Java Indonesia Pawon Temple

Indonesia Java Pawon TempleThe Pawon is one of three exactly aligned Buddhist Temples, located in Central Java, and each a mile apart. The exact religious relationship between the three is known to exist, but is a long-forgotten mystery.

The Pawon is located exactly central between the Borobudur, one mile north-east, and the Mendut, one mile south-west. There is a strong relationship between the three, all of which were built in the eighth and ninth century, during the Sailendra dynasty.

The original name of the temple is lost in time. The popular adopted name, Pawon, literally means “kitchen” in Javanese. To the local people, it is known as “Bajranalan”, from the name of the village. This name derives from the Sanskrit words “Vajra” (meaning thunder) and “anala” (meaning fire or flame). Perhaps this is a clue to the origins of the temple, or perhaps not. No one is really sure.

“Anala” is also a Buddhist ceremonial tool.

Reliefs of boddhisattvas (beings that compassionately refrain from entering nirvana in order to save others) and taras (female deities representing enlightened activity and fearlessness) are carved into the outer wall. There are also reliefs of the kalpataru (tree of life), flanked by Kinnara-Kinnari (celestial musicians, half human and half bird).

Indonesia Jave Pawon MapThe square chamber inside is empty, in contrast to the Mendut, which has statues inside.

The Vesak annual ritual is observed by Indonesian Buddhists during the full moon in May or June, by walking from Mendut, passing through Pawon, and ending at Borobudur.

I visited the Pawon, the Borobudur and the Mendut on my first trip outside Australia in 1977, flying Garuda Airlines. The mystery of these three temples has always amazed me, just as the mysteries surrounding many ancient monuments continues to astound people throughout the world. October 23rd 2008

Categories: Travel - World


1 reply


  1. Borobudur Temple In Indonesia « Craig Hill

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