Candis and Sites around Trowulan

high-definition creative commons photographs from the ancient capital of Majapahit, the last Hindu-Buddhist kingdom in Java together with further information.


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Trowulan (Wilwatikta), the Capital of the Majapahit Kingdom

The area now known as Trowulan is the site of the capital of the Majapahit Kingdom (13th-15th centuries), at which time it was known as Wilwatikta. The area contains many candis, archeological sites, and a museum, all of which are represented here; and also tombs and memorials, which I feature in a separate album.

One of the most important historical sources for the kingdom is the Nagarakretagama, a 14th century Old Javanese poem, which glorified the then King, Hayam Wuruk, and describes the royal and religious life of the capital and its king. A lot of what we know about the kingdom comes from decriptions contained in this poem.

Candi Brahu

The architectural features would seem to suggest that Candi Brahu was once a Buddhist temple, though there is no statuary or relief work to confirm it. It is probably the work of the 14th or 15th century, and is one of only a few temples in Trowulan still standing.

The temple faces west, and the base is around 22x18m and is approx. 20m tall. A noticeable feature of the building is its waist-like curvature in the body of the structure. Like many of the candis it is situated in a very well-kept garden, and is one of the sites visited by children learning about the history of this ancient East Javan kingdom.



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Candi Bajang Ratu

This is a very well preserved gateway to the south-east of the ancient city. It is sometimes referred to as a temple, but this is evidently incorrect. Exactly what the gate might have led into is not clear, though it has been suggested that it may have been a palace gate. It is protected with kala reliefs, and there is some rather fine brick decoration. The stairway itself is made of stone, not brick. It is around 16m high, and around 6m sq.

Candi Wingin Lawang

This is another gateway that has been preserved from the ancient city. It differs from Candi Bajang Ratu in having no roof over the stairway, which probably indicates that it was an outer gate, rather than an inner one. The building stands at around 15m tall, and is 13x11m at the base. There are no reliefs found on this building, though there are niches marked out, which might have been intended for such.

Candi Tikus

This appears to have been a cermonial bathing place, having a tank, with what seems to have been a temple set inside. It is believed to have been built around the 13th-14th centuries. There is a staircase leading down to the tank on the northern side of the structure. The outer walls are around 28m sqare, and the main temple-like building is approx 7m sq. Although this is mainly a brick-built structure, it does have some stome work as decoration. The main tower in the temple is incomplete and reaches only to 2m at present. It is surrounded by eight other and smaller towers.

Museum Mojopahit

The museum was closed on the days we visited and so I have no photographs of the extensive collection inside the building. Numerous artefacts are kept outside the building, including inscriptions, reliefs and statues in various conditions, the provenance of most is not properly identified.

Archeaological Sites around Trowulan

There are numerous archaeological sites around the ancient capital, which normally consist of covered areas, with excavtions areas inside. Two of the sites we visited are pictured below, including some fairly extensive remains. Other sites were less notable.


Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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