Archaeological sites which are historical relics of historical value, art and culture are resources and capital for tourism development to increase the prosperity and welfare of the people as contained in Pancasila and the Preamble to the 1945 Constitution of the Republic of Indonesia. However, the condition of these archaeological sites is starting to be fragile and limited , not many people know the history and conditions so that we need a way to preserve history and culture in all its diversity. Therefore, an information system is needed to assist in maintaining the existing cultural resources. (Explanation of Law Number 11 of 2010 concerning Cultural Conservation).
The location of Abang Temple is in Sentonorejo Hamlet, Jogotirto Village, Berbah District, Sleman Yogyakarta. To reach the temple, you can look for Jalan Jogja-Solo, precisely in Prambanan. Once you arrive at Prambanan Terminal, look for Jalan Raya Jogja-Piyungan Km 8. There, there is a sign to the right (west) that reads Abang Temple and Sentana Cave.
Abang Temple is located at the top of a hill on the edge of a village road, 1.5 kilometers west of Jalan Raya Jogja-Piyungan. Access to a good location and can be reached by four-wheeled vehicles. It’s just that, once you get to the top of the hill, it’s a bit damaged and can only be reached on foot or by motorbike. Tourists can use public transportation. That is, look for buses that pass Jalan Raya Jogja-Piyungan
The integrity of the temple is no longer perfect. However, that does not mean that beauty and uniqueness are complete. Abang Temple still stands firmly on the top of a hill with brick building materials. The size of the Abang Temple pedestal is 36 x 34 meters, and its height cannot be estimated. This temple is shaped like a pyramid, with a well in the middle. In this temple, there are stairs, entrance and made of white stone aka limestone. In addition, there are some andesite stones whose function is not yet known.
This temple was built around the 9th and 10th centuries during the Ancient Mataram Kingdom. However, this temple is estimated to have a younger age than other Hindu temples. The temple which is shaped like a pyramid is called Candi Abang because it is made of red bricks (brother in Javanese). The shape of this temple is in the form of a hill, now it is overgrown with grass so that from a distance it looks like a mound of earth or a small hill. When it was first discovered, in this temple there are statues and yoni pedestals, the symbol of Lord Shiva, in the form of an octagon (not rectangular, as usual) with a side measuring 15 cm.
Some people think that Candi Abang is a place for storing treasures in ancient times, therefore it is often damaged and excavated by irresponsible people who are looking for historical treasures and valuables. This happened, for example, in November 2002.
Candi Abang is actually just a mound of earth on a hill. This hill in the rainy season will be green, while in the dry season of course it is arid. The new Abang Temple will look abang (red) color if the conditions are really dry and dry. As in general, most temples are built on hills, because in the past a higher place was considered a sacred place (the abode of gods). The uniqueness of Candi Abang is that this temple was built with red bricks. Why is it unique? Are there no other temples built with red bricks?
Well, this is very interesting for me. In general, the temples in Central Java are temple buildings built with andesite stone. What is andesite stone? Andesite is a volcanic igneous rock. Can you imagine the big stones that are spewed out by Mount Merapi. Well, stones like that are called andesite stones. But to create a durable temple, you need the perfect andesite rock. What’s like? Andesite stone as a temple material must be andesite stone buried in the ground and must be mined. These andesite stones can be inlaid to form interlocking boxes that make up the structure of the temple.
Andesite is not the only stone used as a building block for the temple. There are also red bricks. This is where the characteristics and differences lie. Temples in Central Java are generally made of andesite stone. While the temples in East Java are made of red bricks.
When viewed from the durable quality, of course andesite stone is more durable. For example, Sambisari Temple in Sleman, although it has been covered by Mount Merapi’s lava for years, can still be found again in a complete (though not perfect) state.
Unlike the Majapahit heritage temples in East Java, which are generally made of red bricks, it is rather difficult to decipher their history, because on average, Majapahit temples are no longer in the form of temples, only ruins. The current condition of the red brick temples in East Java has been reconstructed from the pictures of the temples in Raffles’ History of Java book. So it’s been the result of restoration for tourism. In fact, the temples in East Java are on average younger than the temples in Central Java. Meanwhile, the temples in Central Java were built during the reign of Ancient Mataram, an era much older than Majapahit.
That’s why, Candi Abang is interesting because it’s a bit unusual if there are temples made of red bricks in the central part of Java, especially in Yogyakarta. Unfortunately I can’t tell you more about the reliefs at Candi Abang because the temple is buried in the ground.
Abang Temple, the Protecting Pyramid of Citizens
Yoni was found at the location of the temple, as a marker that the temple was a relic of Hinduism. The Yoni in the temple is in the form of a hexagon or octagon with each side measuring 15 cm. Oh yes, in the Abang Temple area, precisely on the south side of the temple, there is a rock that resembles a frog. The local people call it Batu Frog, although without a complete explanation regarding the existence of the stone. At the top of the temple, there is a well called the Bandung well. While at this location, when you look down from the top of the hill, you can see the expanse of rice fields and field land that is used for various activities.
Local people still believe that Abang Temple is guarded by an elder and respected figure. He is named Kyai Butcher, who has a large body and long hair.
Kyai Butcher is a protector from all damage. In the Japanese era, residents often took refuge in the temple, because there was a belief. Kyai Butcher will protect them. The belief in Kyai Butcher is very large. So, there is a story about a lump of gold the size of a calf which is believed to be in the body of Candi Abang, it remains a story and no one dares to prove it.
Apart from all the stories, every place (one of them temples) has its own story among the community members. For example, Candi Abang is always associated with the story of hidden treasures, or some stories about where to find pesugihan. There are mystical stories that local residents have told me about Candi Abang, for example, why are there no big plants growing on the mound of Candi Abang? Why only grass? Because if you study Raffles’ History of Java, some of the temples were even found in a condition “grabbed” by the roots of large plants. Then why is there not even a plant in Abang Temple that “grabs” it?
There is also a story from local residents, that at certain times when there is a cloud above the temple, the cloud will be red, and not everyone will see it, only the people they want can see it.
Whatever the story behind it, one that we must not forget, that this place was once the center of our ancestral civilization, something we should not just ignore. Something that would be a shame if you missed it.