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BRAMBANAM. Near the centre of Java, between the native capitals of Djoko-kerta and Surakerta, is the village of Brambanam, near which are abundance of ruins, the most important being the temples of Loro-Jongran and Chandi Sewa. At Loro-Jongran there were twenty separate buildings, six large and fourteen small temples.

An archæological report sent to Sir Stamford Raffles a century ago, describes the remains of Brambanam as "stupendous monuments of the science and taste belonging to a long-forgotten age, crowded together in the former centre of Hindu faith." A rough country road leads from the little white railway station, perched on a desolate plain, to these far-famed temples.

The temples of Brambanam were erected shortly after the completion of that upper terrace in the great sanctuary of Boro-Boedoer which marks the traditional epoch between Buddhism and the later Hinduism, including Sakya Munyi among the avatars of Vishnu.

To reach these temples, four flights of stone steps were made up the mountain from opposite directions, each flight consisting of more than a thousand steps. The whole country between this and Brambanam, a distance of sixty miles, abounds with ruins, so that fine sculptured images may be seen lying in the ditches, or built into the walls of enclosures.

Only separated from Brambanam by a winding path and a green belt of jungle, stands the great Buddhist temple of Chandi Sewon, and the colossal figures flanking the entrance gate indicate a decadent phase of the ancient creed which Boro-Boedoer illustrates in the purity of earlier developement.

Hence it suffers deterioration in competition with the more active systems. Close by Boro Budor, where Buddhism reached its culmination, are the temples of Mendoet and Brambanam, which show a reversion in the popular mind to Hindu Brahmanism. And when the Moslem came, with his doctrine of a personal and living God, Buddhism had no force to combat it.

The Greek influences which prevailed in Northern Hindustan were translated to Brambanam in their attributes of dignity and grace, for the flowing robes and easy postures of the sculptured figures correct and modify the grotesque and over-laden character of original Hindu art.

The ruined temples of Brambanam memorialise that phase of Java's religious history, when the altars of Buddha were finally deserted, and Hinduism became the paramount creed of the fickle populace.

The "fatal beauty" of the graceful waringen-tree has played an ominous part in the destruction of the Brambanam temples, for the interlacing roots, like a network of branching veins, make their devious way through crevice and cranny, splitting and uplifting the strongest slab, wherein one tiny crack suffices for the string-like fibres to gain foothold.