The second photo shoot on my recent trip to Jakarta took me out of the city and west into the countryside. We were actually heading for one of the few Candi sites yet found in West Java, in the Karawong district.
Ehipassiko, my facilitators, had also lined up a couple of Dhamma talks, one in the evening at Vihara Buddha Guna, a Chinese temple in West Karawong, and again the following morning at Vihara Surya Adhiguna in Rengasdengkolk.
It was therefore midday when we arrived at the Batujaya sites, including Candi Jiwa and Candi Blandongan. Midday is normally considered the wrong time for photography because the sun is high, the light too sharp, and the weather too hot.
Fortunately the gods saw us coming and clouded the sky over so the contrast wasn’t too high, but the weather was extremely hot, and I was sweating buckets and drenching my robes as we went round the sites.
Candi Jiwa is a small site that was excavated in the 80s, being the first of 57 suspected Candi sites in the area, and one of only two that has been properly explored. The building as it stands is not so impressive, but if it was part of a much larger complex, as is likely, the whole site would be remarkable.
The second site we visited, Candi Blandongan, was just a few hundred metres away and is more impressive, having fine rounded brickwork, and being a larger construction, the top floor of the building may have been in the form of a lotus flower, but it is difficult to reconstruct at this stage.
The site was built from around the 5th century onwards, and we were fortunate to get the services of a good and friendly local guide, who filled us in on the background to the site, and its excavation. Unfortunately resources and interest are low in Indonesia for these scale sites, and when the rest will eventually be excavated is unknown.
There was also a small, one room, site museum within walking distance, which though not very well equipped, nevertheless was something of a boon, as they let us take away some of the archaeological reports for copying.
I took over 40 photographs at the site worth publishing, and there is also an embedded video giving a drone-eye’s view of the sites, which adds perspective to the photographs.