Prambanan temples, Java, Indonesia
Due to their location, close to the “bigger brother” Borobudur, Prambanan temples might be overlooked by some visitors. However if you are coming to Yogyakarta, make sure you include them in your itinerary.
They are also called Candi Prambanan, candi meaning temple. The Prambanan temple complex is a UNESCO world heritage site. The main temple belongs to Hindu religion and it is the biggest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Indonesia. Lord Shiva is part of the Hindu trinity (trimurti) along Brahma (the creator) and Vishnu (the preserver), Shiva representing the destroyer or the transformer. Thus Shiva is one of the most important gods in Hinduism.
Prambanan temple was built in the 10th century and its style it somewhat similar to Angkor Wat, in Cambodia. There are a few temples in the compound, Prambanan being the biggest and the most important one. Originaly, only the Pramabanan temple complex included 240 temples, but most of them have nowadays turned into ruins.
The Prambanan temple itself includes three big temples symbolising the “trimurti”. Carvings depicting scenes from Ramayana can be seen on the main and tallest temple, the one dedicated to Shiva as well as on the Brahma temple.
However, Ramayana story is not only in the carvings here, but you can also witness it in the form of ballet. The Ramayana Ballet performs in certain evenings ( on Tue, Thu and Sat when I visited), on a scene right in front of the temple. Unfortunately I did not manage to see this but I can imagine that it must be quite an experience seeing a ballet with Prambanan temple as its backdrop!
Other important temples in the Prambanan temple compound are: Sewu, Lumbung, Bubrah and Asu. These temples are located in the Northern part of the complex and belong to the Buddhist religion. Sewu complex is the second largest Buddhist temple complex in Indonesia, after Borobudur but its construction precedes the latter.
The Prambanan temple complex is situated about 17 km from Yogyakarta, which makes it very easy to reach. You can even hire bicycles to visit at your own pace. The best time to go there would be around sunset when you can also combine your visit with the evening ballet performance.
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