Day 14 & 15: Yogyakarta


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Asia » Indonesia » Java
July 31st 2015
Published: May 14th 2016
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This is the Borobodur from a slightly distance.
Yogyakarta is probably the best visit highlight of Java. And it is not difficult to find out why. Close to this city, you find two great temple complexes, known as the Borobudur and Prambanan. They do attract a lot of people, but you might find some spots for yourself by these temples? How? Almost all guides have the same route on these temples which they explain to the tourists. Having a guide is defiantly a pro, but try to catch some free time for you as well, and then go to the points which you did not saw by the guide. For example, on the other side of the Borobudur. There, you can walk in these corridors without seeing a tourist. Ok, you have to be a little bit lucky.



I spend two days in Yogyakarta, also known as the “spiritual area” of Java. You might find Yogyakarta find written on two different ways: Jogjakarta and in old Dutch Djokjakarta. Yogyakarta is also controlled as a sultanate, by the Sultan of Yogyakarta, now known as Sultan Hamengkubuwono X. Yogyakarta is famous by tourist, so the city centre is booming with hostels, hotels, restaurants, pubs and a night life.
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Close-up of the Borobudur. Here you can see the first and the second level.
But, if you really want to go for the temples, you better can skip the night life and be on time when visiting the temples. I should not recommend to do both major temple complexes in one day. There are tours which are doing this, but then you are running behind a guide like, and missing the essential time to have some time with you and the temple alone.



In the morning of the first day, we started at the Borobodur. I first share some little history about this temple complex. This complex was build in the peak of the Shailendra dynasty where the area was under the rule of the Mataram Kingdom, which some archaeologist believe their religion was Buddhism. The Mataram Kingdom was heavily influenced by the Sirvijaya Kingdom. This kingdom, originally out of Sumatra was known about it’s typical Srivijaya Buddhism and influenced almost all areas in South-East Avia. But, during the time of the Borobudur, the Mataram Kingdom, ruled over Central and East Java. Archaeologists believe the building was finished in 825 AD and took 75 years to build. However, other Archaeologists are doubting about this theory. They believe there were different rules
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At the First and the second levels, you find great reliefs, and most of them are in very good condition. This relief is coming from the first level.
in Java, in between the Hindu and the Buddhist, and that the Shailendra dynasty was not under the influence of Buddhism, but under influence of Hinduism. Rakai Pangankaran, the ruler of the Mataram Kingdom granted permission to build a Buddhist Temple Complex, and other temples, known as the Borobudur, mostly to grand their respect. This group archaeologists believe that the respect never led to any known and serious conflicts in the area where probably the Hindu and Buddhist religion and followers could easy live beside each other, and granted each other permission to build their temples. In both versions, the Borobodur was abandonment, and the reason why will be forever a mystery. There are theories about volcanic eruptions, in combination with King Mpu Sindok moved around 1000 AD the capital of the Medang Kingdome to East-Java. And therefore, Borobodur slightly was covered under huge layers of volcanic ash, and the wild jungle growing over the temple. But totally forgotten it was not, as tales about the temples were known by soe local people. The British Lieutenant Govenor-General Thomas Stamford Raffles, was very interested in the history of Java and collected many collectors items. He did speak with local people and
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This relief is also coming from the first level.
always had a notebook by his hand to make some notes. One day, he was informed about “a very big monument”, hide deep in the jungle, near a volcano and a small town of Bumisegoro. Too bad, he never could make the discovery by itself, but the Dutch Engineer, H.C. Cornelius investigated this area two months later. Cornelius and around 200 men fought themselves through the jungle, burned vegetation and cut threes over two months before reaching the monument in 1842.



