Majapahit's Sites - Majapahit Inheritances


Yet a further innovation which appeared in East Java was the construction of Majapahit's sites. These were of two types. On the one hand, there were buildings like Jajaghu temple, which consisted of a single solid structure built on a number of receding levels. Access was from the front, by means of a system of stone stairways, which led up to the most sacred shrine occupying the highest point.

The other type of terraced sanctuary, which seems to have become popular towards the end of the Majapahit period, was built on the mountain slopes. Examples of this kind of structure can still be seen today, notably at Sukuh and Ceto temple on Mt Lawu, as well as on Mt Penanggungan. These sites of 'altars', as they are sometimes called, appear to recall an earlier period of Indonesian history. Built against the natural hillside, orientated to the mountain peak, the levels of the sanctuary symbolize the divisions of the material and spiritual worlds, which must be traversed before reaching the 'ancestral seat' (pelinggih) situated on the topmost level. A contemporary example of the site mountain sanctuary is Pura Besakih, 'mother temple' of Bali.


Candi Lemari, a terraced sanctuary on the slopes of
Mt. Penanggungan

Terraced "altars" on Mt. Penanggungan, dating from the late Majapahit period


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