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Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva

Temple History

Prambanan temple is extraordinarily beautiful building constructed in the tenth century during the reigns of two kings namely Rakai Pikatan and Rakai Balitung. Soaring up to 47 meters (5 meters higher than Borobudur temple), the foundation of this temple has fulfilled the desire of the founder to show Hindu triumph in Java Island. This temple is located 17 kilometers from the city center, among an area that now functions as beautiful park.

Prambanan temple has three main temples in the primary yard, namely Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples. Those three temples are symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief. All of them face to the east. Each main temple has accompanying temple facing to the west, namely Nandini for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma, and Garuda for Vishnu. Besides, there are 2 flank temples, 4 kelir temples and 4 corner temples. In the second area, there are 224 temples.

Entering Shiva temple, the highest temple and is located in the middle, you will find four rooms. One main room contains Shiva statue, while the other three rooms contain the statues of Durga (Shiva's wife), Agastya (Shiva's teacher), and Ganesha (Shiva's son). Durga statue is said to be the statue of Roro Jonggrang in the above legend.

In Vishnu temple, to the north of Shiva temple, you will find only one room with Vishnu statue in it. In Brahma temple, to the south of Shiva temple, you find only room as well with Brahma statue in it.

Quite attractive accompanying temple is Garuda temple that is located close to Vishnu temple. This temple keeps a story of half-bird human being named Garuda. Garuda is a mystical bird in Hindu mythology. The figure is of golden body, white face, red wings, with the beak and wings similar to eagle's. It is assumed that the figure is Hindu adaptation of Bennu (means 'rises' or 'shines') that is associated with the god of the Sun or Re in Old Egypt mythology or Phoenix in Old Greek mythology. Garuda succeeded in saving his mother from the curse of Aruna (Garuda's handicapped brother) by stealing Tirta Amerta (the sacred water of the gods).

Its ability to save her mother made many people admire it to the present time and it is used for various purposes. Indonesia uses the bird as the symbol of the country. Other country using the same symbol is Thailand, with the same reason but different form adaptation and appearance. In Thailand, Garuda is known as Krut or Pha Krut.

Prambanan also has panels of relief describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally from generation to generation. Another interesting relief is Kalpataru tree that - in Hindu - the tree is considered tree of life, eternity and environment harmony. In Prambanan, relief of Kalpataru tree is described as flanking a lion. The presence of this tree makes experts consider that Javanese society in the ninth century had wisdom to manage its environment.

 

Additional Information

According to the history, Rakai Pikatan, a Hindu prince from Sanjaya Dynasty, who had married into the ruling Buddhist Sailendra monarchy built all the temples in the Prambanan archaeological park in the 8th century AD. In its original form, the temple complex contained over 250 large and small temples. The temple compound was expanded by successive Mataram kings with the addition of the hundreds of perwara temples around the central temples. It served as the royal temple of the Kingdom of Mataram for its religious ceremonies and sacrifices. However, in the 10th century the temple was largely abandoned because the Mataram dynasty moved to East Java. It then collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century.

Also locally known as Roro Jonggrang, legend has it that the 1,000th statue of the temple was the statue of a slender virgin lady named Roro Jonggrang, who turned into stone by a young and powerful man named Bandung Bondowoso after her attempt to thwart Bondowoso’s effort in building a thousand temples and two wells in one night for the lady failed. Bondowoso was in love with Roro Jonggrang and asked her to marry him. However, Roro Jonggrang was full of hatred because Bondowoso killed her father; hence she tried to refuse his proposal by asking him a seemingly impossible task. As a man who had unseen troop of spirits, it was easy for Bondowoso to finish the task. After nearly a thousand temples had been built, Roro Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice and to set a fire in order to look like the morning had broken. This way, the spirits had no choice but left before completing the last one temple. Bondowoso realised that the lady had cheated him so he turned Roro Jonggrang into the 1,000th statue. This is a very interesting folklore that local people love to share.

Yogyakarta airport is well served by domestic flights from Jakarta, Bali, other major domestic destinations and internationally from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. It is just ten kilometres from here to Prambanan. A taxi direct from the airport should cost about Rp 50,000 and take about 20 minutes.
Solo airport is much smaller but has several flights each day from Jakarta and is also connected internationally from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Prambanan is about 90 minutes by bus from Solo airport.

TransJogja, Yogyakarta's newest bus service, also serves a direct route to Prambanan. The bus is air-conditioned and comfortable, but sometimes can be overcrowded. Take number 1A from Malioboro street (Rp 3 600 one way). The first one leaves around 6AM, then every 20 minutes. Depending on traffic, the journey normally takes around 30 minutes, but can take an hour when traffic is heavy. From the terminal station, cross the busy road, turn right, and walk around 300 metres to the pedestrian entran
  • 7:30 AMto 5:30 PM
  • Contact Person: Manager Prambanan Temple
  • Contact Number: +62 274 496401
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