The Borobudur is special to many people, also to one of our travel partner, Marielle. She visit the Borobudur before. A myth says: touch one, specific Buddha, and your wish will been come true. And Marielle confirmed “it came true”. You can find this Buddha on the top of the Borobudur and ask your guide as well to verify. But, wait, before you run on top of the Borobudur, you might need first information about this wonderful temple complex. As you might see from a distance, it looks like a “pyramid”, but in fact it is a large Stupa. A Stupa is a place for meditation for Buddhists, which is an oval form and get sharper,
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Here, you see some art from the second level.
or has a sharp pin at the top of the round. And the Borobudur is a Stupa, which contains 3 levels. And they do represent the three levels which every Buddhist knows as the “realm”, which they have to pass all three to reach the highest level in their Religion. It starts with the “Kamandhatu”, also known as “The World of Desires”, and in some cases known as “the hell”. Kamadhatu, those who have burned only due sensual desire, and therefore they are suffering. The second level is the Rupadhatu “The world of Forms”, shorted as “Reflection”. Also known as meditation. The final level is “Arupadhatu”, “the Formless World”, also described as “Nirvana”. And Nirvana means the highest goal and status a human being can reach in Buddhism. A lot of people spend their time on the 3th level, but do not skip the first two levels. Some parts of this temple are not visited by many tourist and the art of the temple is beautiful. You find a lot of information about the classic story of Ramayana. Which I will talk later over in this blog, when I discuss the also wonderful Ramayana ballet. If you are searching for
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You encounter the first Budha's on the second level of the Borobudur.
Buddha’s in your Indonesian trip, here you go, you have around 500 Buddha’s on the Borobudur. The Stupa, bell shaped, has openings, and in here a Buddha is sitting. One Buddha, at the top level, was known for the art of touching: if you could touch the Buddha, through the opening of the Stupa, it would bring luck. The problem was that the Buddha got damaged and it is not allowed anymore. But, now they told us, touch the Stupa and it brings luck. As Marielle did 30 years ago. These Stupa’s might also have to do with the believe that ancient spirits “hyangs” living in mountains and high places. For building the Borobudur, not normal stones where token, but black volcano stones (Andesite). But what do you see? If you take the stairs to the top, you will recognise statues of lions. On the first two levels, you find corridors with a lot of reliefs. Some of the Ramayana, some about other stories, and some which does not have a meaning (or, a meaning we do know). There are so much reliefs, but if you really want to know what a relief is meaning, than you need a guide.
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Me standing before the circle of Stupa's.
These reliefs are sometimes very detailed. The third level is very touristic. It is hard to make a picture without other people, and it is very crowded. Therefore, I better like the two levels below.



During our visit, we had a good guide, known as Marley. He is a guide which can speak Dutch, like much guides on the Borobudur. A lot of tourist visiting Indonesian are Dutch or Belgian, and therefore, a lot of guides do speak Dutch in Yogyakarta. You might find them on Bali as well. Marley is a good guide and spook enthusiast about the Borobudur. He gave us quite a lot information. He first took us to the first level, explaining some reliefs and took quite a lot time. The reliefs shows mostly a story, but the guides can explain you what story is shown. It is almost impossible to find out yourself. Not all reliefs are in very good state, but most of them are quite detailed and very nice to see. Up to the next level. Our guide explained us the mystery about the Buddha’s without heads. There are a lot of them, which lost their heads and are beheaded.
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On top of the borobodur, you find "a circle" of Stupa's. Inside these Stupa's you find Budha's. If you touch the Stupa, it will bring you luck.
And, this is a sad story, because many heads were cut off for money. Sometimes, one head returns and when it does, the researchers are going to find out to which body it belongs. And that can take over years. They do not want to put the head to the wrong body. Believers and Buddhists do believe that once in the future all heads and body’s will be reunited again, due the force of Buddha. At the third level, our guide showed the Stupas’s and especially one Stupa is important. There is one Buddha, where you could do you wish, and this Buddha is hide into a Stupa. First, you had to reach the Buddha before your wish came true, but the Buddha got damaged and therefore, you only have to touch the Stupa nowadays. On this last level, it is quite crowded. If you take some free time, I would ascend down below to the other levels, for example, via the back “the exit”. Many people walk down the stairs and skipping the first and second level. If you go to these two levels, you have the change you can walk quite a long time through these corridors without
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The stairs are guarded by lions. Here, you see one lions, which I photographed at the third level.
seeing anyone and in some cases you might find other tourists which had the same idea just like you. Also here you find many good detailed reliefs, but it is very hard to know what story’s they are telling if you are not familiar with Ramanaya and Buddhism. So, in conclusion: the Borobodur is a nice good highlight and I am quite positive. However, is there nothing negative to mention? And yes, there is something negative, or as you better can say: not nice, but probably expected. This where the many souvenir shop sellers, standing by the exit of the temples. Not one, but many of them. You are surrounded by them and they do have everything of the Borobudur which you can take home as a souvenir. i.e, post cards, statues, shirts. A simple “no”, does not work, and they are quite fanatic to let you buy something. Their strategy is like this: just chase this person, run before their feet until they buy something out of angry. And yes, in most cases it works.



