Pawon Temple

This small temple is about 1.75 km (a mile) east of Borobudur and is similar in design and decoration to the nearby Mendu temple. Just like Borodubur and Mendu, the Pawon temple was built in the ninth century during the Sailendra dynasty. Pawon is in the middle of the other two temples, and many religious scholars believe that visitors should first see Mendut, follow up with Pawon and then end with the sizable Borobudur. Whatever order you decide on, make sure you don’t miss the beauty and history of Candi Pawon.

Pawon temple

Pawon is another solitary temple, rather than a collection of buildings, and it stands on a simple square base. To reach the base, there is a small staircase, and each of the walls is decorated with carved Kala-Makara designs. The roof of Candi Pawon is ornate, boasting five stupas as well as four taras. While the exterior is very decorative, the interior offers a stark contrast. There are no big statues inside the temple, but there is a small basin built right into the floor. The windows are designed for simple ventilation, not views, and it is considered by many to be a place of solitude or meditation. Other theories include the belief that Pawon was somehow used for cooking or even incineration, since the ventilation and basin would have made it suitable for fires.

If you’re interested in visiting Pawon, you can buy tickets that offer entry to both Candi Pawon and Candi Mendut. Unfortunately, there are no guided tours that you can sign up for after arriving at Pawon, but there are larger groups that visit all three area temples and offer maps, audio recordings in English and even docent-led tours throughout the Buddhist structures.