“Prambanan”, a word which I have never heard off until one day, while surfing internet accidentally I saw some pictures of this place, from there on “Prambanan” was one such utterance which was haunting me. To the best of my surprises this year, I got an opportunity to visit this marvel. That doubled my excitement to the Indonesia trip…..!!!
Let narrate when, what and how this place did embarked in my memories…!!!!
As I’ve had an opportunity to read few things about this place along with the city called “Yogyakarta”, I got to know about some interesting places nearby this city those were Borobodur- Worlds largest Buddhist Sanctuary, Mt.Merapi and night shopping at the Malioboro street. When I was planning the trip I’ve made sure that we have a complete day dedicated to this beautiful city Yogyakarta.
It was a one hour flight from Bali to Yogyakarta. Our flight departed at 7:00 am and arrived Central Javan Islands at 7:15 am(Bali is one hour ahead of Javan Islands). Due to the immense love which I developed on this place made me so excited . Our trip started at airport only. Our first stop is at Candi Prambanan temples.
Candi Prambanan a 9th-century Hindu temple located on the Prambanan plain of Yogyakarta in Central Java, Indonesia. This sprawling temple complex sits majestically in an open area which dominates the whole horizon. From a distance, the temple probably resembled a small city, with a towering core of central spires surrounded by hundreds of subsidiary structures.
It was likely started by Rakai Pikatan as the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty’s. I think the words ‘grand and majestic’ best describes this marvel. The architecture of this temple follows the typical Hindu architecture traditions based on Vastu Shastra.
Originally there were a total of 240 temples standing in Prambanan. The Prambanan Temple Compound consists of: The three main shrines dedicated to the three Gods: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Keeper and Shiva the Destroyer. This is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and also listed in UNESCO world heritage sites..
The Shiva temple is the tallest and largest structure in Prambanan. The Shiva temple encircled with galleries adorned with bas-reliefs telling the story of Ramayana carved on the inner walls of the balustrades. To follow the story accordingly, visitors must enter from the east side and began to perform pradakshina or circumambulating clockwise. The bas-reliefs of Ramayana continued to Brahma temple galleries. The bas-relief of Ramayana illustrate how Sita, the wife of Rama, is abducted by Ravana. The monkey king Hanuman brings his army to help Rama and rescue Sita. There’s a 3m high statue of Lord Shiva.
Brahma and Vishnu temples: Brahma temple contains the statue of Brahma and Vishnu temple houses the statue of Vishnu.
Three Vahana temples:
In front of three main temples is dedicated to Vahana’s (vehicle) of the respective gods – Nandi(the bull) for Shiva, the Hamsa (sacred swan) for Brahma, and Vishnu’s Kite Garuda. In front of Vishnu temple is the temple dedicated for Garuda, however just like the Hamsa temple, Garuda temple contains no statue. Garuda holds important role for Indonesia, as it serves as the national symbol of Indonesia, and also as the name of the airline Garuda Indonesia..
Two Apit temples, Four Kelir temples, Four Patok temples & 224 Pervara temples. Today, all of 8 main temples and 8 small shrines in inner zone are reconstructed, but only 2 out of the original 224 pervara temples are renovated. The majority of them have deteriorated; what is left are only scattered stones. I hope UNESCO and Indonesian government put maximum efforts in reconstructing all these temples.
Lokapalas, Brahmins and Devatas
On the other side of narrative panels, the temple wall along the gallery were adorned with the statues and reliefs of devatas and brahmin sages.The figure of lokapalas, the celestial guardians of directions can be found in Shiva temple. The brahmin sage editors of veda were carved on Brahma temple wall, while in Vishnu temple the figures of male deities devatas flanked by two apsaras.
Prambanan panel: Breath of art
The lower outer wall of these temples were adorned with row of small niche containing image of simha (lion) flanked by two panels depicting bountiful kalpataru (kalpavriksha) tree. These wish-fulfilling sacred trees according to Hindu-Buddhist beliefs, is flanked on either side by kinnaras or animals, such as pairs of birds, deer, sheep, monkeys, horses, elephants etc. The pattern of lion in niche flanked by kalpataru trees is typical in Prambanan temple compound, thus it is called as “Prambanan panel”.
The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. In 14 February 2014, major tourist attractions in Yogyakarta and Central Java, including Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko, were closed from visitors, after being severely affected by the volcanic ashes from the eruption of Kelud volcano in East Java, located around 200 kilometers east from Yogyakarta. The Kelud volcano erupted on 13 February 2014 with explosion heard as far away as Yogyakarta.
I was impressed by the maintenance of the this place. Temples like these do not belong to any religion or community. They are treasures from our past and should be preserved and maintained by all of us. I would highly recommend a visit to this brilliant temple.