Kidal Temple, Rejokidal village, Malang, East Java

Kidal Temple
Kidal Temple is located in Rejokidal village of Tumpang Subdistrict in Malang Regency approximately 20 km to the east of Malang city. This temple is said to be the oldest shrine in East Java, because Airlangga (11-12 century AD) of Kahuripan Kingdom and kings of Kediri Kingdoms (12-13 century AD) left only Belahan Temple and Jalatunda, which is a pool. Kidal Temple was built in 1248 AD, following a ‘Cradha’ funeral ceremony for King Anusapati of Singasari Kingdom. The temple was constructed as King Anusapati’s dharma in order the he received glorification as Shiva Mahadewa. Built during transitional period of Central Java kingdoms’ heyday to East Java kingdoms, Kidal Temple shares the characteristics of Central Java temple and East Java temple. Some scholars even mention that Kidal Temple is the prototype temple of East Java style. The temple is made exclusively of andesite stones in vertically geometric dimension. Around the temple yard is a stone structure that serves as a fence. The temple sits on a batur (temple base) 2 meters high. To access veranda on the temple base, stone stairs are placed right in front of the entrance gate. Interestingly, each of the stair is flat, which makes the whole stairs do not look like real stairs from distance. These stone stairs do not have handrails in ukel style, as commonly found in other temples, but on the left hand side there is a badug (low wall) in elbow shape that blocks the side and a part of the front side of the stair base. No such badug is found in other temples. The temple’s entrance gate heads towards the west, with performer room having kalamakara (a giant’s head) ornament above its sill. The giant’s head ornament, which is scare with eyes open wide, open mouth, and 2 big and long curved fangs, gives a sense of dominance. The 2 fangs are also a characteristic of temples in East Java style. On the left and right corners are fingers in threatening mudra (position), making a perfect fearsome impression that a shrine keeping creature deserves. There is a small niche on the left and right hand side of the entrance gate, where a statue is positioned with a ‘roof’ above. Above the sills of the niches are decorated with kalamakara ornaments as well. The roof of Kidal Temple is three-layered square, which gets smaller to the top. The top is not pointed, but square with wide enough surfaces. The roof top is not decorated with ratna or stupa, but is simply plain. Around the edge of each layer is decorated with flower floral and climbing plantations. Legend has it that each layer’s corner is planted with a small diamond. Around the temple base is decorated with medallion engravings in rows interspersed with frames in floral and climbing plantation motifs. On the left and right of stair base and on each projecting corner, there is an animal statue that resembles a lion in sitting position like human with one hand to the air. These statues look like supporting the upper edge of the temple base projecting out of the veranda. The temple body is slim, providing a wide enough veranda on the temple base. Inside the temple body is a relatively small room, which is now vacant. The temple’s walls are engraved in medallion motifs. A niche is provided on the flank and rear part of the temple to place a statue. The niches also have ‘roof’ and kalamakara decoration above the sills. None of the statues are found in Kidal Temple. Reportedly the beautiful Shiva statue now kept in Leiden Museum was taken from Kidal Temple. In ancient Javanese literature, there is a popular myth among the people, i.e. Garudeya, a mythical bird garuda that managed to liberate her mother from slavery by giving amerta holy water (water of life) in exchange. Legend has it that Garudeya was invented to fulfill Anusapati’s wish who want to purify Ken Dedes, his beloved mother. The myth of Garudeya is depicted in detail in reliefs of around temple base. The prasawiya (counter clockwise) technique of reading is used for reading the reliefs, beginning from the southern side. The first relief describes a garuda carrying 3 giant snakes; the second depicting a garuda with pot on its head; and the third relief depicting a garuda carrying a woman. Among the three reliefs, the second is the most beautiful and intact. The Myth of Garudheya The myth of Garudheya lived among ancient Javanese people who embraced Hinduism. It tells of a mythical bird struggling to free his mother from hardship. The story begins with a Resi (somebody who leads austere life) named Kasyapa who lives in his retreat with his two wives, Dewi Winata and Dewi Kadru. Although the wives are siblings, each day they fight resentfully to win bigger attention from their husband. Their hearts grow even bitter when they bear no children yet. One day, a god visits Dewi Winata and leaves an egg into her care. The god advises her to raise whatever creature coming out of the egg as her own child. Upon receiving the egg, Dewi Winata keeps it in a hidden place. Meanwhile, Dewi Kadru also has the same experience. Later when the time is due, the eggs hatch. A chick comes out of Dewi Winata’s egg whereas some snakes hatch out of Dewi Kadru’s. Dewi Winata’s young bird grows into a garuda (a mythical gigantic eagle), later called Garudheya, while Dewi Kadru’s foster children become dragon snake. Although each wife has already been presented with children, the siblings are never on good terms. One day, Dewi Kadru tricks her sister into betting and Dewi Winata loses both the bet and her freedom. She becomes a slave to Dewi Kadru and her children. Learning that his mother leads a miserable life, Garudheya is deeply sad. As soon as he becomes a fully-fledged bird, Garudheya vows to set his mother free at any cost. Finally he finds out that his mother will regain her freedom on condition that he can fetch tirta amerta (water of life). The water can only be found in the abode of gods and goddess, guarded by Vishnu. Through tremendous toil and trouble, Garudheya finally managed to obtain the water. Vishnu, however, grants Garudheya his permission to take the water only after Garudheya gives his word to be Vishnu’s means of transportation.

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