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    Singasari Temple, Malang - East Java

    Singasari Temple is located at Candi Renggo village, Singosari Subdistrict, about 9 km from Malang city. The temple is also called Cungkup temple or Tower temple, meaning that this temple is the highest, at least compared to the other temples in the compound.

    Today, however, it is only Singasari temple left in Singasari area, while the other temples have gone without a trace. There is no certain time when this temple was built, but archaeologists estimate that the temple was built around 13th century to commemorate King Kertanagara of Singosari Kingdom. There are two shrines dedicated to Kertanagara, Singosari temple and Jawi temple, as indicated in the presence of several Shiva statues in the temple’s court.

    Singosari temple is at the center of the court. The temple body rests on a shelf, 1.5 meter high. The base of the temple is simple in design, without any ornament or relief. Unlike other temples, the stairs at the base of the temple bear no decoration of makara pattern. The entrance into the space inside the temple is located at the front side of display room (a small frontward projecting room), facing south. The entrance is also simple without ornaments engraved on the sills. Above the entrance sills is a relief sculpture of a kala head. The artwork is very modest. Some relief sculptures are so modest and simple that leads people to suspect that Singasari Temple was partially completed.

    Slightly rearward on the left and right hand sides of the gate there is a niche to put a statue. Similar niches are also found on the other three sides of the temple’s body. These niches are bigger, with an indented display, above which sills simple ornaments of kala head are engraved. At the center of the room there is a yoni that is already damaged in its upper part. No engravings are found on the yoni’s base.

    At a glance, Singasari Temple seems to be arranged in two tiers because the roof’s lower part is in square shape, resembling a small chamber with niche on each side. It appears that there were statues inside the niches, although four of them are currently empty. Above the sills of each niche’s “door”, there are engravings of Kala head ornaments which are more complicated than those above the sills of the entrance and niches in the temple’s body. The roof top is pyramidal in shape, with gradually narrowing structure towards the top. Portions of the roof appear to have collapsed.

    Singasari temple was partially restored in the 1930's by Dutch government, as stated in the relief at the temple’s base. However, the restoration was not completed since there are still many rows of stone piles in the yard not successfully restored to their original positions. It is difficult to put the stone in the right place.

    The yard also has some statues, most of which are in damaged or unfinished condition, such as Shiva statues in various positions and sizes, Durga, and Lembu Nandini.

    About 300 m to the west of Singasari temple, through a densely populated area, there are two big statues of Dwarapala, a gate-keeping giant in massive size. Each of the statues is said to weigh around 40 tons, 3.7 m in height, with 3.8 m body measurement. The two statues are around 20 m apart (today they are separated by a road).

    Dwi Cahyono, an archeologist from Malang University, says that the two statues of Dwarapala used to be facing the east towards Singasari temple, but the one on the south side has now changed direction to face northeast. The change in direction occurred during the process of statue excavation. Until the end of 1980s, the lower half of the south statue was still buried in the ground. Rubble is seen in the background of the south statue, which seems to be a wall. The two statues were probably keepers of the entrance into the palace of King Kartanegara (1268-1292), which is located to the west (on the background) of the two statues.

    Legend around Singasari Dynasty

    Some temples in East Java, especially around Malang, have a close historical connection to the Singasari Kingdom. Singasari dynasty descended from Ken Dedes and her two husbands, Tunggul Ametung an akuwu (chief of an area comparable to present day Subdistrict) of Tumapel and Ken Arok, a commoner who killed Tunggul Ametung and seized his power and wife.

    The history of Singasari Kingdom has given birth to a legend of Kris (Javanese double-edged dagger) Mpu Gandring that is highly popular among the people of East Java. Legend has it that Ken Arok was born out of an affair between a woman from Panawijen village named Ken Endog and Brahma. Shortly after his birth, baby Ken Arok was abandoned by his mother in a cemetery, and then was found and brought home by an experienced thief. From his stepfather, Ken Arok learned many things, such as murder, gambling and robbery. Young Ken Arok became the meanest bandit around Tumapel and people were afraid of him. One day, Ken Arok met a Brahmin priest called Dang Hyang Lohgawe and the priest advised him to leave his walk of life. Following the advice of the priest, Ken Arok quit being a criminal and became a Tumapel soldier.

    The then chief of Tumapel, an area within Kediri Kingdom, was Tunggul Ametung, who married Ken Dedes, the daughter of Mpu Purwa who lived in Panawijen village. A son named Anusapati was born out of the marriage. One day Ken Dedes went home to see her father. As she stepped down from her imperial carriage, a strong wind blew open her under skirt. Ken Arok, who was on duty of escorting the carriage, briefly saw the thighs of Tunggul Ametung’s wife. To the eyes of Ken Arok, the thighs produced a sparkling light. The scene lingered on the mind of Ken Arok. He then asked Mpu Parwa about what he had seen. The master explained that the light was an omen that Ken Dedes was predestined to be a woman who would descend kings on the island of Java.

    Ken Arok then ordered a Kris from a Kris master (mpu) in Tumapel named Mpu Gandring. It takes long to forge, shape, and follow the necessary rituals to make a reliably powerful Kris. Because the completion of his Kris was dragging on, Ken Arok became very angry. He snatched the unfinished Kris and stabbed it to the body of its maker. Dying, Mpu Gandring cast a curse upon Ken Arok that he too would meet the same fate to be killed by the same Kris and that the Kris would take seven lives. Ken Arok lent Mpu Gandring Kris to his colleague, Kebo Ijo, who liked to show off. Kebo Ijo showed the Kris to his fellow soldiers and bragged that the Kris was his. After it became a common knowledge that the Kris was Kebo Ijo’s, Ken Arok stole and used it to stab Tunggul Ametung. As it was expected, people, who were under the impression that the Kris belonged to Kebo Ijo, accused him for the murder while Ken Arok walked freely and took over Tunggul Ametung’s place as the chief and married Ken Dedes.

    Soon after he became the chief, Ken Arok conquered Kediri Kingdom, which was under the reign of King Kertajaya (1191-1222). Upon defeating Kediri Kingdom, Ken Arok declared the establishment of Singasari Kingdom and made himself its first king entitled Rajasa Bathara Sang Amurwabhumi. Ken Arok had a son named Mahisa Wongateleng from his marriage to Dari Ken Dedes, and another son named Tohjaya from his marriage to Ken Umang. Then, Mpu Gandring’s curse started to happen. Anusupati killed Ken Arok and took over his throne, Tohjaya came up and killed Anusupati and claimed the throne. In turn, Ranggawuni, Anusupati’s son, killed Tohjaya and came to reign. Ranggawuni was addressed Jayawisnuwardhana and ruled Singasari from 1227 until 1268. Jayawisnuwardhana was succeeded by his son, Joko Dolog, who was called Kertanegara (1268-1292).

    Kertanegara was the last of Singasari kings. He was overthrown by Jayakatwang, the king of Kediri. Jayakatwang, however, was defeated by Kertanegara’s son-in-law, Raden Wijaya, who was the descendant of Mahisa Wongateleng and King Udayana from Bali. Later, Raden Wijaya established a new kingdom named Majapahit and ruled the kingdom from an area called Tarik (Trowulan).

    Source: candi.pnri.go.id

    Last edited by Backpacker; 27-09-2011 at 11:45.

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  3. #3
    Singasari Temple Video

    Video by: agungyoga

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