Monday, October 7, 2013

last day

Our last full day in Java saw us renting a car and driver for the day as we wanted to see a couple of temples that were far out of the city (around 90kms) on the slopes of Mt. Lawu.

It also enabled us to pass through Surakarta (usually referred to as Solo) and visit a couple of royal palaces. The car, driver and fuel for the 10 hour hire was only US$55. We had an offer for the same for $40 but preferred going through a reputable firm.

We packed a lunch and set off, first to Candi Sambisari, a small temple near the airport that is unusual because it sits 5 metres underground.It was only discovered in 1966 as it had been buried under volcanic ash from nearby volcanic Mount Merapi.

Then on to Solo and after the the mountain temples.

In Solo (an hour and a half drive for 60kms because of awful traffic congestion) we stopped at Keraton Kasunanan (The Palace of the Pakubuwono Kings) and Puro Mangkunegaran (Palace of the Mangkunegara Princes).

As in Yogyakarta, these were not terribly impressive and one of them had the saddest little museum which was badly neglected (as can be seen by the swords display complete with dangling artifact and many cobwebs!)

The we headed up into the hills where it was a lot cooler. We visited the two main Hindu temples - Candi Sukuh and Candi Cetho (both 15th century).

Both were connected to fertility rites and there are several erotic friezes and sculptural depictions of male and female genitalia at Sukuh and a phallic stone sculpture in a shrine at Cetho.
Cetho also has an unusual architectural design - it appears like there is a huge cut that has bisected the entire temple complex - as if a giant knife or earthquake has sundered the temple in two.

It was a great day out and a pleasant end to our Java jaunt.

(Not a bad 10 day holiday for a total cost of AU$1,167 including all airfares, visa, travel insurance, accommodation, car hire and all other expenses!!)

Candi Sambisari:


Candi Sukuh:

Candi Cetho:

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