Going home from my personal educational tour around Jombang City, I made a stop at Candi Tikus (the Rat Temple). It’s heritage sites of former Majapahit Kingdom, at Trowulan Village, Mojokerto regency, East Java Province. It’s not far from Pacet.
Finding such sites is easy. Once we reach Trowulan, we will see many signposts direct to unique and historic places around: Majapahit Monastery, Segaran Pool, and other temples. Among those interesting sites, I visited Candi Tikus.
Visiting Candi Tikus
The temple is located at southern of Trowulan Village, about 1.5 kilometers from the Surabaya-Mojokerto main road.
Entering Candi Tikus, soon a well-decorated garden greeted me. So friendly. So calm. So relaxing.
If you go to Candi Tikus on weekdays like I did, indeed, it would not be crowded. This is such nuance preferred by the explorers and researchers. Otherwise you want a bustling atmosphere, just go on holidays.
History of the Rat Temple
Candi Tikus perhaps is the most exciting recent archaeological finding at Trowulan. Its discovery happened in 1914. The government subsequently restored to its present condition in 1985 and 1989.
According to a folk whom I interviewed, they named it “rat” because there was the rampant rats, destroying hectares of people’s paddy.
Trowulan farmers were then so pissed off. They had been hunting the pests. Until a big hole on the ground was founded. “This must be rat’s nest,” they concluded. So they excavated it.
Surprisingly, there was sort of bathhouse down there.
What’s in Candi Tikus
Like Warungboto Site in Yogyakarta, Candi Tikus had actually been a ritual bathing pool for the Majapahit’s princess. The complex made of red bricks in form of a sunken, rectangular basin, into which a flight of steps descends on the northern side.
It is decorated by the exotic animal’s head-shaped fountains.
Those bricks look sturdy, although we do not see the mixture cement as the adhesive. One of Indonesian history’s masterpiece.
- photos by Ihsan Maulana