What an Amazing World!

On the slopes of Mount Ungaran in the temperate climate of Java’s hilly terrain, perches several small ancient temples amid rose gardens, cabbage fields, and wild taro and coffee trees. The sky is clear, the sun shines brightly. This place is only less than 40 km away from where I was born. But it has taken me 28 years to finally set foot in Gedong Songo – Javanese for ‘nine buildings’ – a temple compound in this cool refuge from the unbearable heat and humidity of Semarang, the capital of Central Java.

Originally studded with nine Hindu temples, hence the name, today only five remain largely intact and excavated. The rest are now merely in ruins. Built in the 8th century out of volcanic stone, the temples are fine examples of the Early Classic style of Javanese architecture. As one of the oldest temples in the island of Java, Gedong Songo…

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