Mendut is located in Mendut village of Mungkid subdistrict in
Magelang, Central Java, approximately 38 kilometers to the
northwest from Yogyakarta. It is only 3 kilometers from
Barabudhur Temple, which is believed to be closely related
to Pawon and Mendut temples. The three temples are on a
straight line from north to south.
There is no certainty as to the year the temple was
erected, but J.G. de Casparis argues that Mendut was built
by the first king of Syailendra dynasty in 824 AD. The
assumption is founded on the content of Karangtengah
inscription (824 AD), which mentions King Indra had built a
shrine called Wenuwana. Casparis interprets Wenuwana (bamboo
forest) as Mendut temple. This temple is also assumed to be
older than Borobudur.
Mendut temple was discovered in 1836. The entire
structure was found, except the roof that had already
crumbled. Between 1897 and 1904, the Dutch government
initiated restoration works that yielded satisfactory
result, although the temple was still far from perfection.
This work had managed to restore the temple’s base and body
were reconstructed. In 1908, Van Erp led reconstruction and
restoration works on the temple that aimed to restore the
roof, place stupas, and repair parts of the roof top. The
works had once halted due to financial constraints, but were
continued on in 1925.
Mendut is laid out on a rectangular plan, standing 26.4
meters high. The body of this Buddhist temple is laid on a 2
meter high platform, which also serves as a walkway. The
wall that encircles the platform is adorned with 31 panels
of story-telling relief, and sculptures of beautiful flowers
and climbing plants.
Some spots along the walkway’s outer wall have jaladwara
or water channel to drain water from the walkway. Jaladwara
is common to most temples in Central Java and Yogyakarta,
such as Borobudur, Banyuniba, Prambanan and Ratu Baka. While
retaining its artistic nature, jaladwara varies in design
from one temple to the other.