Kimpulan Temple: Exploring the Intricacies at UII University

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Kimpulan Temple, also known as Pustakasala Temple, was discovered on the campus grounds of the Islamic University of Indonesia (UII) in Yogyakarta.

The name “Kimpulan” comes from where the temple was found, namely Kimpulan Hamlet, Kaliurang Road, 14.5 km Umbulmartani, Ngemplak Subdistrict, Sleman Regency.

Based on the discovered statues, this temple is identified as a Hindu religious site believed to have been established in the 9th century.

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This temple was stumbled upon on December 11, 2009, during excavation work for the UII library construction project. It was buried approximately five meters below the ground.

Like Sambisari Temple, Morangan Temple, and Kedulan Temple, it’s believed that this temple was buried around the same time due to the eruption of Mount Merapi nearby, which occurred about a thousand years ago.

The discovery of this temple recently marks one of the most intriguing archaeological finds in Yogyakarta, sparking speculation about the possibility of other temples still buried beneath the volcanic ash and lava of Mount Merapi.

Read More: Sambisari Temple: 21 Years of Crafting the Beauty of the ‘Giant Stone Puzzle’

It used to be Known as UII Temple.

When it was first discovered, people widely knew this temple as UII Temple (Universitas Islam Indonesia Temple) because it was found on the UII campus premises.

However, the Yogyakarta Archaeological Heritage Preservation Office (BP3) named it Kimpulan Temple based on the local village’s name.

Still, the UII Wakaf Foundation proposed another name, Pustakasala, which means “library” in Sanskrit. The intention behind this naming was to emphasize the temple’s discovery history at the originally intended library construction site.

The name also reflects the educational atmosphere of the university, especially with the discovery of the Ganesha statue on the site, known as the deity of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom.

Further research and archaeological excavations by BP3 Yogyakarta revealed that this temple is distinctly Hindu-Shivaistic.

Based on the carving style and statues indicate that the temple was built in the 9th to 10th centuries during the Ancient Mataram Kingdom.

According to Bernard H.M. Vlekke’s book “Nusantara,” it can be used as a reference for the rulers of Java. Many versions relate to the history of the Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in Java and the lineage of the Shailendra and Sanjaya Dynasties.

According to the book, in the 9th century, there was a kingdom in the southern part of Central Java called Medang Kahuripan, or Ancient Mataram. Around the 9th century, the ruling king came from the Sanjaya Dynasty.

Regarding its historical details, there hasn’t been in-depth research on this temple yet. There are two speculations about the temple: either it was left unfinished or constructed by the lower-middle-class community, making its appearance very simple.

Read More: Ijo Temple: The Unique Highest Temple in Yogyakarta


This temple was accidentally discovered on December 11, 2009, during excavations for the foundation of the UII library construction project.

It was buried about five meters below the ground due to sediment deposits believed to be from the eruption of Mount Merapi about a thousand years ago. Despite that, the temple structure was found to be in good condition.

Initially called the UII Temple upon discovery, it was later renamed Kimpulan Temple by UII because of its location on the campus. However, the UII Wakaf Foundation gave it another name, Pustakalasa, which means “library” in Sanskrit.

The name was chosen as the temple was originally supposed to be the site for a library. Additionally, the presence of the Ganesha statue, known as the deity of knowledge, intellect, and wisdom, made this name more relevant.

Further research by the Yogyakarta Archaeological Heritage Preservation Office (BP3) revealed that the temple has a Hindu Siwastik nature. The carving style and statues indicate that the temple was built in the 9th to 10th centuries during the Ancient Mataram Kingdom.

There are two possibilities for why the temple was built. First, it could be an unfinished construction project, and second, it might have been built by the local community residing in a village on the outskirts of the kingdom’s capital.

Read More: Kalasan Temple: Unveiling the Oldest Buddhist Heritage in Yogyakarta

Kimpulan Temple Architecture

Candi Kimpulan lies 2.7 meters beneath the ground, buried by volcanic material from the eruption of Mount Merapi. This eruption played a role in the kingdom’s relocation to the eastern part of Java.

A glass box displays the soil stratigraphy that once covered the temple, consisting of 19 layers resulting from the Mount Merapi eruption.

The temple’s structure and roof are believed to be made of organic materials like bamboo or wood, which was supported by the discovery of ‘umpak’ structures resembling the pillars in traditional Javanese houses.

While distinctly Hindu-Shivaistic, the temple’s architecture is unconventional compared to the typical style in the region. Unlike other Central Javanese temples, no stone structures make up the body and roof of this temple.

It is small with simple carvings, featuring several rectangular layers enclosed by a temple platform, adorned with stairs and entrance gaps decorated with Kala-carved antefixes. Inside, there are statues of Ganesha, Nandi, and Lingga-Yoni.

Experts suggest that the architectural style and history of this temple are simple. The body, pillars, and roof were likely constructed from wood or other organic materials that decayed over time without leaving traces.

The original form of this temple might have resembled the Hindu temples in Bali, with towering meru roofs made of wood, sirap, or ijuk.

Unlike the grand and intricately carved Prambanan temples of the royal court, Candi Pustakasala might be a simple village temple built by the local community on the outskirts of the royal capital.

The Museum and Artifacts

Candi Kimpulan Museum is housed within the UII library building. Various artifacts from the Candi Kimpulan excavations are preserved in this museum. These artifacts include kotak pripih, which contains gold and silver sheets.

Operational Hours

Candi Kimpulan is open to the public, and there is no entrance fee – it’s free for everyone.

Visiting hours are from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM WIB every day. Visitors must fill out a visitor form and be guided by UII campus staff to explore the museum and Candi Kimpulan.

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Author: Pramitha Chandra

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