|Monday, 14 February 2011|
A contemporary example of the fusion of
historic Hinduism and contemporary Islam
"Candi Pustakasala", "Candi Kimpulan", "Candi UII"… there might be various names for this particular Indonesian discovery, but one thing remains certain: this archaeological find will be remembered as one of the most peculiar and unexpected in recent times.
The initial discovery of Pustakasala (sanskrit for "library") temple happened during the start of construction to build a new four-storey library at Universitas Islam Indonesia (UII). The original foundation columns were to be dug at a depth of three metres, but this was later changed to 3.5 metres, consequently leading to the discovery of the temple underneath. In the beginning, the labourers thought that the findings were just ordinary boulders, but as work continued, stones with elaborate carvings were gradually unearthed.
Upon the discovery of the temple, construction was temporarily halted, and UII allowed a team of classical archaeology experts to conduct further research to explore its restoration potential. This team from the Yogyakarta Institute for Archaeology, included T.M. Rita Istari, Lisa Ekawati, and Heri Priswanto. The UII Rector made a public statement in connection with their preliminary findings:
As a higher education institution that cares for the interests of the nation, UII fully supports efforts to protect cultural artefacts, including a building believed to be a temple in the central library building site of UII. The process of library construction has been temporarily halted to allow a team of archaeologists to conduct further research.
To accommodate the researchers in this task, UII tightened the security around the site to deter the potential looting of statues and artefacts. Such objects included a statue of Ganesha and Linga Yoni; two tell-tale signs that the site is of Hindu heritage. Lord Ganesha is an embodiment of Shiva while the Linga is the personification of the god Shiva in Hindu religious teaching.
Numerous metal fragments and pieces of gold of various sizes were found within the sediment of the main temple, giving the site an approximate date of 9th-10th century AD along with other relic Hindu shrines. Total findings that were recovered are pieces of Padma, two gold coins, 20 silver coins, 12 bowl-shaped items, and various types of metal (gold, silver and bronze) and glass fragments.
After signing with the Ministry of Culture and Tourism of RI, Candi Pustakasala will be transformed into a tourist attraction and historical education site. In a meeting to coordinate the redevelopment, senior architect Ir. Ahmad Saifudin, MT presented a new floor-plan to integrate the temple's existence, complemented by a museum on the Basement Level.
The UII also received compensation amounting to IDR0.9 billion million of the total IDR4 billion for the delay in construction, which finally recommenced at 13.00 on October 18, 2010. This reparation went towards the integration and development of the library and temple site, but above all, it primarily the coordination of a private institution and the Indonesian Government to achieve one of the utmost important goals of archaeology and anthropology: cultural heritage preservation and management.