Muara Takus Temple Complex: The Largest Stupa on The Bank of The Kampar Kanan River

Photo Source: Tripadvisor - Muara Takus Temple is the largest building on the island of Sumatra in the form of a stupa. The stupa complex is surrounded by a wall.

The Muara Takus Temple Complex is located in Muara Takus Village, District XIII Koto Kampar, Kampar Regency, Riau Province, Indonesia.

Within the Muara Takus Temple Complex, four temples are found, namely the Mahligai Stupa, the Youngest Stupa, the Old Stupa and the Palangka Stupa.

Muara Takus Stupa, as reported by the Ministry of Education and Culture (Kemdikbud), is a sacred Buddhist building.

Some argue that the building is a relic of Buddhism that came from India, because its shape is similar to the Aśoka Temple in India.

Discoveries and research were carried out on the Muara Takus Temple. In 1860, the Muara Takus Temple Complex was rediscovered by Cornets de Groot.

His publication caught the attention of van Beest Holle, who gave a description of Muara Takus, and Schnitger described the surroundings of Muara Takus and its stupa complex.

Groeneveldt conducted research in 1880. His research was continued by Verbeek and van Delden. It was the two experts who found the fence around the temple complex.

Ijzerman in 1889, visited and did a description, measurements of the stupa building at Muara Takus. The results show that the Muara Takus Temple Complex is surrounded by a stone fence.

In 1935, Schnitger conducted research at the Muara Takus Stupa Complex. He carried out excavations in the ruins of the gate, Building 1, Building 2, and the Old Stupa.

Among the ruins of the Youngest Stupa, a brick shaped like a lotus flower was found. Inside are ashes and a gold plate with a triśula image and Nāgari script written on it.

Schnitger first reported the existence of an earthen dike in 1935, but did not say how long the dike was.

Perhaps, at that time the forest was so dense that it was difficult to measure the length of the embankment.

It was only in 1973 that the length of the embankment was discovered by the collaborative team of LPPN and the University of Pennsylvania Museum.

With the help of aerial photographs, research by the Ditlinbinjarah team with Bakosurtanal and the Geography Faculty of Gajah Mada University managed to find out the detailed dimensions of the earth embankment.

The earth embankment is 4.19 km long and about 0.50 meters to 6.00 meters high. The earth embankment at Muara Takus is along the northeast side (longitudinal to the southeast-northwest).

Along the south side (longitudinal west to east) the Kampar Kanan (Right) River meanders. The embankment follows the banks of the Kampar Kanan River.

The earth embankment stretches in a northwest-southeast direction for 510 meters on the northeast side. On the southeastern side of the earth embankment extending southwest-northeast for more than 510 meters.

Outside the earth embankment there is a kind of ditch surrounding the embankment. Ditches and embankments of this kind are common in earthen forts in Sumatra. Trench size 10-20 meters, two meters deep.

The Muara Takus Temple Complex is surrounded by a wall measuring 74 x 74 meters on the southwest side of the earthen embankment and the northeastern side of the Kampar Kanan River. The perimeter wall is entirely of brick.

Although most of the temple buildings consist of bricks, the building materials for the temples are also made of sandstone and river stone.

According to Disparbud.kamparkab, the main building in this complex is a large, tower-shaped stupa made mostly of brick and a small portion of yellow sandstone.

In the Muara Takus Temple site, besides the temple buildings called Old Temple, Youngest Temple, Mahligai Stupa and Palangka, a mound was also found which was thought to be a place for burning human bones.

While outside the site there are also (former) buildings made of bricks, the type of buildings which cannot be ascertained.

Mahligai Temple – Mahligai Temple or Mahligai Stupa, is the temple building that is considered the most intact. This building is divided into three parts, namely the legs, body and roof.

This stupa has a rectangular foundation and measures 9.44 meters x 10.6 meters, and has 28 sides surrounding the base of the temple with the entrance on the south side.

In the past, there was a rock at the top of the tower with oval leaf paintings and reliefs around it.

This building allegedly underwent two stages of development. This conjecture is based on the fact that inside the foot of the current building there is a profile of the old foot before the building was enlarged.

Old Temple - Old Temple or Sulung Temple is the largest building among other buildings on the Muara Takus Temple site.

This building is divided into three parts, namely the legs, body and roof. The legs are divided in two.

The size of the foot of the first Old Temple is 2.37 meters high, while the second has a height of 1.98 meters.

The entrance stairs are on the West and East sides which are decorated with lion statues. The width of each ladder is 3.08 meters and 4 meters.

Judging from the rest of the building, the base has a circular shape with a diameter of about 7 meters and a height of 2.50 meters.

The size of the foundation of this temple building is 31.65 meters x 20.20 meters. The foundation of the temple has 36 sides that surround the base. The top of this building is a roundabout.

There is no empty space at all on the inside of the Eldest Temple. The building is made of bricks with the addition of sandstone.

Sandstone was only used to make the corners of the building, pilasters and seams that border the lower framing of the temple's foot and the body of the foot and the boundaries of the body of the foot and the upper frame of the foot.

Based on research in 1983 it is known that this temple has undergone at least two stages of development.

An indication of this can be seen from the existence of a building profile which is covered by another wall with a different profile shape.

Youngest Temple – Youngest Temple is not much different from the Eldest Temple. It's just that at the top is rectangular.

Youngest Temple stands to the west of Mahligai Temple with a size of 13.20 x 16.20 meters.

To the east there are small stupas and there is a staircase made of white stone.

The foundation section of the building has 20 sides, with a plane at the top. In that field there is a lotus.

In the soil, three pieces of gold were found and another piece was found at the bottom of the hole, which was etched with pictures of the tricula and three Nagari letters.

At the bottom of the hole, a square piece of stone was found which, on the underside, was etched with a tricula and nine letters.

The building is divided into two parts according to the type of materials used. More or less the northern half of the building is made of sandstone, while the southern half of the building is made of brick.

The boundary between the two parts follows the shape of the building profile which is made of sandstone.

This shows that the part of the building made of sandstone has been completed and then the part of the building made of brick has been added.

Palangka Temple – This temple building is located on the east side of the Mahligai Stupa with a temple body size of 5.10 meters x 5.7 meters and a height of about two meters.

Palangka Temple is made of bricks, and has an entrance facing north. (*)

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