A Postcard From Java!
Hi,

Hidden amidst the smoldering volcanoes of central Java I discovered an almost forgotten Hindu shrine that completely astounded this jaded old adventurer. The temple of Candi Sukuh is amazing enough for its Mayan-like pyramid shape that makes you wonder if aliens really did pay a visit; but the strange carvings on the walls and altars are as mysteriously magical as they are eye-popping!

Candi Sukuh was home to a 15th century erotic cult dedicated to the swordsmithing god Bima, and anatomically correct images of male warrior heroes and deities hardly require Freudian interpretation. This is certainly a fitting refuge for those, like myself, who have always felt that the universe revolves around supernatural endowments of a cosmic proportion.

The fortunes of Javanese phallus-worshippers changed dramatically after Muslim armies conquered the island -- at the Mangkunegara Palace in Solo my guide showed me a gold-plated chastity belt designed for a prince!

Don't work too hard!

-- William

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photographs 2002 by Michael Holland of Chieng Fa
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