For a little bit late lunch, we drove to BS Resta, where I ordered chicken steak. But, the steak stick to
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A Buddha on the second level. A lot of tourist decent down after visiting the top, but if you go on the second level you can find these Buddha's. Also, on the first level you have great spots to be alone.
the plate, and it was not the best steak I had. Luckily, they did have a good Banana Juice and that was very delicious. At this Restaurant, you have a silver art studio, where jewellery and art from silver was made. It was possible to have a look how the people are working on these arts. They do work quite detailed and it is very great to see which arts they do made out of silver. To see this, it was worth to have a sober lunch, but luckily I did not get sick. You can visit the store, where it is not allowed to make pictures, but here you do all kind of arts made out of silver. All arts do contain much details and hard work. You find more of these art studios in Yogyakarta and the region, so if you are interested, you might book an excursion. You do not need much time, probably an half hour is enough, so you can combine it in the afternoon when visiting the Borobudur or the Prambanan.



Just before the evening, we went to the diner show of the Ramayana Ballet, organised by Purawisata. You probably read
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After visiting the Borobudur, we visited a Silver Studio, where silver jewelry and Silver Arts were made.
already about the Ramayana. But first, a buffet dinner was held. You might find in a lot of places the Rmayana Ballet in this area of Java and Yogyakarta, and even by the temples of the Prambanan. We started with a diner, but by entry it was asked if the ladies would like to wear a Sarong. This is also asked by the Borobudur and the Prambanan, but it’s not required to enter the temples. A lot of woman’s do not do it, but I did it. Sometimes, in many cases, also the men are asked to wear a Sarong. But, first go to the dinner. The dinner was good, fresh and European style. This Ramayana Ballet diner show is mostly held for tour operators and complete in luxurious style. You probably do not see quite budget backpackers here. It is also expensive. However, in this region of Indonesian the prices are expensive, due tourism. You also can find this around the Bromo Volcano, and of course Bali. Bali is the most expensive island of all the Indonesian islands. In these parts of Indonesian it is quite difficult to spend the equal of money as you probably would do on
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These Jewelry and Arts are mostly made out of detailed work, made by the many artist which work here. As you see, the work is done quite detailed.
Sumatra. Keep this in mind when organising your trip. The dinner was luxurious and hospitable. And, hereafter, it was time for the one hour show of the Ramayana Ballet. Do not confuse this Ballet with the Balinese dance, because both arts of dancing are different. The Ramayana Ballet tells the story over Ramayana, which is a very important influence on the Borobudur as the Prambanan, as in Buddhism and Hinduism. It tells a love story between good and evil. Shortly it goes about this. The evil lord Rahwana, change himself in the Golden Deer. In the forest, the brothers Rama and Laksama, as the wife of Rama, Sinta enjoying the nature when the Golden Deer appears. Sinta would like to keep this animals and they try to catch it, but it is so different to catch and the deer runs away. Rama is leaving, and Sinta believes she hears a sound of an injured man, which she believes it is Rama. Laksama believes the sound is from the Golden Deer, imitating Rama’s voice. Sinta believes Rama is death and accuses Laksama with her believe. Laksama becomes very sad and cut off his genital as oat he will never marry a
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The Ramayana Ballet tells the Ramayana story through tells. A love story where the evil king should be defeated.
woman. Laksama does want to meet Rama but is making a magic circle surrending Sinta, before leaving here alone. She should not let anyone let into the circle and she should not go out herself, before the two man are returned. When Laksama is gone, Rahwana comes out of the sky. He does want to kidnap Sinta, to take her to the Alengka Kingdom. But he is not able to get through the magical circle. He changes his appearance into a very old man, which looks thirsty. Sinta want to help the man, and stretches one of her arms out of the circle to give the man water. The old man is able to drag Sinta out of the circle and reveals himself as Rahwana and takes her away. In the sky, Jatayu, the king of birds want to save Sinta and tries to fight against Rahwana but is defeated and falls down on the ground, but is alive when Rama finds Jatayu. The birds tells that Sinta is kidnapped. On their way, Rama and Laksama meet the white monkey Hanoman. He is orderd by his master Sugriwa for searching help to fight against Subali, in order to get Goa
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Photo of the group, where we went on stage with the professional actors which did a great job.
Kiskenda back. Rama does not want to kill Subali, but he is crowned to be the king of the monkeys in Pancawati Kingom. As a king, he orders Hanoman to visit Alengka to see Sinta. He is able to meet Sinta and give a ring from Rama to her. Hanoman destroys the Agra-Coka garden, to find out the strength of Rahwana. Rawhana becomes angry and orders to burn the white monkey, but Hanoman does not die due his natural super powers. Hanoman can escape. A fight find places between the monkey’s of Rama and giant soldiers of Rahwana. Hindraijt ask Kumbakarna for help, but Kumbakarna cannot win. Hindraijt runs off to Rawhana to report the situation. Rahwana goes to fight against Rama, but he loses and is killed. Sinta is very happy to meet her husband, but Rama rejects her. He is doubting about her purity, and Ask Sinta to take a bath of holy fire, by jumping into the burning fire. Sinta jumps in the holy fire, since she feels in her mind she is pure. The God of Fire, Brahma comes down from heaven and put out the fire. He tells Rama that Sinta is really pure. The
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These man are carrying banana's.
ballet is quite nice, great arts of dancing and ballet are shown and the actors did a very good job. They were quite professional, and it was very great to watch at. You need to know the story to see what they are showing to you with dance, combine with Indonesian music and you have a great show of one hour. Even with fire on stage. Visit the Ramayana Ballet is defiantly a must-do when you are in Yogyakarta for an evening. If you have time, visit this Ballet an evening before you visit one or both temples, so, when your guide shows you reliefs on both temples about this ballet, you know the story and the background. Even if you do not like dance and ballet, this show is a very good show. This due the good performance, the good story which is easily been followed and the spectacular dance. Also for children, this show is perfect. It is a love story between good and evil, and some characters die, it is not aggressive. The Ramayana Ballet is a great thing to do to spend your free evening and in combination with a diner buffet, please book by Ramayana Ballet Purawisata.



