It’s a 9km ride to out next destination coming from Sukuh Temple and Jumog Falls. We go higher up the slopes of the sacred Gunung Lawu and the views just keeps getting better. The afternoon light illuminates the vast tea plantation hills and we pass by a few tea harvesters going up and down the slopes. We are now 1400 meters above sea level and I see the gates to the Cetho Temple (Candi Cetho) bathed in warm light with stone guardians to welcome us.
The Terraced Cetho Temple
Cetho Temple is the only other temple aside from Sukuh Temple that is found in Gunung Lawu, but this one is found higher and is a much bigger area with several terraces. Believed to be built-in the 1350’s, the design have strong influence from Balinese Temples (especially the split gates) but there are elements of fertility and Shivaism worship as well. Many Balinese Hindus set a pilgrimage here to make offerings for good luck.
I like the tranquility of the temple, with its distance far from the city and farther from Sukuh Temple, not many tourist make it here. I admire the stone works, statues, symbols and woodwork found in the temple. From the top, I could see the gates align perfectly on the slopes. There may be a time of the year when the sun would perfectly be at the center of these split gates.
Sunset at the Tea Hills
As I got down, I noticed the a thin blanket of mist starting to build on the hills below. The light was wonderful. Wazit said that people usually spend the sunset here. But I wanted to go on the tea plantation we passed by. We rode by motorbike until the point where I thought the scene was ideal. The vast tea plantation was bathed in the purple twilight. I see Gunung (Mount) Merapi and Merbabu towering like twin pyramids on the horizon.
No Headlights Home
I packed my gears and got on the motorbike and later we found out Wazit’s motorbike headlight was broken. Just when I thought we were done with the misadventures, here we are again. It is certainly risky to drive the highway at night without lights. Fortunately I was brought my headlamp with me and told him to wear it while driving home. In the whole time on the road back, I was praying that we arrive home safe. Good luck may have also rubbed with us from our visit in Cetho Temple as I breathed a sigh of relief when I caught sight of the familiar landmarks of Solo City. I was thankful we got home safe and sound and got to see those wonderful sights despite bringing home some bruises and body aches.
Ferdz Decena is an award-winning travel photographer, writer and blogger. His works has found print in publications such as Singapore Airlines’s Silver Kris, Philippine Airlines’ Mabuhay, Cebu Pacific’s Smile and Seair InFlight. He has also lent his expertise to various organizations like the Oceana Philippines, Lopez Group Foundation, Save the Children and World Vision, contributing quality images for their marketing materials.