Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 6 January 2014 • Destination
Our visit to Badut Temple was in June, 2013.
Badut temple is one of the many small temples scattered in Malang regency. As stated in this post, there used to be influential kingdoms centered in Malang, hence the many temples erected there. However, visiting Badut temple only got in our itinerary when the hired driver told us that it’s located along our route from the hotel to Batu, west of Malang city.
The name of Badut temple should ring something funny or scary to Indonesians because it means ‘clown’. But in this case, Badut comes from Sanskrit language, which means “the star of Canopus”. I just looked it up, it’s a real star in the constellation. And the star of Canopus is also known as the star of Agastya, an avatar of the god of Shiva. What is the connection between Canopus and Agastya? And what is the connection between a star and a clown? Well, clowns are the star of a birthday party. But more than that,… it beats me.
Badut Temple is located in Karang Besuki village, neighboring with people’s houses. If you’ve been to Borobudur or Prambanan temples, lowering your expectation might help you appreciate Badut Temple a little bit. It’s a lot smaller, only consisted of one little building – or at least that’s what’s left now – with way less complex reliefs and no statue in sight. Come to think of it, Badut temple is not much different to the many small temples we saw in Bagan, Burma, in the way that it’s located just ‘around the corner’ and not made such big of a deal.
As many other imperial heritage in Indonesia, or around the world in general, there are sadly statues and reliefs stolen from Badut temple. There were supposed to be a yoni and phallus erected – pun intended – inside the temple. But we only saw the yoni, or what’s left of it, and a replacement of the phallus made of some kind of cement.
Badut temple is a Hindu temple and is said to be built in the 8th century, or maybe even older, and was discovered by a Dutch in the colonial era in 1921. Restoration was made a few years after that. A lot of times I can hardly tell which elements are original pieces of the temple and which ones are newly made. Including this bit of the temple’s wall, where the patterns of the rocks don’t seem to match each other. Did the King Gajayana want it that way, or did the team decided it was the best way to restore the temple? This remains a mystery (as I should’ve asked this to the temple’s keeper).
Why not? Especially if you’re going to Malang anyway. And if you’re into history, I think any old temple would be a nice stop. Reading about the temple in advance would help you enjoy your visit more. That’s what we did for our trip to Bagan, and also something we should’ve done before visiting Badut Temple.
We visited Badut Temple on a Sunday afternoon. Diyan and I were the only tourists there. A group of local kids were hanging around the temple, too young to be smoking cigarettes like what they were doing.
Though it was pretty quiet, it’s not deserted, judging from the park around it that’s well maintained. And from the burned incense on a corner of the temple, I take it that people still go there for prayers.
I’m not sure whether there was a guide service, but the temple keeper didn’t offer it. He just made sure we wrote our names in the guest book.
There was no written sign of entrance fee. But being used to paying for entrance to other temples, Diyan asked the keeper how much we should pay. He just said it was up to us. So we gave him about IDR 20,000, with no ticket or whatsoever given to us. Well, you probably know where that money goes to.
Have you been to Badut Temple?
What is your favorite temple so far?