We visited the Prambanan temple on our way to the airport in Solo for our flight home from Amanjiwo. This was a complimentary tour by the resort where we stayed in the previous four nights in April 2012.
One needs to spend at least a few hours to appreciate this beautiful Hindu temple built in the tenth century. Situated about 17 kilometers from the city center of Yogyakarta, the temple complex comprising of 224 temples is surrounded by a park. Unfortunately, we had only less than an hour to view this beautiful architecture of Hindu culture, but even then, what we saw was impressive. Our guide mentioned that a man named Bandung Bondowoso who was in love with Roro Jonggrang who refused his love built the temple. She had asked him to build a temple with 1,000 statues in one night! Apparently this request was nearly fulfilled when having built 999 statues, Jonggrang asked the villages to set fire to rice to look like morning had broken. Feeling cheated, Bondowoso cursed Jonggrang to become the thousandth statue!
These temples were destroyed by several earthquakes and reduced to rubles in the 16th century as no masonry was used but a system of fitting male into female stones. One marvels at the restoration work that began in 1996 by UNESCO, which is much like sorting out a gigantic jigsaw! But the restoration has produced what we see today, which is truly a fantastic feat. The largest temple at the center, dedicated to the Hindu god Siva soars up to 47 meters, and the relief panels describe several stories of the Ramayana period. I was pointed the relief of the tree of life with those of children below this, and told of how the tree was used for various purposes, and how the ancient Javanese had the wisdom to manage their environment. Unfortunately, we had to move on or miss our flight. So we didn’t go into the main temple to see the statue of god Siva. Besides, the crowd was building up with lots of children in scout’s uniform coming in large groups to the place. Definitely worth the visit, and a pity that we had so little time there.
The best time to go is either early in the morning or later in the day, as it gets very hot since and there are very few trees for shade in the temple complex area where the temples are located. Weekdays are less crowded than week ends.
At the Entrance building, I see visitors rubbing on sun block! Remember to bring sun block. There’s also available complimentary chilled water and tea, and toilet facilities.
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