Sukuh temple is located in Berjo Village, Argoyoso district, in the
slope of mount Lawu 35 Km east of Solo at a height about 910 m above sea
level. The temple stretches from the east to the west with the main
gate in the west. Sukuh Temple is decorated with wayang stone carvings
of Hindu origin, the only erotic temple in Java. The stepped pyramid is
like the ones in South America of the Maya culture. The temples are
distinctive compared with other ancient temples in Central Java such as
Borobudur and Prambanan, and its uniqueness lies in the landscaping,
statuettes, and relief. The temples occupy an 11,000m2 area and consist
of three terraces, each connected with an ascending alley. The most
influential part is the last terrace, at the very back of the compound.
At this very sacred area, once erected a homogenous phallic statue,
which is now displayed at the National Museum, Jakarta. Another
interesting and controversial factor of this historical site is the
artistic relief on its floor, which depict male and female organs
symbolizing the birth of life. This kind of construction is common in
prehistoric time, especially in the megalithic era of pundan berundak
(terrace grave). The temple consist of three terraces, the first terrace
is the lowest level, followed by the second and the third above it. The
terrace are connected with stairs to each other, each of it has an
entrance gate. The temple has believed to be constructed in the 15th
century during the declining years of Majapahit Empire. The relief found
beside the first gate are believed had mean (sengkalan) reads Gapura
Buta Aban Wong and Gapura Buta Anahut Bubut, meaning the year of 1359
saka or 1437 AD.
Johnson, the resident of Surakarta, first discovered the temple
in 1815 in a very poor condition during the period of Raffles
government. The first study in 1842 had done under the leadership of Dr.
Van de Vlis, Hoepermans and was studied by Verbeek in 1889, and finally
by Knebel in 1910. _In 1917 there had been an effort to secure and
rescue by the office of prehistoric sites of the Netherlands East Indian
Government. Then in 1989 the restoration was resumed by the Restoration
and Maintenance of Prehistoric and Historic Project in Central Java.
The view surrounding the temple is alluring. The road to this temple
with impressive grandeur is surfaced all the way. The structure and the
mood of Lawu Temple are different from other temples in Java, it is
built like a Maya stepped pyramid, and so it is worth seeing.