Muara Takus


At Rantau Berangin, 15 kilometers after Bangkinang, the roads splits and turn left, entering Bukit Barisan range, which borders Riau province. The road climbs up and reaches the recently finished hydroelectric dam of Koto Panjang.

Near Muaramahat, some 122 km west of Pekanbaru off the main road to Bukittinggi, are the ruins of Muara Takus, an ancient temple complex close to the bank of the river Kampar Kanan. Standing in a remote area amid Sumatra’s tropical forest, the temple is a mysterious entity. Archeological experts have not yet been able to confirm when the temple has been built. Short inscriptions found among the ruins point to a date in the 11th or 12th century. Other relates the complex to Srivijaya Buddhist Empire, which ruled in Sumatra in the 8th through 10th century. Some opinions go even back to the 4th century.

The temple complex is the largest ancient brick building in Sumatra. The tall temple part, known as Mahligai Temple, has the unusual shape of a tower, rather than the squat bell-shape normally associated with Buddhist architecture. Several other foundations can be seen nearby, like Bungsu Temple, a platform on which once stood two statue, and Tua Temple, originally the largest structure of all, with two stairways leading up to yet another temple parts.

The temples structure was made of river rocks, sand and bricks circled by a wall of 74 x 74 m size while at its external part, it is also circled by soil wall of 1.5 km x 1.5 km size. It is said that the ancient city was so large that a cat would wander from roof to roof for three months before reaching the last house.

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