Candi Sukuh is located on the slopes of Mt. Lawu in Central Java, about an hour by motor vehicle
from Solo. It was built in about 1437, at which time this area of Java was on the outskirts of the
Kingdom of Majapahit.
Strictly speaking, a candi is not a temple as the word and concept is understood in Western culture.
In Java & Bali the candi is a place where you go to meditate, pray and make offerings to your
ancestors, to the Gods, and to the spirits.
Candi Sukuh is a Javanese-Hindu temple which is somewhat of a mystery to academics, but which
seems to pose no mystery at all to the Javanese people who live in the area today, to them it is a
holy place that they go to, to meditate and to pray for fertility for themselves, for their livestock
and for their crops. In ancient times it was reached by walking up a very long staircase that began
at the foot of Mt. Lawu.
The dominant academic speculation is that in ancient times it was a sanctuary that was concerned
with the supply of holy water (tirtha or amerta), and with the re-birth of souls, and much of the
statuary and relief carving is interpreted in this way. However, there are a number of academic
theories that relate to Candi Sukuh.
It is a very unique Candi in that the style of art is what is known as "wayang style" which owes
more to the indigenous art forms of Java than it does to the classical traditions inherited from
India. The central building is quite unique in design and resembles a Mayan stepped pyramid. It
has been speculated that this central building was the base for a meru, the meru itself representing
Mt Meru, the dwelling place of the gods and the ancestors.
The photographs presented here are not intended to attempt to explain anything about Candi
Sukuh, merely to try to present an accurate picture of what can be seen at this holy place during a
A non-typical representation of a lingga-yoni under
the entry arch to Candi Sukuh. The lingga : yoni
symbolism represents the indivisible nature of
male and female principles inherent in all creation.