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    Muara Takus Temple, Riau - Indonesia

    Muara Takus Temple is located in Muara Takus village, Tigabelas Koto subdistrict, Kampar regency of Riau Province. It is 128 km away from Pekanbaru, the capital of Riau. The only access to Muara Takus by land transportation is through Pekanbaru- Bukittinggi route stopping in Muara Mahat. Muara Mahat has a small road that leads to Muara Takus. Muara Takus Temple is the only historical heritage in the form of a temple in Riau. This Buddhist-style temple is evidence that Buddhist had once flourished in the area. Yet, archaeologists remain uncertain as to when this temple was exactly built.

    There two arguments relating to the name Muara Takus. The first claims that the name was derived from a small river named Takus which is a tributary of Kampar Kanan River. The other says that Muara Takus comes from two words, “Muara” (estuary) and “Takus”. The word “Muara” has a clear meaning already: a river that empties into an ocean or a bigger river, while “Takus” derives from Chinese words Ta (meaning big), Ku (meaning old), and Se (meaning temple or shrine). As a whole Muara Takus signifies a big old temple that lies on an estuary.

    There two arguments relating to the name Muara Takus. The first claims that the name was derived from a small river named Takus which is a tributary of Kampar Kanan River. The other says that Muara Takus comes from two words, “Muara” (estuary) and “Takus”. The word “Muara” has a clear meaning already: a river that empties into an ocean or a bigger river, while “Takus” derives from Chinese words Ta (meaning big), Ku (meaning old), and Se (meaning temple or shrine). As a whole Muara Takus signifies a big old temple that lies on an estuary.

    The main building is called Tuo Temple. This temple has a dimension of 32.80 m x 21.80 m and is the biggest building within the compound. It is laid out to the north of Bungsu Temple. There are stairs on its east and west sides, which probably used to have stupas. Statues of sitting lions are placed on the lower parts of the stairs. This building has 36 sides and consists of base I, base II, body, and top. The top has been damaged and many of stones have gone.

    Tuo Temple was made of cast bricks and tuff. Restoration of this temple has been carried out gradually due to financial constraints. In 1990, base I on the east side was restored. In the fiscal year of 1992/1993, restoration was continued on the west side (base I and II). The entire volume of the building is 2,235 m3, comprising of bases (2,028 m3), body (150 m3), and top (57 m3). The building stands 8.50 m high.

    The second building is called Mahligai Temple. This temple is cube-shaped in 10.44 m x 10.60 m dimension with 28 sides and stands 14.30 m high on an octagonal platform. The base has multiple ornaments of lotus and its center has a spire that resembles the shape of a phallus (lingga).

    In 1860, Cornel de Groot, a Dutch archaeologist, made a visit to Muara Takus. He could still statues of sitting lion on each side. Now the statues have disappeared. On the east side, there is a square terrace in 5.10 x 5.10 m dimension with stairs in its front part. Mahligai Temple has a volume of 423.20 m3; consisting of base 275.3 m3, body 66.6 m3 and top 81.3 m3. Restoration of Mahligai Temple began in 1978 and was completed in 1983.

    The third building is called Palangka Temple, located 3.85 m to the east of Mahligai Temple. This building is made of cast red bricks. Palangka Temple is the smallest, and has niches in different stone arrangement compared to that on the wall of Mahligai Temple. Before restoration efforts were carried out, the temple base was buried around one meter in the ground. Restoration of this temple began 1987 and was completed in 1989. Restoration was carried out only on the temple base and body, because the top had already disappeared when the temple was discovered in 1860. To the north, there are stairs that have already been damaged and cannot be recognized its original form. The temple’s base is octagonal, 6.60 m long, 5.85 m wide, and stands 1.45 m from ground level with a volume of 52.9 m3.

    The fourth building is called Bungsu Temple. This temple is laid out to the west of Mahligai Temple. The building is made of two types of stone, tuff for the front part and bricks for the rear part. Restoration of this temple began in 1988 and was completed in 1990. The efforts have successfully restored the temple to its original form, a square building in 7.50 m x 16.28 m dimension. The top is not restored, because its original form is unknown. The temple stands 6.20 m from ground level after restoration, with a volume of 365.8 m3. Illustration made by J.W. Yzerman, TH. A.F. Delprat and Opziter (Sinder) H.L. Leijdie Melvile, indicates that above the red-brick structure there are 8 small stupas encircling a big stupa. Above the tuff structure, there is a big stupa.

    On the east side, there is a stairway made of tuff.
    In addition to those buildings, in the north, or right in front of the gate of Tuo Temple, there is a mound of earth with two holes. This place is suspected to be a crematorium. One hole is used for loading the corpse and the other for retrieving the ash. This facility is included in temple maintenance because it is still within the temple compound. Gravels from Kampar River are found inside the mound. Several other buildings, suspected to be in close relation to this temple, are also found outside Muara Takus Temple compound in a number of locations around Muara Takus village.


    In addition to those buildings, in the north, or right in front of the gate of Tuo Temple, there is a mound of earth with two holes. This place is suspected to be a crematorium. One hole is used for loading the corpse and the other for retrieving the ash. This facility is included in temple maintenance because it is still within the temple compound. Gravels from Kampar River are found inside the mound. Several other buildings, suspected to be in close relation to this temple, are also found outside Muara Takus Temple compound in a number of locations around Muara Takus village.

    muara-takus-temple.jpg

    Source : candi.pnri.go.id

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