Yogyakarta has many beautiful ancient temples scattered in many parts of the province, all the way to Central Java. The Old Mataram Kingdom is known to have built many spectacular religious monuments, the most popular ones being Borobudur and Prambanan Temple.
Many of the remnants of Old Mataram Kingdom were forgotten or buried until discovered later. Candi Abang in Sleman is one of them. This temple is buried and creates a lovely pyramid-like hill. This is what you need to know about Candi Abang and the surrounding secret caves.
Candi Abang literally means ‘Red Temple’ in Javanese. The name comes from the fact that this temple is made of red brick. This temple was built in the ninth or tenth Century when the Old Mataram Kingdom was still in power. The base of the temple is almost square. The temple is in terrible condition and now it is covered in grass, creating an illusion of a pyramidal hill.
Some people are going as far as to call it the Teletubbies Hill, referring to the popular children TV show. This temple actually has a well in the middle, with several stairs to enter it. People believe that this temple hide treasures, one of them are a life-size golden statue of a buffalo calf. This prompted people to illegally dig the temple complex from time to time to find the treasure.
Candi Abang is nothing but ruins. However, even the ruins create a wonderful panorama. The bricks are covered in dirt and that becomes a fertile base for grass to grow. The result is surprisingly wonderful. You can see the hill is really instagramable, many people come here not to appreciate the temple but to take lovely pictures.
A couple of hundred meters to the northeast of Candi Abang, you can find Goa Jepang (Japan Caves). Locals believe that this cave was built during Japanese occupancy in Indonesia in the early 1940s. As to the function of this cave is still unclear. Several caves are carved into a rocky cliff, creating square entrances to the caves.
A few hundred meters to the southeast of Candi Abang, you can find Sentono Cave. This man-made cave is believed to be a part of the temple complex. Sentono Cave is actually a compound of niches carved into a rocky cliff. The niches are used for meditation for those who come to pray in Candi Abang.
Today, you can hardly see the temple out of the hill that is Candi Abang. However, if you come to this place for its wonderful view, you will not be disappointed. The two caves near the temple are also great for photos.