Candi Singosari

East Java

Situated right in the village of Singosari, 12km north of Malang, this temple stands 500m off the main Malang–Surabaya road. One of the last monuments erected to the Singosari dynasty, it was built in 1304 in honour of King Kertanegara, the fifth and last Singosari king, who died in 1292 in a palace uprising.

The main structure of the temple was completed, but for some reason the sculptors never finished their task. Only the top part has any ornamentation and the kala heads have been left strangely stark. Of the statues that once inhabited the temple’s chambers, only the statue of Agastya (the Shivaite teacher who, legend has it, walked across the water to Java) remains. The statues of Durga and Ganesha that were in the temple are now exhibited in the National Museum in Jakarta. As a result, it lacks the atmosphere of some of the other temples in the area, but locals do still visit to meditate and leave offerings, which is interesting to see.

About 200m beyond the temple are two enormous figures of dwarapala (guardians against evil spirits) wearing clusters of skulls and twisted serpents.

To reach Singosari, take an angkot (6000Rp) from Malang’s Arjosari bus terminal and get off at the Singosari market on the highway.