178 Returning Home Part 2

Warning: OK, people, if you hate your Tingkatan 4 Sejarah, Chapter 3, don't read this post. If you don't know what I'm talking about, but hate anything to do with History, this warning also applies. Otherwise, continue reading...
My return to my birthstate after many years has brought me to a new place, Lembah Bujang. If that name seems vaguely familiar, it's because you know it from the History textbook. Home to a civilisation that predates the Malacca Sultanate, Lembah Bujang is an archeological site which has uncovered many relics of the Peninsular's ancient past. A visit to Merbok River Valley, near Sungai Petani, produced these photos.

The Museum is located at the site of one of the largest "Candi" (pronounced chandee, not candy), at Bukit Batu Pahat, Merbok, which is well-known for being the site of one of the largest Candi, the aptly named Candi Bukit Batu Pahat, along with three other reconstructed candis, the Candi Pengkalan Bujang, Candi Kampung Pendiat and Candi Bendang Dalam.

Photo montage of Candi Bukit Batu Pahat
The Candi Bukit Batu Pahat, dedicated to the Lord Shiva, a Hindu God, has a base made from granite, and in and around it, there are 66 pillar bases, where wooden pillars that support the roof used to be. The pillars have long rotted away, but the bases still remain at the edge of the candi. They are the square blocks you can see in the photos.

Ornately carved pillar base

Also note that the candi is divided into two main parts, the vimana and the mandapa. The mandapa is the outer and lower portion, where the visitors generally stand, while the vimana, the raised inner portion is where the religious statues are kept. This can also be seen in the next photo:

Photo Montage of Candi Pendiat

Candi Pendiat has the shape of the typical Hindu candi, the outer mandapa, where the stairs are, and the the inner vimana, which is raised to display the religious icons. The distinct redness is due to the fact that the bricks are made from laterite, the red soil commonly found thoughout Malaysia. Compare this with the shape of the Candi Pengkalan Bujang, which is a Buddhist candi.

Photo Montage of Candi Pengkalan Bujang

The Candi Pengkalan Bujang has a cruciform shape, i.e. it's in the shape of a cross. The middle of the temple is hollow, and it's believed to contain a stupa with a domed roof, a place where Buddhist relics are kept, supported by the find of a host of Buddhist relics near the site. It's made from bricks with a chiselled granite base. And lastly, there's the Candi Bendang Dalam:

Photo Montage of Candi Bendang Dalam

Candi Bendang Dalam is yet another example of the typical Hindu Candi, with the classic vimana-mandapa structure. Constructed with a myriad of materials, including granite, laterite bricks and river rocks, this Candi is another significant find, due to its size and the large number of artifacts dating back to the 12 th century, showing proof of trade in the region that stretches as far as the Middle East.

More stories and photos from the north are to come, so stick around!