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More on Maduwe Karang Temple  

by on Saturday, 28 April 2007No Comment | 4,703 views

Pura Meduwe Karang at Kubutambahan, 12 km from Singaraja, and 108 km from Denpasar is dedicated to the fertility of the and is associated with the dry field (tegalan) and the fruit and vegetable gardens (abian) in the same way as the various temples maintained by the subak associations are linked with the complexes of wet rice fields. It is the temple of all those who cultivate the dry fields whether their crops be coconuts, or fruit, maize, or tobacco, or ground nuts, or coffee, or cotton, or lontar leaves, or palm sugar. The list does not include rice because the soil is unsuitable and the rainfall too low in the coastal areas of east Buleleng for the cultivation of rice in the dry fields.

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The Pura Meduwe Karang consists of three terraces rising one behind another – the outer court (jaba pura), the middle court (jaba tengah), the inner court (jeroan). Two stone stairways lead to outer court, the front of which is decorated with numerous sandstone statues, some thirty-four in all, depicting scenes from Ramayana. The centerpiece is a sculpture showing the giant Kumbhakarna engaged in a violent battle with horde of monkeys from Sugriwa army. Some of the local names for the heroes potrayed correspond to the names found in the Old Javanese epic, which is so well-known in Bali, but other do not occur in any classical literary works.

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The statues are in three parallel rows on successively higher level and the figures represented (apart from those unidentified) are, in sequence from north to south:
Back row:
Rama, Laksmana, Wibisana, Sugriwa, Anggada, Anila, Anoman, Andala, Gowaksa, Gayawa, Mongmuka, Astimuka;
Middle row:
Darimuka, Sempati, Ursaba, Lembumuka, Bimasuka, Menda, Kebomuka, Satomuka (Satobali), Jembawan, Srenggimuka;
Front row:
Singamuka, Rekatamuka, Delem, Patih Prahasta, Twalen, Gawa-gawa, Sarpamuka, Makaramuka, Aswamuka;
Delem and Twalen are two well-known servant figures (punakawan) from the wayang kulit, and are frequently depicted in sculptures.

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To the right of the southern stairway there is a stone offering collum dedicated to the Jero Gede, the guardian of the forecourt and the entrance gateway.

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An imposing split gate (candi bentar) gateway leads to the middle court, which is spacious, open expanse, without any temple buildings or shrine. On a ledge along the wall separating the middle court from the inner court there are several sculptures depicting the scenes of daily life.

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Another split gate gate gives access to the inner court where the gods are located. The number of these abodes is, considering the size of the temple, unexpectedly limited. There are only three shrines, flanked by two piasan and linked by a high and over elaborately ornamented bebaturan, form the abode of the deity. The composite structure of these three shrines consist of a high, uncovered padmasana on each side of which is a gedong, a miniature of stone building with a carved and gilded double door and a roof of duk, resting four wooden pillar.

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The most striking aspect of this temple is not the temple building but the temple carving on the bebaturan, temple building walls and temple walls. The sculptures of the bebaturan depict an episode from Ramayana epic in which patih Prahasta is overwhelmed in a battle, and a festively garbed crowd in the temple on an odalan (temple anniversary).

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On the north wall there is a diverting representation of a cyclist. A flower serves as the back wheel of the bicycle, and the comic effect is heightened by ludicrous gear wheel with teeth curving backwards so that the chain has no grip. The remaining space on the wall filled by a horseman flying through the air on his mount. The southern side of wall is embellished with a carving of Astimuka (elephant face) and it is stated that this figure is identical with Sanghyang Gana (Ganesha), the god with elephant head. Other walls are filled with sculpture depicting everyday life, soft porn, and other curious theme. The ribald theme of the stone carving in this temple is unique since the Balinese in south Bali would not even dreamed to create stone carving with such theme in their temple.

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The temple anniversary falls on the day of the full moon of the month Kaulu (around February). This occasion is celebrated with an alternating sequence of elaborate ceremonies the one year and simpler ceremonies the following year.

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