The temple of Candi Sambisari, in its excavated pit.
A niche on the central sanctuary, capped by an elaborate Kali carving.
A short distance down a country lane off the main road from Yogyakarta to Prambanan is the tiny temple of Candi Sambisari. The temple was built late in the Eighth Century, but was more or less abandoned after a few hundred years. It was eventually buried by ash and dirt, and was only re-discovered in 1966, when a farmer struck a stone with his hoe, which turned out to be the top of the central sanctuary. Nearly six meters of earth were removed to uncover the entire central complex of the temple, so that today it sits in a large deep depression.
The small temple consists of just one squat central tower, with three smaller shrines in front of it. The tower is accessed by a single stairway on the west side, which leads to a small enclosed platform supporting the sanctuary. The square sanctuary has a single opening, and is barely big enough to hold the alter with its lingam statue. In place of doors, the other three sides of the sanctuary have niches, each with a different statue. The niches are capped with over-sized lintels depicting the god Kali.