Mendut Temple: Embracing the Majesty of the Giant Buddha Statue’s Throne

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Candi Mendut is a Buddhist-style temple in Mendut Village, Mayor Kusen Street, Mungkid City, Magelang Regency, Central Java. It is situated approximately 3 kilometers from Borobudur Temple.

The construction of the Mendut Temple took place during the reign of King Indra of the Syailendra dynasty.

The Karangtengah inscription, dated 824 AD, mentions that King Indra built a sacred building called “wenwana,” which translates to a bamboo forest. According to Dutch archaeologist J.G. de Casparis, this term is associated with Mendut Temple.

Entrance Fees and Operational Hours

Location: Mayor Kusen Street, Sumberejo Hamlet, Mendut Village, Mungkid Subdistrict, Magelang Regency, Central Java.

Operational hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 07:00 to 17:00 WIB (Closed on Monday).

Ticket prices:

  • Adults: Rp10,500 per person.
  • Children: Rp5,500 per person.
  • Foreign tourists: Rp20,500 per person.

Temple Architecture

The temple is primarily constructed with brick covered in natural stone. It stands on a high basement, giving it an elegant and sturdy appearance.

The entrance staircase faces southwest. Above the basement, there is a surrounding corridor. The three-tiered roof is adorned with small stupas totaling 48. The height of the building is 26.4 meters.

The adornments at Mendut Temple consist of alternating decorations featuring celestial beings like Gandarwa and Apsara, two monkeys, and a garuda.

On both sides of the staircase are reliefs depicting stories from Pancatantra and Jataka.

The temple walls are adorned with reliefs of Bodhisattvas, including Awalokiteśwara, Maitreya, Wajrapāṇi, and Manjuśri. The body of the temple features reliefs of kalpataru, two celestial maidens, Harītī (a repentant yaksha who followed Buddha), and Āţawaka.

Inside the main chamber are three large Buddha statues: Dhyani Buddha Wairocana with the dharmacakramudra hand gesture. In front of the Buddha statue is a relief resembling a wheel flanked by a pair of deer, symbolizing Buddha. On the left, there is the statue of Awalokiteśwara (Padmapāņi), and on the right, the statue of Wajrapāņi.

Read More: Ratu Boko: Grandeur on a Hill Full of Tranquility That Mesmerizes


According to Perpusna’s page, although the exact construction date is uncertain, a Dutch philologist named J.G. de Casparis speculated that Mendut Temple was built by the first king of the Syailendra dynasty in 824 AD.

Casparis based his assumption on the content of the Karangtengah Inscription (824 AD), which mentioned that King Indra had created a sacred building called Wenuwana.

Casparis interpreted the term Wenuwana (bamboo forest) as Mendut Temple. This is why Mendut Temple is estimated to be older than Borobudur Temple.

The temple was rediscovered in 1836, where the entire structure was found, except for its roof. From 1897 to 1904, the Dutch East Indies government conducted the first restoration effort, yielding satisfactory results, although still imperfect.

During this time, the base and body of the temple were successfully reconstructed. In 1908, Van Erp led another reconstruction of Mendut Temple, improving the roof, reinstalling the stupas, and fixing parts of the roof’s angle.

Restoration was briefly halted due to insufficient funds but resumed in 1925.


This square-shaped temple stands at 26.40 meters, perched on a pedestal about 2 meters high. The temp temple’s surface features a broad terrace equipped with steps.

The lower walls of Mendut Temple are adorned with 31 panels showcasing various story reliefs, beautifully carved flowers, and vines.

The staircase leading to the terrace on the west side is embellished with several carved panels depicting BuddBuddha’schings.

At the temple’s inner chamber entrance, there is a display chamber adorned with Kuwera relief on the north wall and Hariti relief on the south wall. The temple’s walls are adorned with reliefs related to the life of Buddha:

Relief 1: Brahmana and the Crab

This relief depicts a painting of an animal story or fable from Pancatantra or Jataka.

Relief 2: Swan and Tortoise

In this relief, you can find a depiction of an animal story or fable known from Pancatantra or Jataka. The full story is presented below. However, the story below has a slightly different version than the painting in this relief.

Relief 3: Dharmabuddhie and Dustabuddhie

This story revolves around two friends who are the sons of merchants. One day, Dharmabuddhi finds money and tells his friend Dustabuddhi about it.

They both hide the money under a tree. Whenever they need money, Dharmabuddhi takes some and shares it fairly. But Dustabuddhi is not satisfied and takes all the remaining money one day.

He then accuses Dharmabuddhi and drags him to court. However, in the end, Dustabuddhi is caught and punished.

Relief 4: Two Different Parrots

This relief illustrates the story of two parrot siblings with different behaviors—one raised by a robber and the other by a priest.


Inside Candi Mendut, there are three Buddha statues.

Sakyamuni is in front of the entrance, depicted delivering a sermon.

On the right, there’s a statue of Bodhisattva Avalokiteswara facing south, representing Buddha as the helper of humanity.

On the left side of the room, there’s a statue of Maitreya facing north, a Bodhisattva who is depicted sitting with a hand gesture known as simhakarnamudra, resembling vitarkamudra but with fingers closed.

All three statues inside Candi Mendut are adorned with a “praha” or”divine aura around their heads.

Read More: Sari Temple: Wisdom of a Monastery Adorned with Bodhisattva Reliefs

Candi Mendut Function

Like Borobudur and Pawon Temples, Mendut Temple is a place of worship for Buddhists in Indonesia and worldwide.

Every year, as the Vesak Tri Suci celebration approaches in 2023 at Borobudur Temple, Mendut Temple becomes a sacred site for the consecration of blessed water from Umbul Jumprit and natural fire from Mrapen.

At Mendut Temple, monks and devotees perform pradaksina, walking clockwise around the temple three times. After the pradaksina, each sangha (Buddhist monastic community) conducts a worship ceremony before the altar.

Moreover, Mendut Temple is a historical tourist destination and a research subject for history experts.

How to Get There?

There are several alternative ways to reach Mendut Temple, depending on the type of transportation used. Whether  motorcycle, private car, train, or plane, here are the routes:

  • From the Magelang direction

Take the route towards Magelang-Yogyakarta Road, 10 kilometers to the Mungkid intersection or the Borobudur Welcome Monument. Turn right onto Mayor Kusen Street and continue for 5.5 kilometers.

Take a slight left, and you’you’llive at Mendut Temple.

  • From Yogyakarta direction

Take the route towards Magelang-Yogyakarta Road and pass by the Jogja Kembali Monument. Follow the road for 26 kilometers from the monument to the Mungkid intersection or the Borobudur Welcome Monument.

Turn left onto Mayor Kusen Street and continue for 5.5 kilometers. Take a slight left, and you’you’llive at Mendut Temple.

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Author: Pramitha Chandra

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