Mendut Temple

The third in the triad of temples surrounding Borobudur is Mendut Temple. More commonly referred to as Candi Mendut, this Buddhist temple was completed in the ninth century. Mendut, Borobudur and Pawon temples were all built separately from one another but in a perfectly straight line. Historians and archeologists believe that the three Buddhist temples must have been connected in some way, but there is no confirmed explanation for their relationship.

Candi Mendut is the oldest of the Borobudur area temples, and it was commissioned by King Indra of the Sailendra dynasty. While clearly an important landmark in ancient Javanese culture, Mendut temple was yet another abandoned structure discovered by the Dutch in the 19th century. In 1897, reconstruction began, and it was the first of the major temples to be completely restored, serving as an example for the many Javanese temple restorations that would follow over the next century.

Mendut Temple

Unlike some of the other temple complexes, Candi Mendut is a simple temple building. It boasts a square base, and it is decorated with statues as well as relief carvings on the walls. Inside the main temple room, you’ll want to check out the three large statues that depict Dhyani Buddha Vairocana, Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara and Boddhisatva Vajrapani.

Visiting Candi Mendut is a great idea at any time, but there are some unique rituals that you can take part it if you time your visit correctly. During a summer full moon, Buddhists make a trek to Borobudur, and the journey starts en masse at Candi Mendut. You may also hear chanting coming from the nearby Buddhist monastery at sunset, or spot young women praying in front of the bas-relief of Hariti, a god who represents fertility and birth.