Kalasan Temple is a temple dedicated to Dewi Tara whose outer walls are covered with ancient cement.
The oldest Buddhist temple in Yogyakarta was built by Rakai Panangkaran, the king of the Syailendra dynasty who also conceptualized the establishment of Borobudur.
Many people always mention Borobudur when talking about Buddhist temple buildings.
In fact, there are many Buddhist-style temples in Yogyakarta, one of which is closely related to Borobudur is the Tara Temple.
The temple, which is located in Kalibening, Kalasan, was built by the same drafter as Borobudur, namely Rakai Panangkaran. Because it is located in the Kalasan area, this temple is better known as Kalasan Temple.
Completed in 778 AD, Tara Temple is the oldest Buddhist temple in Yogyakarta. The temple, which stands not far from Jalan Yogya Solo, was built as a tribute to the Pancapana marriage from the Sanjaya Dynasty with Dyah Pramudya Wardhani from the Syailendra Dynasty.
Apart from being a wedding gift, the temple was also a response to the kings’ proposal to build another sacred building for the goddess Tara and a monastery for priests.
Tara Temple is a square-shaped building with each side measuring 45 meters and 34 meters high. The temple building vertically consists of three parts, namely the foot of the temple, the body of the temple, and the roof of the temple.
The foot of the temple is a building that stands on a square stone base and a wide stone. In that section, there is a ladder with Makara decorations at the end. Meanwhile, around the base of the temple, there are decorative tendrils coming out of a pot.
The temple body has an appearance that juts out at the center. On the outer surface of the temple body, there is a niche decorated with a deity holding a lotus flower in a standing position. The southeast section has a booth in which there is a throne decorated with the motif of a lion standing on the back of an elephant. The booth can be entered from the viewer booth on the east side.
The roof of the temple is octagonal and consists of two levels. A statue depicting a Buddhist human is on the first level while on the second level there is a statue depicting Yani Buddha.
The top of the temple is a square symbolizing Semeru Peak with decorative stupas. On the border of the temple body with the roof of the temple, there is a flower decoration of a dwarf creature called Gana.
If you look at the details of the temple, you will also find beautiful reliefs on its surface. For example, reliefs of trees of gods and clouds and their heavenly inhabitants playing sounds. The heavenly inhabitants brought rebab, shellfish, and camara. There are also descriptions of flower buds, leaves, and vines. The reliefs at Tara Temple are unique because they are coated with ancient cement called Brajalepha, made from certain tree sap.
Around the temple, there are 52 stupas with a height of about 4.6 m. Even though the stupas are no longer intact because the parts are no longer complete, you can still enjoy them. Visiting the temple whose history is known based on the temple inscription with the letter Panagari, you will increasingly recognize the greatness of Rakai Panangkaran who even built sacred buildings in Thailand.
This temple is also proof that in the past there have been attempts to reconcile religious adherents to one another.
Evidently, Panangkaran, who is Hindu, built the Tara Temple at the suggestion of Buddhist priests and dedicated it to Pancapana, who is also a Buddhist.
This temple is also one of the sacred buildings that inspired Atisha, a Buddhist from India who had visited Borobudur and spread Buddhism to Tibet.
Location: Jl. Jogja-Solo km 13, Kalasan, Yogyakarta, Indonesia
Entrance ticket: IDR 5,000
Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday: 08.00 am – 5.00 pm