Abang Temple: A Relic on the Hill
Talking about historical tourism, I really like historical tourism. Why? In my opinion, one of the tours that can expand knowledge is to admire all the relics of ancient civilizations.
How smart our ancestors were in designing a building structure with only raw materials and makeshift tools. Not only that, most of the artifacts found are in fairly intact condition, although there are some parts that have been damaged by age. I can only be amazed if I trace it all logically.
That is a very extraordinary thing in my opinion, especially when compared to today’s era. Just building a house requires detailed material and cost considerations to get the most out of it. And the result is sometimes not as strong and durable as ancient artifacts.
Unique historical building
I remember 3 months ago, I immediately invited my friend to visit one of the temples in the Berbah area, Sleman, Yogyakarta. For some reason, after seeing information from social media about Abang Temple, a temple relic of the Hindu era which is located on a hill resembling a green telettubies hill. Immediately I wanted to see firsthand the conditions there (maybe this is what is called the power of social media, hehehe).
It’s very different when I see this temple on social media, for today most places that are starting to go viral are places that are often visited by travelers, including this Abang Temple. And at that time there were many photos on Instagram that grabbed attention because this temple was on a green hill.
The clock shows 15:00, without thinking, my friend and I went straight to Abang Temple which may be about 15-10 Km from downtown Jogja. Abang Temple is administratively located in Sentonorejo Hamlet, Berbah District, Sleman Regency, DI Yogyakarta.
I arrived at Candi Abang around 16:00, there is a parking lot managed by local residents, to be more precise, a motorbike storage area. Because access to this temple is passed by climbing a small hill first for about 15 minutes. there are stairs to climb the hill made of limestone.
Arriving at the top of the hill, I saw that this temple had something unique, namely a temple made of red brick, the fact that the temples in Central Java and Yogyakarta are made of andesite. However, this temple is composed of red bricks, so it is called “Abang” which means red in Javanese.
This temple is located on a hill. In historical science and Hindu religious beliefs, it is known that the high place is a holy place and inhabited by the Gods. So maybe in his day, this temple was used as a place of worship by the civilization of society at that time.
After arriving at the top of the hill and in the Candi Abang area, I had time to think. Why is it green and only overgrown with grass and weeds, and there is no red color attached to the Abang Temple icon? Where’s the temple then?
There is a small hill whose sides look like a tarp used by archaeologists to conduct research. Yep, under the tarpaulin there are red brick ruins that may be being restored. Only a simple tarp covered it, as if it was a silent witness to reveal the history of Abang Temple in the past.
Some of these arranged red bricks have been destroyed, and some are still neatly arranged. This pile of red bricks resembles a triangular pyramid that rises upwards. It is not known exactly what this temple building was used for at that time. But scientifically speaking, the building located above is usually a sacred place.
Overview of Abang Temple
This temple is located on a hill on the side of the village road, so from up here we can see extraordinary natural scenery. The size of this temple is about 36 meters x 34 meters. Almost square, because the length of the 4 sides are almost the same.
This temple has an imperfect shape, and only ruins and piles of red bricks overgrown with green grass and the shape resembles a pyramid, there is a well in the middle called “Sumur Bandung” by local residents, the height of this temple is not known for certain. However, the height of the ruins is around 6 meters.
According to archaeologists, this temple was built around the 9th century AD during the ancient Mataram kingdom. When it was first discovered, there were statues and yoni pedestals as symbols of Lord Shiva, this pedestal is in the form of an octagon / hexagonal which has a side size of about 15 cm.
The discovery of Yoni also reveals a fact, that this temple was made during the Hindu religion. In addition, on the south side there is a relic of a stone that resembles a frog, so it is called Batu Frog by local residents. The discovery has not revealed its history directly, it is not yet known what the function of a stone that resembles a frog is.
Mystery that has not been revealed
There is a myth from local residents that appears at Candi Abang. This temple is believed to be guarded by an elder and respected figure. Kyai Butcher by local residents call it. Kyai Butcher has a large body and long hair.
According to the story, Kyai Butcher is someone who always protects from any damage. The locals often took refuge at the top of the hill during the colonial era. and it was Kyai Butcher who protected the residents. In addition, it is also believed that there is gold the size of a buffalo contained in the body of this Abang Temple.
I don’t know if this myth has been proven true or not. but so far there have been no residents or archaeologists to prove it. Indeed, functionally, this temple is also not known for certain. Only from the remains of existing artifacts, then the archaeologists concluded temporarily about the function of this temple building.
If you think logically, that the arrangement of red bricks is mostly found in the relics of the Majapahit Kingdom in East Java. It seems a bit strange to find temples with red bricks in the Central Java area, especially in Jogjakarta.
Unfortunately there are no reliefs that can tell the function of this temple building. This state asset deserves to be preserved, because with the discovery of this temple, it is undeniable that this temple may have been the center of civilization in its time.
Archaeologists continue to try to unravel the mysteries that exist in this Abang Temple, however, the lack of artifacts and the difficult location makes this Abang Temple a mystery that has not been revealed.
Route Road to Abang Temple
The route to Abang Temple is very easy, road access can be via Jalan Yogya-Solo around the Prambanan area. Then turn south after Prambanan terminal. through the Piyungan-Prambanan Road. Then there is a T-junction and take the path towards Berbah. After that there is a signpost to the direction of Abang Temple.
Another alternative is to pass Jalan Yogya-Solo KM 14, after that turn right through Jalan Berbah-Kalasan, then meet the intersection heading towards Prambanan, turn left (towards the east) take Jalan Berbah-Prambanan. After passing the Pillow Lava Tour, there is a name indicating the direction of Abang Temple.
For parking rates, the normal price is Rp. 2000 for 2-wheeled vehicles, and Rp. 5000 for 4-wheeled vehicles. In addition, there are stalls to just buy snacks to take upstairs. But it must be remembered, disposing of garbage must be in its place. Especially in cultural heritage sites, we must maintain and preserve them.
The beauty of the sunset from the top of the telettubies hill
The location of Abang Temple which is on a hill becomes a special attraction when you are here. The green grass that covers the ruins resembles a hill that often appears in the educational series “Telettubies”. The green hills are often used as photographic material by photographers.
From the top of the hill, you can clearly see the beautiful scenery of Yogyakarta, the vast expanse of rice fields as if to complement the beauty that God created. If dusk has arrived, additional views will be present to accompany your afternoon.
The beauty of the sunset is used as a photo object that is in great demand. If the weather is sunny, the sunset view from the top of the hill of Candi Abang is very beautiful. Interspersed with birdsong, the atmosphere will be more serene.
I didn’t feel the sun was starting to be ashamed to reveal itself, I had to hurry home because it was going to turn dark. The beauty of the brother temple will be a memory even if the visit is only for a short time. Visiting the temples of the past which were only covered with grass and weeds became an experience for me.
So, when are you going to visit Abang Temple? An interesting choice of destinations for those of you who have a passion for historical tourism. My hope in the future, hopefully the story of a glorious civilization in its time will be a story for us.
Not only the beauty that is obtained but the values and morals of human civilization are extraordinary. Let’s preserve this valuable asset of Indonesia. See you again in the next article, hopefully it will be useful and can provide insight into history.
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