View Full Version : Gunung Gangsir Temple, Beji, Pasuruan

05-04-2016, 12:05
Gunung Gangsir Temple lies in Gunung Gangsir Village, Beji Subdistrict, about 18 kilometers away from Pasuruan. The name of the temple, as a matter of fact, is Keboncandi Temple. However, since the temple is situated in Gunung Gangsir Village, local people call it Gunung Gangsir Temple.
Little information is available regarding the temple. It is told that the temple was built when King Airlangga was in reign, circa 11th century. Although the temple is believed to be erected earlier than the era of Singasari administration, Gunung Gangsir Temple was built using bricks, instead of andesite rocks.

The function of the temple remains unclear, as local people hold their own version regarding it. According to local folklore, the temple was constructed in honor of Nyi Sri Gati, alias Mbok Randa Derma (the generous widow), for her noble deeds towards the improvement of local agriculture. Nyi Sri Gati is a legendary character that has a niche in local people’s heart.

Legend has it that once upon a time, the local people knew nothing about agriculture. They lived a nomadic life, moving around in search for their main food, a certain kind of grass. One day, the food supply was short. During the hardship, a woman came along out of nowhere. The woman, whose name was Nyi Sri Gati, invited the people to pray and ask Hyang Widi (God) to bless them and help them find ways to cope with their famine problem. Shortly after they followed the woman’s suggestion, a flock of birds flew around with paddy stems in their beaks. The birds dropped the grains near the feet of those nomads. Nyi Sri Gati collected the grains and planted them. After several months, the plants were ready to be harvested. Nyi Sri Gati pounded the rice and cooked it. She also taught the nomads how to cultivate the land. The nomadic people became farmers ever since, and they started to consume rice. Some of the grains dropped by the birds turned into jewels and made Nyi Sri Gati a wealthy woman.
Gunung Gangsir Temple has never been renovated thoroughly. Although most of the construction remains intact, some parts of the building have turned into ruins. It is told that during the Japanese invasion, the temple was heavily damaged. Many ornaments of the temple were taken by the Japanese soldiers to finance the war. After the war was over, local people, without prior knowledge of how to renovate a temple, did as far as they could to mend the temple. As the results, some of the bricks and ornaments seem to be out of their place.

The temple base is rectangular in shape with dimension of 15 meters x 15 meters. The temple is 15 meters in height. Inside the temple, there is a room spacious enough to accommodate 50 people. The entrance to the room is at the west side, 5 meters over the ground. There used to be wide stairs to access the entrance. The stairs are now in ruins and it is difficult to walk through them.

Above the entrance, to the left and right, there are niches for holding statues. The niches at the south side are damaged, while the remaining ones at the north side are still visible.

The arched structure of bricks that forms the roof of the temple resembles the peak of a mountain. The top of the roof has crumbled, leaving only the supporting beams of the roof. Seen from the back, the temple looks like a small hill of bricks. Although there is no niche to hold small statues, the temple walls are decorated with some ornaments.
At the top of the stairway, on the left and right sides, there are ornaments of a woman with a pattern of climbing plants. The ornaments were so finely etched onto the bricks that they seem to be molded instead of engraved.

05-04-2016, 12:08