300+ Photographs from Penataran and other Candis in East Java

The finest Indonesian Hindu temple complex outside of Prambanan in Central Java, is Candi Penataran in East Java, which also contains the finest examples of East Javan relief work, which differs from Central Javan reliefs, in being based more on the folk style connected to the Wayan, or puppetry shows.

The Candi Penataran photographs are now one of the largest collections I have from Indonesia outside of Borobudur.

We can see from the inscribed dates around the candi, that the temple must have been established around the end of the 13th century, and it continues to be of importance well in the 15th century, when it is mentioned in chronicles as an important seat of learning.

The complex is divided into three courts, a Forecourt, a Middle Court and an Inner Sanctum, where the most important building is. There are numerous buildings, but many now only exist as a foundation.

Two of the buildings contain extensive relief work: the first is reliefs of folk stories around the pendopo in the Forecourt; the second, and more extensive sets, are on the main temple, which illustrate the Rāmāyana and the Krishnāyana stories.

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Also in Penataran, around 8km from the Candi is the small, but interesting, Penataran Museum, which has collected artefacts not only from the main temple, but from many Candis around the Blitar area.

I was impressed when I was there by how many candis there are in the area, many more than we could possibly visit, although most of them are small and of lesser significance, of course.

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We did visit some of the more substantial candis, however, both around Blitar and in the Tulungagung Districts, and these are collected together in another album. They include photos of the interesting Candi Sanggrahan, the Gayatri statue and other remains at Candi Boyolangu, and Candi Simping, a largely unreconstructed site.

All the albums contain maps, introductions and other materials related to the candis featured, and are part of an ongoing project to photograph all the main candis in Indonesia.

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