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GEDONG SONGO TEMPLE - An Exotic Culture on the Slope of Ungaran Mountain

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Address: Desa Candi, Bandungan, Semarang, Indonesia
GPS Coordinate: S7°12'36.7" E110°20'31.9" (view map)

Silent, peaceful, and mysterious are the words that best described Gedong Songo temple as a whole. Located on the slope of Ungaran temple, this Hindu temple that was built in the same era of Dieng temple offers exotica.

An Exotic Culture on the Slope of Ungaran Mountain

The bilateral relation between Mataram Kuno and India Kingdom didn’t only deal with trade, but also with culture and belief. The influence of India culture can be seen from the architectural style of some temples spread around Indonesia. One of the temple complex using India style and the mixture of local culture is the complex of Gedong Songo Temple. It is located on the slope of Ungaran Mountain with 1200 meters height above the sea. There is not exact data when the temple was built, but based on the artefact around the temple and the resemblance of its physical appearance with the temple complex on Dieng highland, the experts concluded that Gedong Songo Temple was built in the same era, which was around 7th to 9th century in Sanjaya Dynasty era.

The trip to Gedong Songo temple is quite challenging since we have to pass steep grade and sharp bend. However, our hard trip was paid by its beauty. From the gate, we could see the temple impressively and sophisticatedly stood on the mountain slope in line from the lower ground to the highest. The smell of the wet soil, the new-cut grass, the pine rubber, the smell of wild flowers, and the mountain fresh air gave special sensation. The sun light coming through between the pine trees and giving out its brightness to the temple was like a perfect morning painting.

Before named Gedong Songo (nine buildings), this temple complex was named Gedong Pitoe (seven buildings) because when they were first found there were only seven groups of temple. After the other two were found later, the complex was named Gedong Songo Temple, which meant nine building complex. However, nowadays there are only five complex can be visited by the tourists because the other four are broken and only fragments remain. In addition, they have been preserved by Dinas Purbakala (Archeological Service). To enjoy the view of all temples, we can use two possible ways; the first way is by walking through the stony path from Gedong Temple I to Gedong Temple V, or by riding a horse through the opposite way. At that time, YogYES tried the second way by riding a horse and starting the adventure from Gedong Temple V located on the top of the highland, which was called Puncak Nirwana.

At the beginning, we were quite unsure of riding a horse in the forest and passing steep and curve road, but it started to disappear when the horse started to walk through the road. Our journey became so exciting when we heard a harmony of the horse walk, its whinnying sound, and the birdsong accompanied us. After the steep grade, the road went slope steadily, so we had to upright our body and hang on the horse tightly. From Gedong Temple V, YogYES could see a group of mountains consisted of Sindoro, Sumbing, Merbabu, and Telomoyo mountain in the distance. When we continued our journey to Gedong Songo IV, suddenly the sun was covered by cloud and the fog started to come. The sulphur odor was smelt from the hot water spring between Gedong Songo Temple IV and III. We felt like being in an unknown world where everything was silent and mysterious, yet it gave us eternal peace.

The entrance ticket to the complex is: IDR 5,000

The horse trip to Gedong Songo Temple:
Domestic tourist: IDR 50,000
Foreign tourist: IDR 70,000

The village horse trip:
Domestic tourist: IDR 25,000
Foreign tourist: IDR 35,000

The hot water well horse trip:
Domestic tourist: IDR 40,000
Foreign tourist: IDR 60,000

Places near GEDONG SONGO TEMPLE (radius 3 km)