Monday, 16 March 2009
Architectural Travel: The Sam Po Kong Temple
In 2001 I went to Semarang, and I've seen the Sam Po Kong Temple, the building known by local people as Gedong Batu. It is because the main temple is located in the cave. Bondan Winarno in his article in Kompas.com said it was mistakenly take from Kedung batu which means that they were cutting the river by building stone walls.
It is not clear yet, which opinion is true as I've read in the Encyclopedia of World Architecture from Henri Stierlin, that between the year 350 to the 7th century there were temples built inside caves in di Gun-huang, Yun-kang, and Lun-meng, all located in China. Those cave temples were inspired by the cave temple architecture from Ajanta, India.
As I'm writing for a citizen journalism website, I feel I can just forwarded my experience with that temple in 2001. It was under a renovation at that time, and I knew a lot of more interesting buildings and decorations were made, especially for celebrating the 600 years of Cheng He first expedition to Java in 2005. I found some stories from wikipedia too, added the story about Cheng He and his expedition. Then I made my own opinion about the eclectic architectural style I found in the temple location. (Perhaps I might need to translate more from my article, and added it here in the future...)
It is interesting to have some readers' comments. Some are about their own experiences, and more new facts about the place, and there is also an intriguing question as to make another extensive research into the history of the temple; how from a mosque it became a temple, and also about the ancestors of Raden Patah...
It would be a great work if there are some people who are interested in architecture and also history, working together through the cyber space in researching more about the old buildings. It would also be better to have more news from small cities in or outside Java. I hope wikimu's project to produce a book on heritage building can be made into a realization. Collaborative work to enrich those uploaded article will be the best output, but we'll see...as time is so precious, so perhaps not everybody is as eager as me to finalized it that way.