Prambanan Temple is one of the historical landmarks in the world that have been declared as the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located in central Java and built in 850 CE by the well-known Rakai Pikatan of Mataram Kingdom. According to the inscription, the temple complex was built at the time with the sole purpose to honor Lord Shiva, although it was then abandoned in the 10th century when the kingdom moved to East Java. The Prambanan Temple is a host of a large number of Hindu temples, records show that it originally hosted about 240 temples in the area. Unfortunately, many of them have been looted by locals and Dutch residents in the past and deteriorated due to age – leaving a few temples in the three known zones up to this date.
Below is the list of said zones and temples that have undergone a series of restoration and can still be visited by visitors:
The outer zone of the temple complex is a massive open space which, in the past, was surrounded by a massive wall. This wall has long gone.
The middle zone of the temple complex initially consisted of 4 concentric rows of identical and properly aligned shrines that was referred to as Perwara Temples which means guardian temples.
The inner zone of the temple consists of eight massive temples and eight smaller shrines, with elevated platform symbolizing its holy status, there are three main temples that are referred to as the Trimurti. These three main temples were not built the same size, however, with the biggest one being dedicated to Lord Shiva who is known as the Destroyer, and two other temples dedicated to the Creator that is Lord Brahma and the Keeper that is Lord Khrisna. Lying close to the Trimurti is the Vahana temples; these Vahana temples were built and dedicated to the three Vahanas of each Gods:
- Nandi, the divine bull that is believed to serve as a mount of Lord Shiva and the gatekeeper of Shiva and Parvati.
- Hamsa, the divine white swan that is believed to be a mount of Lord Brahma and Goddess Sarasvathi.
- Garuda, or Garutmanta, the divine eagle, the mount of Lord Khrisna.
Other than the main Trimurti temples and Vahana temples, the inner zone of the complex also hosts two Apit temples, four Kelir temples, and four Patok temples.
Despite the inscription stating it was built by Rakai Pikatan, a popular folklore, Loro Jonggrang, claimed it was made by Bandung Bondowoso – a victor King, who was given the task of building 1,000 temples to be able to marry Loro Jonggrang. The princess, not wanting to marry him, cheated by hitting lesung in order to make it seem like it was already dawn. Knowing this, Bandung Bondowoso was beyond livid and cursed her into being the last of the 1,000 temples.
Whether or not the folklore is true – with the stunning stone carving on its walls, which illustrates the Ramayana, a plethora of religious statues, and beautiful massive garden, Prambanan Temple is more than worth a visit. Opens early at 6 in the morning and closes at 5 in the evening every day of the week, those who wish to witness the magnificent historical landmark may do so by purchasing a ticket for Rp 30.000 for adult, and Rp 20.000 for children. For those who wish to bask in the beauty of Prambanan at night and watch the greatest Ramayana Ballet (Sendratari Ramayana) performance may do so by purchasing a ticket starting at Rp 125.000.
Route to Prambanan Temple
Are you planning a vacation and interested in visiting Prambanan but you aren’t sure on how to get there? No need to worry because Prambanan is relatively easy to reach. There are a lot of transportation means to get you to the temple, one of it is Trans Jogja, the Yogyakarta’s own bus – if you are thinking about taking this bus to get there, all you have to do is purchase a ticket of Trans Jogja A1 that goes to the Prambanan bus terminal which is located right in front of the temple. If you are going there by car, you just have to drive along Jalan Solo, depending on where you are staying in Yogyakarta, the distance from your hotel to the temple varies – but no need to worry about the possibility of getting lost as the route isn’t complicated at all. Just drive, and you’ll see the Prambanan temple on the left side of the road.
However, if you wish to explore the temple and have a hassle-free vacation, you may stay overnight at one of the hotels nearby such as Poery Devata Resort Hotel that is located 600 meters from the temple, and Quin Colombo Hotel that is 5 minutes drive from the temple are great choices for those who want to watch Ramayana Ballet performance at night and explore Prambanan Temple early the next day.
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