East Java

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The Style of East Java

The East Javanese period starts in the late 10th Century, by which time Hinduism, and its art forms had been present on Java for at least 7 centuries. If during the Central Javanese period there is evidence of builders and designers working under the direction of artisans from the Indian motherland, in East Java, this is less so, and both architecture and ornament evolve to develop a unique style. 

East Javanese temples are distinguished by their slender and tall structures. This style began to develop in the Late Hindu Period in Central Java as represented by Candi Prambanan. Not many have come down to us in a good condition. The temples are typically built of brick, and the height made them vulnerable to earth quakes. Candi Ngetos, Candi Bangkal, Candi Sawentar and Candi Sumberjati are all believe to have had tall roofs. 

Candi of which the roof is still intact include Candi Bajang Ratu, Candi Kidal and Candi Jawi. A second reason why few of the tall towers still exist is that it became common to build the temple superstructure with wood and fiber (ijuk) as is still common on Bali. None of these materials have survived, but we know from temple reliefs that this was a common method of construction in East Java.

East Javanese temples also sport a different lay-out from the Central Javanese ones. Central Java's temples sit centre space on their compound whilst those of East Java sport a less symmetrical ground plan.

Below, the temples are listed according to the period of construction. They are spread around East Java, with Malang, Mojokerto and Blitar being home to the most important sites. The itineraries page shows the temples per area to facilitate planning a visit.  

Temples from the Central Javanese Period

Temples from the Early East Javanese Period: Isana/Dharmawangsa

Temples from the period of Singasari

Temples from the period of Majapahit at Trowulan

Temples from the period of Majapahit outside of the capital