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Gunung Kawi Rock Cut Temple

Gunung Kawi is located near Tampak Siring village, around 5 km from well known Tirta Empul Temple. The location is 35 km from Denpasar, city, 50 km from Kuta, and 68 km from Nusa Dua.

Gunung Kawi is a Hindu Temple complex with old omission from the stone era located in Gianyar regency. Based on the inscription of Tengkulak A on 945 saka (Balinese calendar) which is released by Marakata King, the ancient omission complex is located at the Pekerisan River then it is called Katyangan Amarawati. Pekerisan River is also named by Jalu which is according to the inscription chiseled on the above of the biggest temple door sound ‘Haji Lumahing Jalu'. The name of Gunung Kawi is the name given on the omission which is related to the complex of temples because the temple on this area is like the symbol from the mount. There are 3 temples which so called the name as Gunung Kawi in Bali those are Gunung Kawi in Sebatu countryside, Gunung Kawi Temple in Keliki countryside and Gunung Kawi Temple in Babitra countryside. The ancient omission complex of Gunung Kawi is founded on 10 century. It is founded in the era of Udayana about 989 M. At the period of Marakata governance on 1023, the omission which is called Katyagan Amarawati is developed and continued by the governance of Anak Wungsu which is guess lead between the years of 1049 - 1077 M.

gunung kawi temple at tampak siring bali

Gunung Kawi Historical Monument, if we see from the name we know today, it might be the possibility of translation of Kawi as poet, so gunung Kawi can be meant the mountain of poet. The river that forms the ravine which slope is cut for the temple is Pakerisan river, kris means Balinese long blade or knife. What is actually referred by the name is not clear until now. The people today consider this complex as part of a temple which was constructed much later time. See from the history it is not part of a temple in the meaning of worshipping the Hindu God, but having the relation with personal deification of a king. The whole complex consist of 5 smaller complexes, and including the temple are 6 complexes. Two complexes at the east slope of the river and 3 complexes are on the west slope. Two complexes facing each other separated by the river are identified as belong to the king and his Queen or concubines. The complex for the king consist of 3 rock cut candis and the complex for the Queen consist of 4 rock cut candis. It is hard to understand that only the candi for the king made in 3. It might be the king was with his 2 principal consorts, and the 4 candis across the river were only for his other concubines. At the door of the candi for the king is mentioned in a inscription of the king died at Jalu. Jalu can mean kris or taji, a sharp small blade armed for the cock fighting. Who was the king monumentalized here? is un-answered question until now, except based on highly decorative writing of inscription called "Quadrangular Kadiri writing style" The influence of Kadiri kingdom to Bali was only arrived around 1227 AD under the king Kertanegara. While the date carved at the stone sculpture on Mount Panulisan with the same style mentioned the dates 1011 AD, 1074 AD, and 1077 AD. While the period between 989 AD to 1001 AD was the rule of king Udayana Warmadewa with his Queen Mahendradatta. In their charters it is mentioned that king Udayana was deified at "Banyu Wka", and his Queen Mahendradatta was deified at Buruan which is already identified, and only Banyu Wka is not identifiable until today, and archaeologists supposed that Banyu Wka is Gunung Kawi, as Banyu means water, and Wka means clear or clean, so he must have been deified at a river with very clean water, yet an ancient monument just renovated is Pura Mangening which also refers the name of ening or clear. The problem is the complex of the temple is not big, only one stone shrines with small zone. If we compared with his Queen monument in Buruan it makes sense that the king would not need big complex to commemorate himself. So who was monumentalized at Gunung Kawi? Some archaeologists believed that was the son of Udayana, either king Marakata Pangkajasthana or Anak Wungsu.

rock temple at gunung kawi temple
rock temple at gunung kawi temple

The rule of Marakata is not known much and there is not many record about his government. Different from Anak Wungsu who issued many inscriptions and he was a diligent king in making every records which lead an idea that he was a great king just like his father king Udayana. With the length of time of ruling that was from 1049 AD to 1077 AD can be a proof that during his rule the condition of the society was good, and it was not impossible he was respected by their whole people. As the fact of many great king in Indonesia that commemoration with candi or sculpture was a normal way the people to honor their king who was able to bring the welfare for the society. In this case writer wish to believe that Gunung Kawi has been dedicated for the great name of king Anak Wungsu

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