Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Indonesia: The Hindu temples of Prambanan

Prambanan, another UNESCO World Heritage site in Central Java, is the largest Hindu temple compound in Indonesia. To get to Prambanan from Borobudur, I had to take a bus to the main bus terminal of Yogya, the Umbulharjo Bus Terminal, and transfer to a Solo-bound bus, getting off at the gates of the temple. I spent Rp3,000 for the trip to Prambanan from Yogya. You could easily finish the park in half a day which is composed of the main temple, Candi Rara Jonggrang (which is what most refer to when they say Prambanan), and three others namely Candi Lumbung, Candi Bubrah and Candi Sewu.

There are 224 temples in the Prambanan complex, which is named after the village where it is located. Three are main temples namely Brahma Temple in the north, Vishnu Temple in the south, and the biggest among the three which lies between Brahma and Vishnu temples, is the 47-meter high Shiva Temple.

Characterized by tall and pointed architecture typical of Hindu temples, the main temple incurred significant damage during the 2006 earthquake which hit Yoyga which is why it was fenced out and you could only view it from a safe distance.

Candi Sewu on the other hand, is actually a Buddhist temple and the second largest in Central Java after Borobudur. The fact that the Hindu Rara Jonggrang Temple and Buddhist Sewu Temple were built 800 meters apart indicated that Hindus and Buddhists lived in harmony with each other. The Sewu Temple complex has 249 temples, consisting of one main temple, eight apit temples and 240 perwara temples. The main temple forms a polygon of 20 corners with a diameter of 29 meters and a height of 30 meters.

After a late lunch at a warung along the road, I waited for a bus back to the Umbulharjo Terminal in Yogya and took bus no. 4 to the Jalan Marlioboro area.

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