Surakarta city from above
Surakarta or famously known as Solo, is a small city in Central Java. Our current governor of Jakarta formerly became the governor in Solo. He was a good person which able to create a good system in Solo – now I see it with my own eyes. That’s true, the city is well-organized and develop even not so develop as in Jakarta (oh yeah, Jakarta is like a fat-developed city-that-actually-already-overweight-with-the-people-and-buildings – umm, I become so sarcastic now), but the city is so decent. I like how the way the have the road’s system and how they keep the city humble.
The best part of the city is the food – both about the taste and the price. I was so surprised how cheap it is for meals in Solo. In regular restaurant, you can spend 1 dollar to have a decent (mostly a lot) of meals.
My fave food in Solo, Gudangan!
And the people in Solo… They are awesomely nice. Solo is a part of area in Central Java that speak in soft Javanese language, so they usually will talk with you in smooth voices with full of smile. I feel it! It’s so different with the other Java cities. Even I admit it’s so confusing to talk here since some people speak Javanese and not much of bahasa (Indonesia National language) but that mostly for the old people – young folks speak bahasa very well.
Me and a friend went to a temple in Lawu mountain, it named Cetho Temple. It was around 1 hour from Solo city to the temple by motorbike. At first we wanted to go to Sukuh Temple, because Cetho is further away than Sukuh, we were thinking to visit Cetho first, then Sukuh. Cetho located in Gumeng Village, Karanganyar, in the altitude of 1400 m above the sea level. My friend brought his motorbike and we need to stop many times and I need to get out from the motorbike and walk a bit since the motorbike wasn’t able to go up.
The view surrounding was so pretty. The weather started to be colder the higher we go up, plus it is a rainy season now in Indonesia. On our way to Cetho, we also passed the tea garden and rice fields that looked so awesomely beautiful such as a master art carpet cover the land of Lawu mountain.
Once we arrived in Cetho, I already felt so amaze with the statue that standing in the main gate. It is a Lingga and Yoni statue. Lingga is the symbol of male and Yoni for the female. Also what make me interest is because the form of the statue is quite simple comparing to the usual Hindu or Buddhist statues in their temples. For instance, the sculptured face, eye shape, hair pieces, clothing, and jewelry on the sculptures here is a model that does not reflect the Javanese people, but more to Sumerians or Mayan’s culture.
Not only the statues in Cetho temple, also some relief counted more simple than usual relief for instance in Borobudur or Prambanan temples – both are Buddhist and Hindu temples that also located in Central Java.
Further more, we went to inside of the temple area and see a huge relief of Lingga (male’s genital) lies on the ground. I believe there’s a meaning from the symbol, but the situation of the relief and remaining statues are very worrying. This temple made from Majapahit kingdom era and built in the 15th century. But what makes me worry is how people step on the stones on it. It wasn’t their faults though since it used as the stairs to go up, for instance the stone of turtle in below picture.
I also noticed the turtle is in a love shape, that was cute and also assure me that the temple was purposely built for female and male ritual. For instance maybe some people ever came here and pray to get their soul mate, babies or anything else regarding to human’s sex. That’s why Sukuh and Cetho famous as erotic temples in Indonesia. Quite shocking since Indonesia counted as Muslim country that sometimes too conservative (especially at 15th century!).
Go further up, we can see 2 statues, each is in one house. Again, the statue was in simple shape. It was a mix of Mayan and Africa shape of style. I can’t imagine that hundred years ago, probably Mayans people came to Indonesia and built this temples – who knows? There’s still no fix explanation about this temple. The main temple itself still used for prayers ritual, once we were there, we see some Hindu people are going to the inside of the temple and lock the door, it’s private for their worship.
We saw an old board that tell us there is another temple to be seen, Kethek temple. Following the track, we found Saraswati Park. Saraswati is the name of a goddess in Hindu mythology that became the wife of Lord Brahma. She famous as the goddes of knowledge and arts. Saraswati depicted as a beautiful goddess who has four arms. I don’t know whether it was a coincidence or not, but I saw some children learn fighting sport in the park – maybe because Saraswati famous with the knowledge, they chose that place.
Although the main gate in Cetho temple looks like the gate that commonly found in Bali (Hindu’s culture) but once you go to Kethek temple, you will be surprised and confuse with the form of the temple. It’s in pentagonal prism form. Absolutely not ones that you usually find in Hindu or Buddhist temple, even Hindu people who came to here and pray. The atmosphere around the temple was so peaceful and quiet. I like this temple because not so many people or tourist go to here, so you can really feel the charm of that ancient building.
We need to pay another Rp. 1000 to go inside the Kethek temple. Actually there are 5 temples that spread around Lawu Mountain. But the rain forced us to go back to the city. I wish maybe another trip will bring me there.
Going back to the city, we need to be extra careful with the motorbike, since the way down more slippery with the hard rain that afternoon. Anyway, here is the cute picture of the buffalo were wallowing in the mud that we see while visit the center of the Solo’s city. They are so cute, aren’t they? 😉