Central Java

Dieng Plateu

Love Engine | Sunday, 18 January 2015 - 14:04:52 WIB | be read: 4451 reader

The lofty plateau of Dieng (2093m above sealevel) is home to some of the oldest Hindu temples in Java. Its name comes from Di-Hyang (Abode of the Gods), and it’s thought that this was once the site of a flourishing temple-city of priests. More than 400 temples, most of which were built between the 8tht and 9th centuries, covered the highland plain, but with the mysterious depopulation of Central Java, this site, like Borobudur, was abandoned and forgotten. It was not until 1856 that the archaeologist Van Kinsbergen drained the flooded valley around the temples and catalogued the ruins. The eight remaining temples are characteristic of early Central Javanese architecture – stark and quite squat.
These simple temples, while of great archaeological importance, are not stunning. Rather, Dieng’s beautiful landscape is the main reason to make the long journey to this isolated region. Any number of walks across the volcanically active plateau, the marshy caldera of a collapsed volcano, are possible – to mineral lakes, steaming craters or even the highest village in Java, Sembungan.
You can either stay in Dieng village, or commute up from Wonosobo, which has better facilities. The route up to Dieng is stunning, climbing through vertiginous hillsides of terraced fields planted with potatoes, spring onions and asparagus (all judiciously sprayed with pesticides). Vegetables have replaced pine forests, leaving little to bind the top soil together; inevitably, landslides are common in the rainy season.
The temples and the main ‘natural’ sights can be seen in one day on foot – arrive in Dieng in the morning, before the afternoon mists roll in. It’s a pleasant three- or fourhour loop south from Dieng village to Telaga Warna (Coloured Lake), Candi Bima (Bima Temple), Kawah Sikidang (Sikidang Crater), and then back to Candi Gatutkaca, the Arjuna Complex and the village. Many other lakes and craters around Dieng are scattered over a large area and are difficult to reach.

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