Java's Ancient Erotic Pyramid
by Michael Holland

all images and text are copyright 2002
by Michael Holland.
Tucked away in the mountains near Solo in central Java is one of the more interesting Hindu temples in all of Southeast Asia. The temple of Candi Sukuh is unique not only in overall design, but also in decoration. This place isn't exactly off the map. Its in all the guidebooks, but is definitely off the tourist trail. From the guest book kept by the gatekeeper, it appears that it only receives a dozen or so visitors a week. Even if you aren't very interested in the ancient structures of Southeast Asia, you may still want to have a look at Candi Sukuh.
In general layout, the temple conforms to the plan of most other Hindu temples. There are three precincts, consisting of three concentric terraces. However, where most temples would have a large square shrine, Candi Sukuh has a pyramid reminiscent of Mayan structures from Central America. This is the only Hindu temple, or Buddhist one for that matter, sporting a pyramid like this and nobody knows for sure why the builders chose this type of structure. Just in front of the pyramid, three large truncated turtles are haphazardly placed. They appear to be for offerings or sacrifices, or perhaps, given the nature of the carvings, go-go dancing.
Ah, the carvings. There aren't as many of them as most temples typically have, but those it does have are quit unique. Candi Sukuh, you see, is what they call a "fertility" temple. That's archaeological gobbledygook for a temple that features a lot of sexual images. In Candi Sukuh's case this label may not be so appropriate. The temple was built around the time of a civil war between the Muslim North and the Hindu South that the Muslims were winning; forcibly converting the Javanese to Islam. Those that didn't want to be converted either fled to Bali or up into the mountains. Since the temple is apparently devoted to the god Bima, the sword maker, it seems more reasonable that the temple represents a sort of "we will win because our dicks are bigger than theirs" military mentality.

Everywhere you look around the temple, images of male members abound. And these aren't abstract phalluses like the Hindu lingam symbol. They're real dicks! Carved into the floor of the entrance gateway is a large penis about to insert itself into a vulva. As you examine the stone panels along the pathway leading to the pyramid, you will notice that most of the male figures are naked from the waist down. Just to the right of the path as you near the pyramid is a stone platform, in front of which is the rather well hung dwarf pictured.

Some figures, like the horny dwarf, appear to be sporting an extra set of balls. In researching this site, I've encountered a few writers who suggested that these figures were really holding clubs or wearing them on a belt, since they had never heard of men with four balls, or balls at the end of their dicks. These cretins obviously aren't as familiar with what Asians like to do to their members as yours truly. If they were, they'd know that it was not an uncommon practice for men to have ceramic or hollow metallic balls inserted into their foreskins, in the belief that this enhanced the pleasure a man gave a woman, and her chances of conceiving. There are some who even practice this to this day. Sorry dears, I can't disclose my sources!

The far side of the platform to the right of the pyramid has a pylon of sorts jutting up vertically. On the far side of the pylon, facing the exit, is perhaps the most curious figure, shown at right. Is the figure's mouth some sort of ancient glory hole? Or perhaps its a measuring device -- "You must be THIS big to please the gods." Maybe it's a magical form of Viagra. The mind boggles at the possibilities.

If time permits, stop in Solo to see the Mangkunegara palace. Our guide from the palace was a rather matronly lady who told us to call her "Fifi." Inside the palace is a huge pendopo pavilion, used mainly for dance performances. Behind the pavilion is the old audience hall, now a museum with a few intriguing items. Among these was a "chastity belt" for men. Yes boys, there really is such a thing, and since it was for a prince, its gold plated! The size was rather small, though. Of course, there was also a belt for the princess. Fifi obviously thought the old Javanese elite were much more fair-minded than their European counterparts of the time. She also introduced us to the prince's herbalist, who of course had things to sell that were "only available in the palace." Among the items on offer were face powders, weight-reduction pills and a powder for making a tea with the same effects as Viagra. "Drink this and after one hour you will be quite strong." Fifi told us.

Candi Sukuh is located on the slopes of Lawu Mountain about 25 miles east of Solo.

-- Michael Holland is a freelance writer and the editor of ChiengFa.com


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