North Sumatra’s Buddhist Temple Complex
On a grassy flat plain located between the Barisan Mountains and the highlands of northern Sumatra, lies North Sumatra’s largest and most ancient Buddhist Temple Complex. The current known temple complex consists of 3 temples of which 1 is in ruins. It is the largest temple complex in North Sumatra. All three temples of Bahal were constructed of red bricks, while the sculptures were constructed of sand stones. Construction of the temples of Padang Lawas were estimated to be between the 11th to 13th century CE.
The temples are a testament to Indonesia’s rich cultural heritage. According to historians, the temple complex were possibly linked with Pannai Kingdom, one of the trading ports on the coast of Strait of Malacca under Srivijayan mandala. Because surviving inscriptions and historical records of this period are scarce, the kingdom is among the least known political entities in Indonesian history. Historians suggest that Pannai was probably a principality allied under the Srivijayan mandala.
Despite the lack of local historical records, on the upstream of these rivers, however, 16 Buddhist Vajrayana temples were discovered. Indicating that this has been an important site!
The architecture of this temple is similar to Jabung temple located in Probolinggo, East Java. Despite its rich archaeological value, unlike the popular temples of Java, the Padang Lawas temples are still little known.
We can take you to North Sumatra’s Buddhist Temple complex and witness one of least known patrimony of humanity in North Sumatra!
Buddhist Candi number 3
Reliefs depicting lion deities, which were seen as guardians of the temples
One of the Sri Wijaya era Buddhist temples in North Sumatra
Ceremonial Buddhist temple in North Sumatra