Sukuh Temple, Compared to Borobudur or Prambanan, Java’s famous Buddhism and Hindu icons, Candi Sukuh (Sukuh temple), discovered by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1815, is not that legendary, yet it deserves a visit due because of its antiquated and unique characteristics. Located in Sukuh village, around 35 kilometers east of Surakarta, Central Java, the Javanese-Hindu temple is perched at around 910 meters above sea level on the western slopes of Mount Lawu.

To get to the temple, one can simply head to Tawangmangu, a famous tourist destination on the slopes of Mt. Lawu. This is not hard to find thanks to bold road signs. Just be cautious of the precipitous ascent to the temple. You should make sure your vehicle is in good shape, because the road climbs a 45 degree incline!

Sukuh temple has three concentric terraces, connected by ascending alleys. The main temple is situated at the last terrace. Unlike Hindu or Buddhist temples which have square shrines, Candi Sukuh’s main structure has trapezium shape, resembling those made by the Mayan civilization in Central America.

On the entrance to the main structure there was once a huge phallus figure [around 1.85 meters high] – now on display at the National Museum in Jakarta – adorned with four testicles just below the tip of the penis; reliefs of a kris (traditional dagger or sword, believed to have mystical powers) blade, the sun and moon; and an inscription indicating the date 1440, explained Slamet, a local guide explained.

One striking feature of Sukuh is that many of its figures, both animal and human, are depicted with bold genitals, such as shown by a man holding his penis.

A relief of a lingam (phallus) and yoni (vulva) at the entrance clearly depicts sexuality, yet it cannot be considered pornography, since Sukuh Temple’s reliefs and statues symbolize the birth of life and spiritual liberation. Local people believe this point is sacred too, offering flowers to this artifact. In fact, there is a myth that says this relief can test a girl’s virginity. If a girl walks over the relief and the kain* she is wearing is torn apart, then she is no longer a virgin.

Cetho Temple. From the earlier temple, it was a winding road down and then ascending up another steep mountain, in fact this was even steeper than the earlier road. This stretch of road was very scenic as there were waterfalls all along the way and mostly it was tea plantations. Everywhere you see, it was green with tea hedges. At 1400 meters above sea level, stands this beautiful temple called Cetho Temple, built in the 13th Century by the Majapahit Kingdom which was then under the Brawijaya V reign.
It was a steep walk up a small cliff heading to the temple, but this was only for a very short distance. And above that, it was quite similar to the earlier temple, only much bigger. Here there were platforms and then a small flight of steps and then a flat terrain with the lingga yoni which spreads over 2 meters length. Here there is also the emblem of the sun which is the symbol of the Majapahit empire. On the whole, there are 14 terraces before one reach the main shrine at the top.Once we passed the first terrace, there was a statue of the King Brawijaya and his wife. Further up on the second terrace, there is a statue of a guardian deity. On the higher platforms, there are small shrines built to other guardian deities and also that of a Lingga or phallus.
This is a Lord Shiva temple but at the top, what you find is that the main shrine looks similar to that of the Sukuh temple, being like a pyramid in shape without any deities. The main deity is the lingga yoni formation which we saw at the third platform where rituals are performed. This entire mountain range is filled with villages and all the villagers there are Hindus. There is also a great influence of Balinese architecture on the entrance doors which are a replica of that commonly found in Balinese temples. In fact, all the houses at this villages also had the similar architecture of entrance. One has to be there in order to experience the serene atmosphere at this temple coupled by the wonderful mountain surroundings and the cool foggy weather

  • Tour Package : Sukuh Temple – Cetho Temple
  • Remark : Leave From Jogja at 07.30 AM after breakfast. 3 hours trip go to Sukuh 15 minutes to Cetho and back to Jogja. Spent 2 hours tour in each place.
  • Hours of trip : 12 Price all in : IDR 300.000/person (In Group) OR Private Car (Driver+Petrol Included) only IDR 800.000/car (Maximum 5 persons)
  • Most of tour minimum 3 persons.


Insurance, Parking Fees.
Possible to take pictures on the way.

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