The Exotic Ceto Temple On The Side Of Mount Lawu

At 1,400 meter's above sea level, on the western slopes of Mount Lawu, Surakarta, Central Jawa, there stands a temple. These are the archeological remains of the Kingdom of Majapahit from the mid 14th century and the temple is believed to have supranatural powers within its exotic shape.
Candi Ceto, candi means temple looks like the building of Pura Besakih, one of the biggest Hindu temples in Bali. Its grandiose main entrance, layered on all levels, indeed gives an impression of the concept of Hindu worship. And, in accordance with the king who commisioned its building, that is King Brawijaya V of the Kingdom of Majapahit in East Jawa, this temple does have a history rooted in Hindu teaching, the religion that the king embraced.
Although it has a Hindu background, Candi Ceto's form is different from other Hindu temples built in 7th and 8th centuries in Centra Java such as Prambanan Temple. It is fair to say that this temple is a building with special and unique form of architecture, a work of contemporary art in its time. To reach this temple from Solo in a car, you'll need about an hour. Around 10 kilometres from the Ceto's temple, the roads starts to twist and climb.
The higher you get, the more it twists and the steeper it gets. Another note for drivers do not be tempted to look right and left to enjoy the gorgeous views of the fertile slopes, if you want to savour the equatorial beauty of this absolute gem of a location, you'd better stop your vehicle and enjoy the views across the lovely expanse of tea plantations.The air of Ceto Temple region is cool up here at 1,400 metres and there is a spectacular panorama. It is even more beautiful in the evening when Karanganyar and Surakarta are bathed in colourful lights. From the courtyard, we can already feel the vibe of the temple's Ceto grandeur and sacredness.
The towering gate with Mount Lawu in the background feels as though it is taking visitors into another dimension. Walking onto the first terrace, we encounter two statues in respectful poses as if they are welcoming us to go up to the next level. Archeologists say when the temple was found by one of their Dutch predecessors in 1842, there were about 14 levels (courtyard).
But in the 1970s the Ceto temple was restored by people entrusted with the task by President Suharto and their work was based on mystical concepts and so now there are only 9 terraces. Experts think that the renovation not following archeological references was a mistake.
This explains the announcement posted on the Candi Sukuh information board that the restoration was carried out by a new order businessman and is in conflict with archeological principles. However, despite the for and against arguments, the artefact from the end of the kingdom of Majapahit is both unique and artistic.
It is terraced and each terrace is marked with a gate. Perhaps one of the most defining things in Ceto temple is the statue on the seventh terrace. A phallus with a ball pierced on its top beside a mortar (for pounding rice) which probably symbolizes female genitals.
The two genitals symbols with exotic shape are believed to have several meanings, one of which is fertility. Then there are a big turtle and various creepy crawlies artistically arranged.
On this terrace the followers of Kejawen (Javanese traditional beliefs) perform their rituals and meditations.These symbols of phallus and vagina are actually a different form of the statues of Lingga and Yoni found in many earlier Hindu temples, with a different design which makes them look like a UFO landing site if seen from above.
On subsequent terraces there are many statues and reliefs of Sudhamala, and also of Sabdo Palon and Noyoginggong believed to be King Brawijaya V's beloved servants. On the 8th terraces, on the left side, there is a quite big phallus complete with an incense bowl in front of it. On the last terrace there is a cut pyramid on top of which sits a cubical altar which always has a red and white cloth wrapped around it.
That's the exotic Candi Ceto on the slopes of Mount Lawu, which right up till the present day is used for worship by the followers of Kejawen and Hindus from Java and Bali.