Candi Mendut is a 9th century Buddhist temple located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. It is one of three temples along a straight line that are of religious importance to the Javanese people, but the exact relationship between the three has been lost. All that is known now is that Candi Mendut, Borobudur and Pawon were all used for a combined religious ritual.
Candi Mendut, more commonly known as Mendut, was built in the early 9th century, sometime before or around 824 AD. Dutch archaeologist JG de Casparis believes the temple mentioned in a Karangtengah inscription dated 824 AD is Mendut temple and has presented enough evidence to back up his claim that the archaeological community concurs.
It is unknown how long Mendut was in use or what caused it to be abandoned, but in 1836 the temple ruins were discovered among an overgrowth of trees and bushes. Archaeologists began restoring the temple in 1897 after careful research and completed their restoration work in 1925. The stones used in the restored temple are mostly the same as were at the site when it was found, but there are not enough stones to complete the restoration.
Off to the side of Mendut is a field of stones. These stones are those that remain of the rest of Mendut. The parts of the temple that are missing are the pinnacle on top, the walls of a front chamber and the roof of the front chamber. The stones are laid out in the positions they would be in had the remaining stones been on site.
Mendut may be small and unassuming, but it has some beautiful bas-reliefs and stone carvings. These depict Boddhisattvas (Buddhist divinities) and other Buddhist figures.
The Kejawen Buddhists of Central Java who practice mysticism or Buddhism believe that praying at Mendut will bring about the fulfillment of wishes. This bas-relief in particular is important to childless couples. They pray to this depiction of Hariti for children since Hariti is the symbol of fertility, the patroness of motherhood and protector of children.
Inside the temple, you will be greeted by a small room filled with three figures.
The central figure is Dhyani Buddha Vairocana. He represents liberation from bodily karma.
To the left is Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara. She (some sects depict Avalokitesvara as male, others female) represents the liberation from the karma of speech.
And the statue on the right is Boddhisatva Vajrapani. He represents liberation from the karma of thought.
While Mendut is not a temple of popular use, it is once again being used for certain rituals. Aside from praying for certain wishes to be fulfilled, Buddhist devotees come to Mendut during the full moon of May or June to observe Vesak by walking from Mendut to Borobodur. Devotees take part in mass prayer while walking around the temples.