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Candi Mendut (Mendut temple) in 360°
Built around early ninth century AD, Candi Mendut is the oldest of the three temples including Pawon and Borobudur. According to the Karangtengah inscription, the temple was built and finished during the reign of King Indra of Sailendra dynasty.
The still standing temple was originally merely one building in a large temple complex that was surrounded by a brick wall. However, only fragments of a few memorial stupas are left from all the other buildings. Candi Mendut appears to have a flat rooftop, but this is merely the result of an incomplete restoration.
1. What to see
Originally the temple had two rooms, a small porch in the front, and the large main chamber in the center. The porch has only been partially rebuilt because exact layout of its original roof is disputed.
The eight great Bodhisattvas are displayed at the eight corners of the building. Their names are the following: Khagarbha, Manjusri, Avalokitesvara, Vajrapani, Maitreya, Samantabhadra, Ksitigarbha and Sarvanirvana Viskambhin.
Kempers observed that there is a connection between the theme of the backside exterior panel and the two statues standing inside around the figure of Buddha. The statues inside depict Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani, while the exterior panel just behind them contains from left to right the figures of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, Mahalokesvara and Vajrapani.
The main chamber houses three beautifully carved large stone statues. Each of them was carved from a single block of stone on site, with the walls and the ceiling of the temple constructed around them afterwards. The centrally located 3m tall Buddha is flanked either side by the statues of two bodhisattvas. To the left sits Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, he is identified by the small figure of the Amitabha that he wears in his hair. Kempers identified the Bodhisattva to the right as Vajrapani due to his slightly demonic, threatening expression. All six currently empty niches are decorated with the same Kala-Makara theme. Their emptyness indicates that they might have contained statues made out of highly prized materials such as bronze, silver or gold.
2. When to see
Mendut temple is open daily 6am-5pm.
4. How to get there
If travelling on a package tour to Java, it might contain a few temples that are close to world-famous Borobudur temple.
If staying on the island of Bali, you can consider to take a one-day Yogyakarta guided trip. These trips usually include the famous Borobudur and Prambanan temples along with the sights of Yogyakarta. You'll arrive at the airport of Denpasar very early in the morning, fly to Yogyakarta with a local Indonesia flight (Lion Air / Garuda), enjoy the above mentioned monuments and finally get back to your hotel in Bali in the evening. It is important to know that you have to purchase the airplane tickets in advance, but it might be difficult, since Indonesian air flights only accept VISA cards issued in a few countries. Lion Air simply doesn't accept any European or US card, Garuda only accepts cards issued in Western Europe. If you are lucky, you can purchase your tickets in cash a few days before your excursion in a nearby country like Singapore.
It is not recommended to drive on your own in Indonesia due to the general negligance of driving rules. Singposts are written with Latin alphabet, but it might be difficult to find remote places on your own. The best solution is to rent a car with a driver for an entire day.
5. Where to stay
There are hotels in nearby Yogyakarta for every budget: from backpackers to luxuary 5* hotels.