As probably expected, the next day, we visited the Prambanan temples. But first we went to the temples, we had a small excursion before. It was known as Karaton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, the Palace of the Sultan. As told, Yogyakarta still does have a Sultan and the palace of the Sultan is been named Keraton or Karaton. This beautfil building was build in orders of Sultan Hamengkubuwono I in between 1756 and 1790. It consist out of different buildings and we visited one. However, everhting you see, from buildings to threes, to the field, it does has a specific symbolic meaning. The centrum of all these meanings is the Pelataran Kedaton, known as the Royal country yard. With a guide, we visited the museum which is inside. Again, this guide spoke very good Dutch. We got much explanations about the sultans which lived here. However the buildings and the material were very great, and the good work of the guide, it did not completely had my interest. Do not ask me why. It was really great to see all this collections, and the buildings were great, but too bad was that a lot was closed during the time we were, or we were not able to visit. This was a disappointment.



Hereafter, it was time to visit the Prambanan. Our guide, Sumati, spoke Dutch and explained us a little bit more about Ramayana and the Ramayana Ballet. He is dancing also in the Ramayana Ballet, but then the Ballet held before the Rambanan temples. His role in the ballet is dancing the Bird Jatayu. The Prambanan Archaeological Park does not only consist out of the Prambanan temple complex, but you do find other temples, and the best known are the Templecomplex Sewu. All temples which belongs to the Prambanan Templecomplex are known as Prambanan and called in my blog Prambanan. Let’s start with a little history. According to archaeology, the first temple should been finished in the middle of the 9th century. During that time, the Borobudur and a Sewu temple (also at the site of the Prambanan Archaeological Park) was build, and it seems like the first temple of the Prambanan was a response on these temples and a time of Buddhist Seilendra Dynaasty. Therefore, the main reason to build this temple was to mark the return of the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty.
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Here, you see the Shiva temple, suddenly popping up.
In 930, an eruption of volcano Mount Merapi happened, and therefore the court of the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasti where shifted, and the temple complex was abandoned. And, the temple knew more bad luck due nature disasters, especially earthquakes. Two major earthquakes hit the temples of Prambanan and the first one was in the 16th century. The temples collapsed and it became ruins. The stones were just laying there. The local people in surrounding villages knew for centuries that this was a temple ruin, but they did not known it’s symbolic and religion background. They did not know how old it was, to which kingdom or King it belongs, so therefore they started to develop their own fairy tales and legends, sometimes including huge giant monsters of cursed princesses. By rediscovery, the name of Lieutenant Governor-General Thomas Stamford Raffles shows up again, and a member in his service found the temple ruins. In 1918 the Dutch started to reconstruct the temples, and currently, the complete temple site is reconstructed. This is hard work, due many stones were stolen and re-used in other sites. Most of these reconstruction was lost, as the second earthquake in 2006, the temples of the Prambanan as
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Here, you see the 6 biggest temples of the Prambanan complex.
the Sewu were hit again and many of them collapsed. Currently, a lot of these temples are not reconstructed yet, while others cannot been entered due they might collapse every time.



The Prambanan complex is quite huge, and in total, 240 temples should been build. Tehre are in total 6 categories of temples.

1. Trimurti Temples, 3x, dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma,

2. Vahana Temples, 3x dedicated to the Vahana of each gods: Nandi, Garuda and Hamsa. To make it even difficult, an Vahana is an animal or an mythological animal which is carrying these gods, and the gods are called “deva”.

3. Apit Temples 2x.

4. Kelir Temples 4x.

5. Patok temples 4x

6. Pervara temples 224x, build in square rows.

During the tour, you mostly will visit only the Shiva temple. I only visited the Shiva temple, due time. I do recommend to plan more time as I do. The Shiva temple is the most visited, it contains 4 chambers and 4 statues. It is the biggest temple with a height of 47 meters. Take the stairs on the eastern side, which are marked by the guardian
