Treasures in Jogjakarta: Prambanan

Prambanan temple grounds_1280_for_WebPranbanan, along with Borobudur, is one of the wonders around Jogjakarta, Indonesia, and draws in thousands of tourists each year.  This UNESCO World Heritage site lies 18 km outside of the center of Jogjakarta and easily reached either by renting a motorbike (about US$5 for the day), or, more easily, by joining a tour or hiring a car and driver for the day (US$45 for the car & driver).

The temple is open_1280_for_WebPrambanan is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and one of the largest in all of Asia.  It was originally built around 850 CE, but was then abandoned less than 100 years later when the group of people  responsible for the construction moved further to the east part of Java.  Standing on the grounds, it’s amazing to think that after completing such a monumental task, that the people would just up and leave.  It would be like building the pyramids only to grind them down a few years later when you need sand for the sand traps on your golf course.  Of course, one of the possible reasons for the migration was the eruption of a nearby volcano, and since this temple predates lava insurance, it is somewhat more understandable.  Additionally, a large part of the temple was destroyed later in an earthquake in the 1700s.  Since then, a large amount of restoration work has gone into recompleting the temple.


Headless Buddha_1280_for_WebThe temple complex is actually a group of similar structures that tower up from the ground and have stairs leading visitors to the top of each structure.  Much like Borobudur, almost all of the surfaces of the temples are covered in relief, with carvings showing kings being bowed to, people worshipping, and gods smiting.  The sheer amount of work and skill that it would take to complete something of that magnitude is staggering and can only lead one to think that people back then were far more talented and hard working that we are now.

Old man on the temple wall_1280_for_Web

In the same complex, there are 2 smaller temples that are in a greater state of degradation, but are still accessible and worth walking around.  It seems like something straight out of Indiana Jones to walk around those ruins, especially if you’re lucky enough to be alone in the ruins at the time.  Near Prambanan_1280_for_Web   Prambanan is one of the places that really defines Jogjakarta and should not be missed if you are in the area.  If you have time to make it to Jogjakarta (doable as a long day trip from Bali), I would highly recommend it.  Like Borobudur, the entrance fee for Prambanan is a bit steep compared to other temples in the area, but at around US$14, I’m sure it’s still cheaper than some Starbucks coffee and far more rewarding.Naoko in front of Prambanan_1280_for_WebAaron in front of Prambanan_1280_for_Web

Posted on by Aaron in Aaron's Blog

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