Visiting The 2nd Largest Hindu Temple In The World

Trip Start Feb 15, 2012
Trip End Feb 20, 2012

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Where I stayed
Ibis Semarang Simpang Lima
Read my review - 3/5 stars

Flag of Indonesia  , Central Java,
Sunday, February 19, 2012

This temple is one the places that I had wanted to visit many times, but only today I got the chance to visit this great temple.








This temple was built by the Sanjaya Dynasty in the 9th Century. I would not want to speak much about its history as there are numerous great articles on the internet which have given an excellent account of this temple, its structure as well as the complete demographics. For your reading pleasure, I am including a link to one of the sites which I feel is the most comprehensive as well as accurate based on my research with the National Archives of Indonesia as well a the first book written on this temple by a French Archaeologist who was the main man involved in reconstructing this temple during its early years. For greater reading please click on this link.  

On the other hand, I shall be writing from my first hand experience during my visit here, though a brief one. The entire complex of Prambanan contains more than 200+ temples but only a handful are visible today. As this temple lies in an earthquake zone, it has felt numerous earthquakes over the centuries and the worst one that destroyed much of the smaller shrines, was the one in the year 2006. Today, the main Trimurti Temples stand tall, but even then, the Shiva Shrine has been closed to visitors due to its Gopura (Pinnacle) instability after the last major earthquake.



























Once we entered this place, we first had to buy the tickets which was USD 15 per person. Here, there was a model of the supposed complete site where the guide was explaining the significance of each of these shrines and their purposes, whichever was still known.

Besides these main temples, the entire complex consists of numerous other temples too which we did not have time to visit this trip due to the time constraints.I shall come to this later but then lets have a look at the three major shrines.

At the main entrance, lies a dilapidated shrine which was the shrine of Lord Ganesha. Behind that, lies the three main shrines of Lord Shiva, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu with a smaller shrine for their mounts facing each of the main shrines. These mounts are the shrines of Garuda, Hamsa and Nandi. Unfortunately, the idols of both Hamsa and Garuda are missing. I was told that their did catch one of the keepers of this Idol in France whom the present owner claims that he had bought it from a middle man in Jakarta in the 1960's. Well, where there is a demand, there will always be supply. 

Sad that such incidents still happen until today here. But the sad thing was though it was identified as the original, the Indonesian government lost this case when it was brought to the courts. 

We first visited the Lord Brahma Shrine. The the entire walls of this temple was sculpted with the scenes from Ramayana from start until end and then we finally went inside the Brahma Shrine. Here Lord Brahma is in a standing posture.

From here we just glanced through the Lord Shiva shrine as we could not go inside as it was off limits to public. Inside the Shiva shrine, lies a statue of Lord Ganesha, Sage Agasthya, Goddess Durga in the form of Mahishasuramardini and in the sanctum sanctorum stands the idol of Lord Shiva. 

 We then continued our journey into the shrine of Lord Nandi. Also to be found inside this shrine is the idols of Lord Surya and Lord Chandra. 

Then the final visit was to the shrine of Lord VIshnu. Here all the outer walls of this shrine drpicted the Dasa Avathara of Lard Vishnu or the Ten Incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Then finally inside standing tall was the idol of Lord Mahavishnu.

We had to quickly skip through this temple as it was already 3 pm and we had to do another one hours drive to the Borobudur Temple and also that the temple closes to public at six pl with the last entry being capped at five pm.

That being the reason, we had to wrap it very fast at this temple or else we would completely miss the Borobudur temple in this trip altogether. There was even a small museum inside the Prambanan Complex where they have a collection of idols from shrines which were destroyed and ruined. We could not even visit this place but I was happy that I was able to visit the main shrines, even though just for two hours but the feeling was extremely good. 

I would surely come back to this temple and make a one full day tour here, which would included investigating the other neighbouring shrines as well. I definitely hope to do it again this year itself, maybe sometime towards the third quarter of the year. With this, we walked quickly to the vehicle making our way to the town of Magelang which is 50 kilometres away. 

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srirsridhar2 on

great temple...great descriptions

Jay on

Truly a magnificent temple bro! Great photos and flow made me feel as if I am there with you!

venoth on

Dear Sridhar, thank you for the lovely comments.

venoth on

Dear Jay, indeed truly a masterpiece. Thank you so much for the comments.

raju.t on

dear vinodh

it was indeed a pleasure to go through the information you have provided about the temple. truly a wonderful experience you have shared with us.

i would like to know whether you have come across sukh bramaharishi's presence in the form of statue in any of the temples in Bali/Java/Sumatra. This rishi is the son of Vyasa bagavan, who recited srimad bagavadham in 7 days to parishikth maharaja since he was cursed with dealth within 7 days by a rishi. Sukh brahma rishi will be having the face of parrot, whenever you recite his name, if get glimpse of parraot or sount means you are having his presence around you. This rishi spent so many years in these places during his early period. This was confirmed by sukh brahama rishi himself.

keep it up with your excellent journey to temples around the world



venoth on

Dear Mr. Raju, thank you so much for the elaborate description of the great sage. Unfortunately, I have not come across that Saint, perhaps most of Indinesia follows the Saivite way. I would be however visiting another old cluster of Candi's soon in Central Java. The uniqueness of this cluster of temples is that they are purely dedicated to Vaishnavism. Even the names of the Candis are like Candi Bhima, Candi Arjuna, Candi Krishna etc. Once I am there, I shall try to make a special observation for you and definitely shall keep you posted on the developments. On the other hand, most of the temples that were constructed in the early days in Indonesia had been destroyed by either earthquakes or volcano eruptions and many of these gems are basicly lying deep underground over layers of deep ash. I shall definitely keep a keen eye for you on this Mr. Raju. Thank you so much for reading through my travel blogs.

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