The Temples of Sukuh and Ceto Sukuh and ceto lie on the western slope of Mt. Lawu, at heights of 910 and 1470 metres respectively. In former times they could be approached from the plain by a long flight of steps. These temples are mysterious, partly because of their strange architecture and imagery, and partly because they were built several centuries later than most other central Javanese monuments they date from the 15th century. Sukuh has become well known as Indonesia’s only ‘erotc’ temple. The explicitly sexual and demonic nature of some of the carved statues and reliefs conjures up images of weird magical rites, cannibalism, wild orgies and human sacrifice, ostensibly practiced to ensure the safe deliverance of departed souls. While some of the stories featured in the reliefs are derived from an earlier period in history. Both Sukuh and cetho, in fact, may be the site of much earlier monuments, which underwent alterations in subsequent centuries. Sukuh is built on three levels, or terraces. The main sanctuary is a stepped pyramid with a flat top, about six metres high. The shape is quite unlike any other Javanese temple and is more reminiscent of something which could have been produced by the ancient Aztec or Maya of Central Amerika. Ceto is located still higher up the mountain and, like the temple of sukuh, has s system of terraces. Fourteen have been discovered so far. Reliefs and stone figures include various animals, such as tortoises, frogs, crabs, and a huge bat. There are also symbolic diagrams consisting of circles, triangles and stars. The village where ceto is Located is still predominantly Hindu and a modern. Balinese style temple now occupies a number of Ceto’s original terraces. Sukuh and Ceto are both accessible by road from the town of karangpadan, a few kilometers west of tawangmangu. However, an interesting alternative is to walk across country, passing through pine forest and hillside plantations to Sukuh. Early morning is the best time and the journey takes about three hours. Travelling on foot from Sukuh to Ceto is not so easy and without a guide one is liable to get lost among the tea plantations or disappear in the forest where, incidently, s few tigers are said to still roam. The best time to visit ceto is in the late afternoon, when the low lying sun lights up the plain below. The peaks of Merapi and Merbabu are visible far in the distance.
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