Prambanan – Setting The Bar High

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Prambanan – Setting The Bar High

Category : News: Destinations

PRAMBANAN - SETTING THE BAR HIGH Situated in a picturesque plain dotted with archaeological monuments amongst rice paddies and villages, you will probably be impressed by the Hindu Prambanan temple complex before you even pull in to the park, the height and pointed architecture of the temples gives an impressive welcome.

Prambanan’s status as one of the most extraordinary pieces of South East Asian religious architecture was recognised by a UNESCO in 1991 when it named this complex a World Heritage Site.

prambanan (1) SCALE UP The sheer number of temples within the Prambanan Complex is extraordinary, the site is structured in a series of three ‘squares’ which radiate out in size. A raised central square, has a total of 11 temples, of various sizes, the largest being the Siva (Shiva) temple which towers dramatically at close to 50 metres high. It is flanked by temples honouring the gods Vishnu and Brahma. Three smaller temples sit in front of the larger temples and each of these is dedicated to the ‘vehicles’ or transportation of the gods represented: Nandi, the bull, for Siva; Hamsa, the sacred swan, for Brahma; and the eagle Garuda for Vishnu. The second square radiates out symmetrically and contains paths through to the central square, as well as 224 smaller temples of identical design. These temples are known as perwara temples, meaning guardian or complementary. Although most of these smaller temples are currently tumbling ruins, a few have been restored and it is not difficult to imagine the sheer magnitude of what was once here. A third and final square was also walled at some stage, is not on the same axis as the central two, and does not contain religious artefacts. It is thought that this area would have been for those involved in ceremonies to prepare offerings, and for buildings to house resident priests and pilgrims. These buildings no longer remain as the materials used have not survived over time. Loro_Djonggrang_prambanan STORY TELLER The exteriors of the temples and the balustrade areas within the central square are dense with carvings, and in particular, the Siva temple is famous for the 62 relief depictions of the Ramayana Ballet, telling the story of King Rama and his wife Sita. The Ramanaya Ballet continues to have strong links with the temple complex, with performances held on an open air stage within the temple compounds. THE LEGEND OF LORO DJONGGRANG Within the Prambanan's Siva temple is a series of chambers, dedicated to Ganesha, Bhatare Guru; a bearded priest, Siva himself, and importantly, Durga, who local folklore claims as the depiction of Loro Djonggrang, the slender virgin. The folklore of Loro Djonggrang ties this site in with the Ratu Boko Palace with Ratu Boko being the father of the princess Loro Djonggrang. A prince named Bandung desperately wanted Loro Djonggang to marry him and she refused, as she he had killed her father. He insisted, and she finally agreed on one condition. He must build 1000 temples in one night. Prince Bandung summoned up spirits to help him, and close to dawn, much to the dismay of Loro Djonggrang they had completed the 999th temple. Loro Djonggrang ordered all of the servants to light a large fire, and begin pounding rice. The roosters were fooled into thinking it was dawn and began to crow, the spirits fled, and the final temple was left unbuilt. Prince Bandung was furious and turned Loro Djonggrang into stone, representing the final temple.     GETTING THERE AND GETTING IN prambanan_detail:: Prambanan Temple Complex is located 17 km east of Yogyakarta, on the road to Solo.   Sources: Borobudur Park oficial website, credit photo: Borobodur Park website respective owner.