Candi Panataran

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Origins

Candi Panataran lies N of Blitar. [map reference: 1507-634 Blitar 12.30 01.00]. It is well sign posted when leaving Blitar, but it's easy to miss the lane giving entrance to the temple as it is marked with various 'do not enter' signs. 

The date of first construction at Panataran is not known. The dated structures on the temple all stem from the Majapahit era, but Krom identifies Panasaran with Palah mentioned in a late 12th C edict, suggesting that the compound is older. 

The temple is consacrated to Ciwa as Lord of the Mountain. Klokke (2003) notes that the later East Javanese period saw the emergence of a cult of holy water and mountain worship. On Java,  mountains, and in particular Mount Sumeru, rather than the ocean, are seen as the source of the holy water (amerta). Within this scheme, the principal structure of Panataran would represent Mount Meru, while the Naga Temple was a storeroom for holy water (amerta). 

Description of architecture

The complex measures 180m x 60m in three yards. The first yard has three main buildings: a main <terrace> or balai agung, the Pendopo Terrace dated 1297 Saka (1375AD) and the Dated Temple (1291 Saka in the door or 1369AD). Candi Naga is the principal building of the middle yard. The Eastern yard has a three storeyed temple with three terraces - the upper section of the temple is missing. The first two storeys carry narrative reliefs, while Level 3 has dragons and winged lions carved in relief, but without narrative sections. It has been reassembled and now stands to the North of the main temple. Outside (SE) of the the yards there are two important remains, a bathing place dated saka 1337 (1415AD) and a westward looking bathing place which is 200 m removed to the east. 

Description of reliefs

The Pendopo Terrace has reliefs that run in a counterclockwise direction. The reliefs show the stories in a continuous sequence. The stories of Bubuksah and Sri Tanjung have been positively identified on respectively the East and West side. Another story sequence runs on the panels between Bubuksah and Sri Tanjung.Stein Callenfels identified this as the story of Sang Satyawan telling the story of an ordinary woman who follows her divine husband to become an ascetic. This identification fits only loosely. Kinney (2003: 204) notes that a a number of the sequences are similar to those found on the base of Candi Rimbi

The first terrace of the principal building in the Eastern yard has Ramayana reliefs starting with Hanoman's arrival on Langka up until the death of Kumbakarna. The story should be followed by walking counter clockwise from the SW side.Stutterheim (1925) most closely identifies this series with the OJ Ramayana Kakawin, as opposed to the reliefs on Prambanan, that most closely resemble the Hikayat Sri Rama.On level two there are scenes from the Kresnayana depicting how Krishna married Rukmini. Start from the West side from the right (north) staircase and walk clockwise.  The story Ramayana story is told in 106 separate panels, unlike that of the Kresnayana where the reliefs show scenes in a continuous sequence. 

Throughout the complex there are reliefs showing Tantri stories. 

Rediscovery and restoration

The temple was first rediscovered in 1815 but remained virtually unknown until 1850. The complex was in a bad state of decay, and the superstructure of most buildings had disappeared. The pendopo and the naga temple almost certainly had wooden superstructures. The first restorations were locally planned and executed in 1901, even though in that year the Central Government installed a Committee in charge of such works. Two masons set to work under supervision of an inspector of the local Public Works Department. 

Panataran was to be the first major restoration that Krom, the second head of the OD was to take charge of. Krom preferred minimal restoration to prevent decay - so unlike Brandes who he succeeded at the OD - and he must have been appalled by what he found at Panataran where he started excavating the grounds in 1915. Krom returned to the Netherlands in that year, and the restoration proper was started under FDK Bosch his successor at OD.

The dated temple was the first to be restored. Many of its missing parts were found such that a rebuild was made possible using some blank stones to give support where the original stones were not to be found. Next followed the Naga temple. The restorations were completed in 1918.

Mounted: 19-Jan-06, edited Jul&Sep-09

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