Before it became a predominantly Muslim country sometime between the 13th and 16th centuries, Indonesia had a long and rich Hindu history. The evidence exists in the form of numerous ancient temples spread across the islands that together form the country.
Among those temples is one called Sukuh, also known as Candi Sukuh.
The Candi Sukuh temple. Wikimedia Commons
It was one of the last temples constructed in Indonesia before the country came under the influence of Islam. The temple is significant because of its association with Lord Shiva, Mahabharata and the architecture which resembles that of a Mayan temple.
A relief depicting Arjuna, Ganesha and Bhima. (Left to right.) Wikimedia Commons
Though partially destroyed during the medieval Islamic period of Indonesia, Candi Sukuh continues to be a prominent treasure trove of artefacts dating back to the Hindu times of the island nation.
In recent years, many of those artefacts have been removed from the site and shifted to the National Museum of Indonesia. Prominent among those is a 1.82 meter Shiva Lingam.
The artefacts include an exquisitely beautiful crystal Shiva lingam hidden inside an ancient pot.
An archaeologist measuring the diameter of the cup in which the Crystal Shiva Lingam is encased. Tempo.co
“It’s fascinating that the water stored in the bronze was not dry, although it has been stored for many centuries,” said Deny Wahju Hidajat, Head of the Candi Sukuh Restoration Unit.
The water in the cup was not dry despite it being centuries old. Here a test to see whether the water is acidic is being conducted. Tempo.co
The pot in which the lingam was found is one of the many jars carefully hidden beneath a monument inside the temple premises.
The water in the bronze cup could be perplexing to the scientific mind but to the locals it is elixir, or Amrit. In fact, a story of the Amrit from the Adi Parwa of the Mahabharata can be found inscribed on one of the walls of Candi Sukuh.
An archaeologist holds a glass antique piece in the office of Archaeological Heritage Preservation Hall at Plaosan. Tempo.co
Among other artefacts are jewellery such as bangles. Deny says that the discovery is “one of the biggest from Central Java.”
Other artefacts discovered from the temple complex. Tempo.co
The ancient jars and their contents are currently being stored in the Archaeological Heritage Preservation Hall of Central Java, Prambanan, Klaten.