Prambanan Temple Compounds

Marvelous Hinduism Monument in Central Java
UNESCO Towering Architecture at Prambanan, Central Java

Prambanan is a collection of towers with spires 17 km to the south west of Yogyakarta in contrast to the vast horizontal base of Buddhist Borobudur 40 km north west, another UNESCO WHS in Central Java. 

Prambanan in Brief
Prambanan was originally named Shivagrha. It shares the same period of construction during 8-9th century with Borobudur. The vertical architecture was built by Rakai Pikatan, the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty of the Mataram Kingdom while Borobudur was built by anonymous under the Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty.

The temples were abandoned after the dynasty left the area from the eruption of Mount Merapi volcano and may be power-related cause too.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles is the British ruler who plays the major role for rediscovering and preserving Prambanan as same as Borobudur since a short period of British ruling in Java in 19th century.

The complex based on square plan divided into 3 zones: outer, middle and inner from less holy to the holiest from the Hindu cosmology concepts.

The most important area of the complex in inner zone is characterized by
Trimurti Temples consist of 3 main towers dedicated for supreme gods: Shiva (middle), Visnu and Brahma
Vahana Temples consist of 3 smaller towers in front of the Trimurti temples for each god’s vehicle: Nandi (bull), Garuda (bird), and Hamsa (swan)
Other small 8 temples located inside the inner zone wall

Actually, there are 240 temples in Prambanan temple compounds but majority of them are deteriorated and remained only scattered stones which located in 4 concentric square rows.

Towers are adorned with panel of narrative bas-reliefs telling the story of Hindu literatures: Ramayana and Bhagavata Purana. Inside the chambers of each main tower, there are the deities’ figures placed in the dark rooms without lighting. Please bring flashlight!
Stone Balustrades, Prambanan 
A Panel of Lion Flanked by Trees Relief, Lower Outer Wall of the Temple

My Visit
Prambanan Temple Compounds is huge; other historic sites are a few miles away such as Sewu Buddhist temple, showing this area were the important religious, political and urban centre.

Arrived there in the afternoon at 15.00 o’clock after heavy rain, it was cloudy day and less tourists, I spent 2-hrs visiting at the inner zone and had a quick walk to the museum 500 metre away from the site and on the middle way to the exit.

The museum is situated on the site in Javanese buildings and garden, collected the artifacts from Prambanan and presented the rediscovery and preservation of it.  Visiting time for 30 min is enough.

After visiting Prambanan, there were a few hours for dinner at the nearby restaurant until the showing time of Ramayana Ballet at 19.00
Rama is shooting Ravana, Ramayana Ballet, Prambanan Compound

Ramayana Ballet Performance
In the evening, there is Ramayana Ballet at Prambanan Park; it is a Hindu literature telling the story of Rama, Sita, Ravanna and Hanuman. The great ballet has presented the art of Javanese dance, music and dress which is absolutely fantastic.

The show will be performed at Trimurti Theatre during the rainy season and move to outdoor stage during summer where Prambanan site is the background under the sky only at specific nights. Visitors can book the tickets via the tour agents in Yogyakarta.

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22 September 2016 at 02:07 delete

Thanks for this article. Indeed it's a very good surprise to see how Thai people conserv their culture and their heritage ! Nice guide for tourism !