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Me in front of the Prambanan complex. As you see here, a lot of ruins are still laying on the ground. These were also (small) temples before.
gods, Mahakala and Nandhisvara. You can walk clockwise when you would like to follow the story of Ramayana. This art is great detailed with beautiful arts. Do visit the four chambers, where the east chamber contain a Statue of Shiva, the Supreme God. Shiva is known as limitless, unchanging, formless and transcendent, and might receive fearsome forms. He is mostly known about his task to slaying demons, and the God of yoga and arts. You can recognise Shiva on this third eye at his forehead, and his snake Vasuki around his neck. He does have a weapon, which is a musical instrument and known as the Damaru. Shiva’s body consist out of 5 mantras, due the 5 is the sacred number for Shiva. The Mantras are called Pañcabrahmans, forms of God, represented by the five faces of Shiva. Therefore they do have their own names, known as Sadyojāta, Vāmadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusa, Īsāna. After visiting Shiva, the next stop you can make is to visit Durga. And, if you touch her as Single woman, she will send you a man which you will marry. At least, that is what the guide told. I tried it, but currently without success yet. It
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A close up from a very detailed piece of Art. This is great this art was restored/found so detailed.
might come, probably it needs some time. Durga is a female, the known as the Mother Goddess, the root cause of the creation, sustenance and annihilation. She is the pure energy and formless, and her task is to fight demons. And she does not have fear, and she can fight. She fought with the demon (Asura) Mahisha, even after Vishnoe and shiva did not dare to fight this demon. The demon Mahisha changed himself during the fight in buffel, lion, an armed soldier and an elephant. Durga was able to behead Mahisha, and also destroyed the demon twins Canda and Munda. Canda and Munda tried to seduce and then to distract her, but that did not work. Hereafter, you visit Agastya, also in the Shiva temple. It is the third chamber. Agastya is important in the Hindu due his wisdom. His mother Urvasi slept with Mitra, and he is a son of both. He does have an importand role in the Ramayana story. He helped Rama against Rahwana. Agastya created an special archery arrow, made out of sunlight and fire containing the weight of the Mountains ofmeru and Mandara together. This arrow was given to Rawa to kill Rawhana. Only
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Opposite of the 3 biggest temples, you have 3 smaller temples. Here is one of them.
this arrow worked, due the fact that the normal arrows could not kill Rahwana, because his 10 heads growth back imminently. The last chamber you visit, contains a statue of Ganesha, also in the Shiva temple. Ganesha is the god of Wisdom, protects travellers and takes obstacles away. He does have a Vahana, which is a rat named Mashika. Ganesha is the son of the God Shiva and his wife Parvati. Ganesha does have an elephant head and that is a story. Shiva and Parvati lived in a palace. Parvati would like to have some privacy in the bathroom, but sometimes, suddenly Shiva came in the bathroom. A watchman was too weak to keep Shiva out of the bathroom and therefore Parvati wanted to have a son. Parvati made out of soap and her own skin cells a small doll, which and brought it alive. This was her son Genesha. Genesha had the order to keep everyone out of the palace when Parvati was in the bath room bathing. Shiva came home, and want to get in his palace, but Genesha was blocking his way. Shiva did not know that Ganesha was his son and that was the reason he
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In the Shiva Temple, you find find 4 statues, but the most important statue is Shiva, known as the Supreme God of Hinduism.
could not defeat him. With the half gods, Shiva made a list and beheaded Ganesha. However, Parvati felt this and she went to the entrance of the palace. Shiva than found out that he killed his own son, and a fight between Shiva and Parvati escalated to a war between the gods and the goddesses. Narada, which does not have a male or a female form, which is standing for devotion was able to bring peace. He gave the order to Shiva, that Shiva’s servants should come back with the head of the first living creature which they would find. Therefore, the servants came back with the head of an Elephant (Airavata). This head was placed on the body of Ganesha, and therefore Ganesha came back alive as half god. The statue of Ganesha is open for public, and if you chuck his trunk three times, it should bring you luck.



