Gedong Songo Temple, the Nine Temples with Modern Twist

Indonesia sits on the ring of fire, a belt comprises of major volcanoes at the basin of Pacific Ocean. This means that there are lots of volcanic activities, including eruptions and earthquakes. That makes preserving old buildings, including ancient temples a challenge in Indonesia.

Gedong Songo Temple. via Instagram/anggoro.pp

It is believed that many ancient temples are still buried in Central Java area. One of the surviving temples is Gedong Songo, a complex of unique temples in an unusual location. Here is what you need to know about Gedong Songo Temple.

Location

It’s located on a hilly area. via Instagram/pupung_ayuningtyas

Gedong Songo is located at Candi Village, Bandungan District, Semarang Regency. It is roughly 20 kilometers to the south of Semarang, the capital of Central Java. It is about ten kilometers to the northwest of Ambarawa. This destination can be easily reached as there are many good roads leading to the temples. From Semarang, you probably need less than an hour drive to get there.

History

One of the temples. via Instagram/faozansyafrudien

Gedong Songo Temple complex was built on a hilly area by Syailendra Dynasty of Old Mataram, sometimes also known as Medang Kingdom. These temples were built in the ninth century. This is a Hindu temple, built as a Shivaite shrine. You can see that there are many sculptures of Shivaite Gods like Ganesh, and Shiva as Mahakala and Mahaguru.

The Temples

The air is cool on the temple. via Instagram/dinisaogawa

Gedong Songo means ‘nine buildings’ in Javanese. As the name indicates, there are nine temple locations in this area. Each temple is connected via small path. Most visitors explore each one of the temples on foot. The air here is cool, making your trek and hike here even more refreshing. For some locals, the area of this temple is still considered sacred and connected with many myths and epics.

Ayana Selfie Spots

Ayana Gedng Songo. via Instagram/anggunamalia_

At the foot of the hill, you can find something that is somewhat contrasting the temples. You can find the colorful Ayana Gedong Songo, a theme park build specifically for taking selfies. This park is built carefully so it can fully maximize the beauty of the scenery. The entrance fee is IDR20,000 per adult and most of the selfie spots are free. You only need to pay additional ticket to take pictures in some special spots.

Hot water spring

Natural hot springs. via Instagram/bayu_aji321

Between the fourth and fifth temple, you can find an opening on the ground, free from any vegetation. This is a hot water spring, entirely volcanic in nature that you can smell sulfur. You can also soak in the hot water in the bathing place in the area. The water feels great and healthy to your skin.

One of the photo spots. via Instagram/nuu_graha

Gedong Songo area is initially an ancient temple, people come here to see the remnant of the past. Today, this temple complex is a more interesting spot with the addition of modern photo spots and hot bath.

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