort, we can now enjoy the uniqueness of the Mendut temple while studying the history of the Mendut temple and the message behind each architecture.

Mendut Temple architecture

In general, Mendut Temple has a floor plan with a square shape. The Temple of Mendut has a tall building of total 26.4 m. The body part of the temple is above the rock with a height of 2 m. On the surface of the stone has a wide lobby. On the walls of the Mendut temple, there are approximately 31 panels featuring several reliefs, tendrils and floral sculptures that signify the pattern of the Mendut temple.

If you visit this temple, you will see several channels to remove water from the lobby along the outer walls of the ledge. This part of the channel is called Jaladwara. This Jaladwara characterizes the Temple temple in Central Java. This type of Jaladwara you can find in the famous temple temple in Central Java & Yogjakarta such as Borobudur Temple, Prambanan Temple, Ratu Baka site and Banyuniba Temple. However, the form of Jaladwara is not the same and has its own characteristic in accordance with the characteristic of the temple.

The staircase is located on the west side of the temple which is also in front of the entrance into the temple body. At the entrance of the temple, you can see the viewer's room jutting out. The viewing room has a height similar to the roof of the temple so it looks blend into the body of the temple. The entrance of the temple body has no garupa or door frame as other temples. This room has the shape of how many aisles with hollow sky elongated cavity with a triangle section.

Mendut Temple reliefs

As with other temples, Mendut temple also has reliefs with distinctive patterns. Here are some reliefs that are in the Mendut temple:

Relief Kuwera & Hariti

Relief of Kuwera or Ayataka is a relief engraved on the northern wall of the viewer's booth. Kuwera himself is a giant human eater who is told to do repentance after meeting with Buddha. This kuwera has a wife named Hariti. Hariti himself had the same life story as Kuwera. He was a giant human eater who also eventually repented after meeting Buddha. Hariti then became a protector for his son with Kuwera. Besides the Mendut temple, Kuwera and Hariti reliefs are also found in other temples such as Sewu Temple, Kalsan Temple and Banyuniba temple. In a relief engraved on the Mendut temple, the Kuwera Tergambang is sitting on the bench. Around her son, the Kuwera is seen playing. Under the Kuwera seat, there is a money purse. This picture describes Kuwera as a god of wealth. While in Hariti reliefs, you can see a similar picture. Hariti was seen sitting in a chair with his son. There are also several children of Hariti and Kuwera who are also playing.

Relief Bodhisattva Ayalokitesvara

This Relief describes Buddha's life. This Relief is located on the south wall of Sewu temple. In this relief, Buddha is depicted sitting on the Padmasana or the throne of Padma Flower. Buddha sits under the Kalpataru tree. In this relief, Dewi Tara was also seen sitting on a padmasana on the left side of Buddha. While on the right side there are also women who sit also on the Padmasana. On the left and the upper right are images of cloud blobs. In the cumulus, there is an image of the man reading the book. Meanwhile, the left and right siis of this relief are engraved stone pillars piled. On top of that pillar is an image of Gana that is crouching and supporting something. In front of the sitting Buddha, there is a pond with many lotus flowers.

Relief Bodhisattva

The reliefs are located on the eastern wall side of Mendut temple. In this relief, Buddha was seen with a figure having four hands standing on the phallus. The left hand of Buddha is seen holding the book of his right hand holding beads. Buddha's front hand describes the attitude of Yaramudra. Yaramudra is a Buddhist attitude in the form of a hand to give grace. On the left side, there is a lotus flower that appears to be out of the vessel.

Relief Goddess Tara

On the north side of Mendut Temple, a relief depicting Dewi Tara. In this relief, goddess Tara was seen sitting on a padmasana with both men on the left and right side. Dewi Tara In this relief is depicted to have eight hands. The hand of Dewi Tara holds several items such as oysters, wajra, chakras, beads, axes, sticks, books and bowls.


In this relief, Sarwaniwaranawiskhambi depicted that stood under the umbrella. This Relief is located on the front west side of Mendut Temple. In this relief Sarwaniwaranawiskhambi seen wearing royal clothes.

Statue of Mendut Temple

One of the historical parts of Candi Mendut is a unique statue. This part of the statue is located in the body part of Mendut temple. There are three large Buddhist statues, consisting of :

1. Cakyamuni Buddha Dyani Statue

The statue is also known as Vairocana. The statue is located in the middle of the temple overlooking the western part of Mendut Temple. This statue is seen in a sitting position with both legs jerking me down. Her legs are on the ramps that have a lotus flower shape. While the hand of the Buddha statue Cakyamuni dyani be Dharmacakramudra. This attitude means the Buddha that is turning the wheel of life.

2. Arca Budha Avalokitesvara

Arca Budha Avalokitesvara or Lokesvara is located north of the Buddha Dyani Cakyamuni. This statue overlooks the southern side of the Mendut temple. In this statue, Buddha depicted being seated with his left foot folded into. While his right foot is down towards the bottom. Buddha statue Avalokitesvara is taking the attitude of hand varamudra which means Buddha is giving teaching. It is a royal outfit with jewelry in the neck, shoulders, ears. Not forgetting the crown that adds to the majesty of this statue.

3. Arca Bodhisatva Vajrapani

This third statue has a location to the left of Buddha Sakyamuni. The Vajrapani statue of Bodhisatva is depicted facing the uata. In this statue, Buddha pictured is in a sitting position with the position of the right leg folded with the soles of Buddha feet touching the thigh. While his left thigh is depicted to be down. As is the statue of Budha Avalokitesvara, the statue of Bodhisatva of Vajrapani is also depicted wearing royal clothes. From this article, we can see that the history of the Mendut temple is long enough and has many stories in it. Candi Mendut is quite unique when compared to other Buddhist temple temples in Indonesia. The uniqueness of Mendut Temple can be seen from the size of Buddha statue that is quite large for the size of Buddhist temple in Indonesia, especially the temple around Central Java. Mendut Temple also has many reliefs explaining the Jataka story. The story in the reliefs of Mendut temple Many explain the law of causation which is certainly very beneficial to be known together. This Relief is spread over the walls of Mendut temple. Mendut Temple is one of the temples that must be visited when you visit the area of Central Java and Yogyakarta.

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