I shortly will discuss two other temples and the statues, even though I did not visited them. The Brahma temple and the Vishnu temple, both temples is 33 meters in hight and 20 meters width. Of course, the Vishnu temple contains a statue of Vishnu, and
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The statue of Agastya, also found in the Shiva temple.
the Brahma temple one statue of Brahma. Let’s start with Brahma. Brahma is an important god, and mostly known as the creator of the universe. He was born out of the navel from the god Vishnu, however, other people believe he was born from Shiva. You can recognise Brahma because he is traditionally shown with four faces and four arms, where each face points to a direction. He does not hold any weapons or symbols, but he does carry four other things. The “Mala”,symbolizing the time, the symbol of sacrificial fire and a water symbol to show where all creations are coming from. But, the most important you can find in his hands is the sacred text of Vedas. A Vadas, is a large body of text, and the first Vadas is coming out ancient India, and contains the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. The other statue in the temple of Vishnu is Vishnu. As God, he is been responsible for the inner processes of human kind, especially for spiritual processes and spiritual growth. He is very known about this arts of wisdom, self-protection and self-control. He does have four arms and these do have a meaning ,due his activity in
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The God Ganesha. Son of Shiva and Parvati. Shiva accidentally beheaded Ganesha and escalated a war between the Gods and the Goddess. Narada came with a solution, servants of Shiva should bring the first head of an living creature which they could find. And this was an elephant. This head was placed on the body of Ganesha, and Narada could bring Ganesha back to live.
the universe and on earth. He is protecting the Dharma, the essence of life, and the universe belongs to the Dharma. Therefore, his four arms represent Cita (consciousness), Buddhi (wisdom), Mana (sins) and Ahankaara (ego). He is standing on a lotus flower, and therefore does not have contact with water, which represent that someone is detached to illusions.



