After being “crowded” out in Borobudur, we left the temple complex at around 8:00 AM and headed eastward to Wonosobo to get to the Dieng Plateau to discover for ourselves the OLDEST Hindu temple in Java which is still standing to this day. Dieng’s name is derived from the Sanskrit language, “di” means “the place” and “hyang” means “Gods”. It can be defined as a place of the Gods. Some would say that Dieng was derived from the word “edi” which means beautiful in the Java language, and “aeng” meaning strange. In other words Dieng is a beautiful place with a lot of oddities. Well, indeed it was a beautiful (and cold!) place – without the hordes of tourists.
The leisurely three-hour drive from Yogyakarta to Wosonobo and then to Dieng Plateau was pleasant – verdant fields on the left and on the right side, planted mainly with potato and rice. We also saw Mount Sikunir – not as popular as Merapi, but equally magnificent.
Located at an altitude of 2000 meters above sea level, the people of Dieng is blessed with abundance of wealth from the land they till – Dieng is the main source of vegetables and potato in the island of Java. It is a beautiful and exotic land made famous by the Candi Arjuna (Arjuna Temple) Complex which is the oldest existing Hindu temple in Java today. Although some parts of the temple began to wear out with age, the worship of Shiva temple, built in 809 AD, still goes on - exuding the calm feeling in the midst of the natural silence of the surrounding green-covered mountains.
We were not warned by our guide, Wishnu, how cold the climate is in Dieng. Temperatures during the day ranged between 15-20 degrees Celsius while at night, between 5-10 degrees Celsius. But were arrived there at around 11:00 am and the sun afforded some warmth for us. Soon we were hungry! The Gods must be smiling on us that day - we found this man selling some native coconut-tapioca delicacy – we ordered some and finished it off. What a yummy treat. I forgot what it’s called. But it was enough to keep our stomachs at bay …
Visually satisfied, and now with a BIG appetite for a really good lunch … we leave this sacred ancient place to find a good local restaurant to sample the delicious food of Wonosobo.
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