Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

What if my blog is a quest? What am I searching, and what for?

I start to realize that each one of my blog post is actually a step in a quest. As my blog’s name, “Seeking Traces” in English, I do search about things that people often left in a journey, in terms of history. And as my blog progresses, it happened that I find more traces about myself and my surroundings, rather than just collecting stories and mementos. Maybe this blog, for now, has made me embarked a quest in finding myself. At the same time, every story that I’ve heard, is a trace in one (or many) big quest(s).

For now, I focus on the history of Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms in Indonesia. A lot of scholars and bloggers have discussed on this matter, have produced so many writings that I once believed nothing new will happen if I write on the same stuff, too, but I just want to look deeper. By visiting the places where the past happened, listening to stories, myths by the locals,  starting to research one step at a time, and writing all I knew, I think I’ve found something: links.

There are so many links that connects every kingdom, everywhere in Indonesia. Not only in Indonesia, but also in India and other countries in Southeast Asia. Oh, how we are sure that we’re related just by visiting one historical place!

As I visit more and more places, I’m starting to sure that I’ll find more links. And eventually, all of this places, kingdoms, and societies will connect by a red thread. When everything connects, if someone wants to look one place history, the story about that place will connect it to other places, to other countries. One should not stop travel, as this world is a book. The story must be read until finish.

One example about the “quest” and links beneath it are presented in these pictures.

candi-jawi-pasuruan
Jawi Temple, Pasuruan

The first one is Jawi Temple. Located in Pasuruan Regency, East Java, it is one of the two temples where Kertanegara, the last ruler in Singhasari, were worshipped. This is a Hindu-styled temple, with slender built, high roof, just like meru in Bali nowadays. The outer wall of this temple is decorated with reliefs from an unknown story, one scholar suggests Sutasoma.

arca-joko-dolog-surabaya
The Buddha Mahaksobhya.

The second one is a Buddha statue (I’m sorry because the picture is back-lighted). Situated now in Apsari Garden, Surabaya, this statue is unique because Buddha has no hair, different from other Buddhas that can easily be known by his curly, short hair. The special thing about this statue is that on the base of it, there are inscriptions called Wurare Inscription, dated from November 21, 1289 AD. There are only two Buddha statues that have this kind of hair, the other one is in Mpu Purwa Museum, Malang.

At a glance, there may be no connection from these two things, as Hindu and Buddhist were different religion, even in Singhasari’s era. But the temple and the statue holds even stronger connection than that, because one scholar said that this Buddha statue once stood in that very Hindu temple.

That IS shocking, at least for me. Even when that is possible, there are few facts that contradicts. I will discuss about this later in the Indonesian-language post. For now, just enjoy the photos.

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