These three temples are the main temples of the Prambanan temple complex. But the Prambanan Archaeological Park does contain more temple complexes. And to visit them, you can go by feet. Or take the small, quite train. Many of these other temple/ temple complexes are destroyed, so you cannot go inside them and even visit them from close. If you take the train, you will pass three other temples: Candi Lumbung, Candi Bubrah and Sewu. And, they are Buddhist temples. The Prambanan itself is Hindu, but the other three temples I will discuss are Buddhist. There is not much known about these three temples. I could not found any information about the Candi Bubrah, so I have to leave this one out. The Candi Lumbung is build in the 9th century, and the original name is unknown. The current
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Durba, known as the Mother Godness. She is also known for fighting demons.
name is coming out of the Javenese language and means “Rice Barn” temple. In fact, this temple is probably a smaller scale as the Sewu temple, and build during the time of the Mataram Kingdom, and therefore it is older as the Prambanan. Near the temple, the Kelurak Inscription from 782 AD was found in 1960. Sadly, the inscription was found in a very poor condition, and therefore historians could only translate the main information, due that many parts were unreadable and stayed unclear. The Sewu temple is currently in horrible situation. Before the earthquake of 2006, it was in good condition and you could enter it, however, it collapsed. It is known as the second biggest Buddhist temple in Indonesia, only the Borobudur is bigger. This temple was not one single temple, but a complex of 249 temples in total. The name is original translated as “the thousand temples”, in Javanease, but the original name of this temple was probably known as “Manjusrigrha”, symbolizing the “Genlte Glory”, of wisdom. It was build during the reign of Rakai Panangkaran (746-780 AD) and completed after his death during the reign of his successor King Indra both of the Medang Mataram Kingdom.
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Due the earthquake of 2006, a lot of temples are damaged and some are dangerous to enter. However, some you can enter and visit. You visit them via these stairs.
It first was the biggest Buddhist temple build in this area and is almost 40 years older than the Borobudur. In the temple, religious ceremonies were performed. The beauty of the tower was praised in the Manjusrigrha inscription dating from 792 AD. As guardians of the temples, statues of Gana’s were made. Gana’s are attendants of Shiva and they live on Mount Kaliash. Their leader is Shiva’s son, Ganesha. In front of the temple, you still can see the Gana’s, because they survived the earthquake in 2006.



The Prambanan temples are beautiful. In most cases, when having a guided tour or a half day tour, you might run out of time, which I had. That is a pity, and therefore, I would suggest to take a lot of time to visit these temples if you do like archaeology. You can spend here a half day, or even a day. A guide is defiantly a plus. Without the information of our guide Sumati, I could not write this report about the Prambanan Archeological Park. The temples are beautiful, but it is sad that many of them are unsafe to enter, and some are collapsed and were ruined due
Sewu Temple Sewu Temple Sewu Temple

The Prambanan Archaeological Park does not only contain the Prambanan, but also the Sewu Temple complex, a Buddhist temple complex. This complex was heavily damaged due the earthquake of 2006, and therefore you cannot enter it.
the earthquake of 2006 and in the 16th century. But it is also a little bit mysterious these ruins and the stones laying around. Probably, most temples would have great art for example reliefs and were great to see, but in most cases the stones are laying in the grass and reconstruction takes a lot of effort and money. But, some temples you can enter and visit the statues. In some cases you can touch them if you would like, for example Ganesha and Durga. To keep in mind: You are not alone at the Prambanan. It might be not that crowded as the Borobudur, but it is still crowded. And, I did not really found a place “to hide”, as my suggestion to discover the backside of the Borobudur which many do skip. By all temples, there are people and other tourist. And, you have again souvenir sellers at the exit of the Prambanan Archaeological Park, which do have the same strategy as the ones at the Borobudur.





For lunch, we drove to the Kali Opak Restu. The restaurant was laying in a beautiful area and in the restaurant itself, you could enjoy the
Sewu TempelSewu TempelSewu Tempel

Gana's are used as guardians of the tempels. Gana's do their work in command of Ganesha. And therefore, they are attendants of Shiva and live on Mount Kaliash. Some Gana's survived the earthquake in 2006.
beautiful sights. I ordered French fries with Saté Ajam. The French Fries where good, and the mayonnaise was of Belgian standard. The Saté Ajam was also good, however, it was served cold and it was brought back to the kitchen to heat it up. Besides this small problem, I did had a good meal and the beautiful sights where good. In the afternoon, I had a massage. Which was of course quite relax. The rest of the day was relaxed as well. I prefer to spend this time at the Prambanan, because in my eyes the visit was too shortly. The next day we should leave Yogyakarta and go to a next famous highlight in Java, the Bromo Volcano. Before we arrive at this Volcano, we had one travelling day in Malang. The next day, we will head to the Bromo Volcano, as written in my next blogpost.


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Sewu TempleSewu Temple
Sewu Temple

Also this temple survived the earthquake.


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