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Discover Prambanan temple complex

Prambanan is a Hindu temple complex located in Yogyakarta province, Indonesia. If you have a chance to visit the Borodudur Buddhist temple complex, don’t forget to visit Prambanan just 60km from that. These two beautiful religious relics will complete your unforgettable trip to Indonesia, along with the too famous Bali. Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia, which has now become the most populous Muslim nation in the world.

1. Where is Prambanan?

The temple is located about 17 kilometers (11 miles) to northeast of Yogyakarta, on the border between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

2. Why we should visit?

This the temple dedicated to Trimurti, the three supreme deities of Hinduism, including Brahma, the Vishnu and Shiva. It is characterized by group of sharp and tall towers, included a central tower with height of 47 meters (154 ft). The temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and the second largest in Southeast Asia after Angkor Wat.

Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,
View from drone

3. Prambanan history

According to the Shivagrha inscription, Prambanan probably began to be built in 850 under King Rakai Pikatan of the Medang kingdom. The first temple in this complex is to worship Shiva. The King want to show that the Sanjaya had abandoned Buddhism to return to Hinduism as the founder of the dynasty. The Prambanan was also probably built to compete with the Borobudur Buddhist monasteries built by Sanjaya Buddhists.

Around the main tower are hundreds of lower temples, called perwara. Due to Scholar’s research, during the kingdom’s golden age, thousands of Brahmin monks and their disciples lived around this temple complex. In the 930s, Prambanan’s political center was moved to East Java by King Mpu Sindok. The exact reason for this move is still unknown. Perhaps it was due to the eruption of Merapi volcano in north of Prambanan or war. Since then, the temple was abandoned and gradually damaged.

The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. Although people no longer worship at the temple, the ruins are still easily recognizable.

In 1811, during the brief British colonial period in the Dutch East Indies, Collin Mackenzie, an explorer at the request of Thomas Stamford Raffles, came to Prambanan by chance. Immediately, Raffles discovered the entire ruins. However, they were ignored for decades because the Dutch colonists took the reliefs of the temple to decorate the garden or the local people used the stone as building materials. The inexperienced archaeologists’ discoveries in the 1880s only made the temple more looty. It was not until 1918 that reconstruction began, and it was not until 1930 that the restoration was methodical. The main temple was completed in 1953. Because too many stone works were taken away or used to build other buildings in the distance, it was impossible to restore the entire temple. Currently a large number of small temples and towers have not been restored and only see their foundations.

The 2006 earthquake caused serious damage to the temple site. The temple complex must be closed for years to restore.

4. How to get to Prambanan?

Prambanan temple complex is located in the northeast of Yogyakarta province. In addition to Yogyakarta International Airport, you can catch a flight to Solo airport. Solo Airport is much smaller than Yogyakarta but has many daily flights from Jakarta and is also connected internationally from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur.

Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,
Yogyakarta city center

You can take a bus from the airport to Prambanan with bus number 1A. From the end of the 1A trip, go about 50 meters to get to the ticket booth of Prambanan.

The fare for non-regular riders is Rp 3,500, for regular is Rp 2,500 and for students is 1,800 Rp, you can buy tickets on the bus with cash. You can change the bus for free as long as it is done within an hour of starting the first trip.

Read more: How to discover Borobudur Temple?

5. Entrance Ticket

The ticket price to Prambanan for international visitors is 25USD (375,000 Rp) including free water coupon. If you have an international student card, price will be reduced by half. It is open for visitors every day, from early morning till late afternoon. Before visiting the temple, you will be loaned a sarong to wrap around your hips.

6. What to visit in Prambanan?

Prambanan Temple is divided into 3 different areas with 240 large and small towers and is separated by the walls.
The outermost is the Bhurloka temple cluster, this temple cluster symbolizes people and mundane life.
Next is Blurvaloka, a cluster of temples symbolizes the monk.
Finally, the most important part of the temple, the Svarloka main tower, which symbolizes the Supreme Beings.
Prambanan has hundreds of temples, big and small, but there are 4 biggest temples you must visit:

Roro Jonggrang

Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,
Unbelievable temple

The main tower consists of six towers along the North-South axis, three large towers in the center, the middle tower worshiping Shiva, the remaining two towers worshiping Brahma and Vishnu. Opposite to the three main towers are three smaller towers, worshiping the animals of the gods: the cow Nandin of Shiva, the geese Hamsa of Brahma, the bird Garuda of Vishnu.


Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,
Lumbung temple in the rain

The temple consists of a main temple and 10 small temples around the rectangle, on the wall of the main temple there are thousands of Apsara fairy reliefs.


Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,

Temples are a cultural cross between Buddhism and Hinduism. On the two sides of the road leading to the temple are two Naga snakes with a lion sitting on, the outside niches are Buddha statue sitting on a lotus.


Prambanan temple is a testament to the golden era of Hinduism in Indonesia,

The Sewu (Buddhist) temple is located only 800 meters from Roro (Hindu) temple, which is the second largest Buddhist temple after Borobudur, showing the harmony between these two religions in Central Java for a while. Sewu consists of 248 towers around the central temple.

About Jason Nguyen

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Contents1. Where is Prambanan?2. Why we should visit?3. Prambanan history4. How to get to Prambanan?5. …

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