Mahakala statue discovered in Boyolali

Officers from the Cultural Heritage Preservation Center (BPCB) discovered on Thursday a Mahakala statue and the foundation of a building at a temple excavation site in Gunung Wijil, Giriroto village, Ngemplak district, Boyolali, Central Java.

The statue, suspected to be a relic of the Hindu Shiva era of the 9th century, was found just 30 centimeters under the ground’s surface. The discovery is not far from the location where a Nandeswara statue was discovered at the end of March.

“We suspect that the building is a temple,” Muhammad Junawan, the head of the center’s excavation team, said.  

The statue has been taken to the BPCB headquarters in Prambanan, Central Java, for further examination.

Junawan said a thorough investigation of the statue would be conducted only after the BPCB had completed its excavation of the site. He said the concrete brick-made foundation and the Mahakala statue indicated that the building was an archaeological remnant of the ancient Hindu Mataram era of the 9th century. In Hindu Shiva culture, Mahakala was the protector of a temple gate.  

“Currently, the excavation process has reached the temple’s leg, which is 25 square meters in width, and 1.5 meters in height. It is likely there are two temples at the site. The first temple is the main temple and the other one is a companion temple. They stand face to face,” said Jumawan.

Jumawan said Boyolali was an area that may contain many ancient objects from the Hindu period. It was probable that the latest discovery in Ngemplak was related to previous discoveries in several areas across Boyolali.

“What I can tell you is that the use of concrete bricks as the main structure of temple buildings was common in the era after Mataram civilization moved to East Java,” said Jumawan.

A Ngemplak resident, Tego Dwi Widadi, said the temple site was found on land set to be used as a residential complex.

Apart from the Mahakala statue and the concrete brick-made foundation, several other archaeological objects have been found at the location, including a large stone with the shape of an animal followed by Hindus.

“We support the BPCB’s move to excavate this site. I hope this can bring benefit to the local people living in the area around the site,” said Tego (ebf)