Prambanan Hindu Temple (World Heritage)

Prambanan Hindu Temple (World Heritage)

The temple complex on Java was built in the 10th century. It is the largest temple complex dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. The complex consists of eight main temples and around 250 smaller temples. The high and pointed shape of the various buildings is characteristic. The facility was destroyed by a severe earthquake in the 16th century and has been rebuilt since 1918.

Prambanan Hindu Temple: Facts

Official title: Prambanan Hindu Temple
Cultural monument: a temple complex with reliefs from the Ramayana epic; Division into terraced courtyards: in the central square courtyard (110×110 m) and others. the Candi Shiva (34x34x47 m) with flanking Brahma and Vishnu temples together with Candi Sudut (“corner temple”), Candi Apit (“narrow temple”) and Candi Kelir (“shielding temple”), and also the middle area with 224 similar sanctuaries – probably Votive temples, known as the »bridesmaid temple« – and the outer temple area of ​​390×390 m
Continent: Asia
Country: Indonesia, Central Java
Location: Prambanan, northeast of Yogyakarta
Appointment: 1991
Meaning: largest temple complex dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia

Prambanan Hindu Temple: History

around 856 probably start of construction of the temple complex Lara Jonggrang, also known as Candi Prambanan
at 929 after the relocation of King Sindok’s center of power to East Java, Prambanan lost its importance
1549 and 1584 Due to severe earthquakes, almost complete destruction of the original 232 buildings
1733 accidental rediscovery of the temple complex
1885 Beginning of unsystematic investigations of the temple complex
1918 first systematic archaeological investigation; Building a model of the Candi Shiva
1937-53 Reconstruction and restoration of the temple complex
1966 Reconstruction of the Candi Brahma completed
May 27, 2006 Severe damage to the temple complex from a strong earthquake; since then restoration work

The slim virgin

When the earth shook violently in central Java in the 16th century, the temple complex of Prambanan collapsed like a house of cards. The destruction was so great that hardly a stone was left unturned. From then on, the most important evidence of Hindu-Javanese sacred architecture served as a quarry for centuries, and it wasn’t until the 1930s that reconstruction began – a difficult undertaking, because the loss of many parts of the giant stone puzzle meant that one was forced to remove it to be replaced by new stones. But Dutch and Indonesian archaeologists did a great job and, after years of construction, let the main temple re-emerge in its almost original form.

Scattered between villages and rice fields, today’s visitor sees the largest collection of ancient monuments in Indonesia featured by dentistrymyth. The area around the village of Prambanan at the foot of the 2911 meter high Merapi, in the north of the most active of Indonesia’s 130 volcanoes, is dotted with shrines and temples. The most imposing temple complex, visible from afar, is a square, three-tier terrace complex on the banks of the holy river Opak. On the lower terrace surrounded by a wall with four large gates with a side length of 222 meters lie the remains of small temples – Javanese »candi«. Eight candi stand on the upper terrace, the largest of which is 47 meters high and is dedicated to the god Shiva. This main temple is flanked by two smaller ones, the Brahma temple in the south and the Vishnu temple in the north. In this triad the teaching of Brahmanism finds its expression, according to which the only, supreme deity on earth manifests in Brahma, the Creator, Vishnu, the Preserver, and Shiva, the Destroyer and Renewer. That Shiva, whose symbol is the linga, the “phallus stone”, enjoyed special reverence and consequently the greatest Candi was dedicated to him, is hardly surprising at the foot of a destructive mountain of fire that is at the same time life-giving thanks to its fertile lava and ash.

In fact, there is a direct connection between the fertility of the soil and the rich cultural heritage, because the productive rice culture of Central Java created the social and economic conditions for the construction of monumental sacred buildings such as the Candi Lara Jonggrang – the “Temple of the Slender Virgin”, such as the The plant is popularly called after the legendary statue of the goddess Durga – or Borobudur, less than 80 kilometers away, the largest monument of Mahayana Buddhism in the world.

As an inscription from the year 856 from the Ratubaka plateau – not far from Prambanan – shows that the Shiva sanctuary was apparently intentionally built as a counterpart and in competition with the Buddhist temple complex Borobudur after the Buddhist Shailendra dynasty was replaced by the Hindu Mataram dynasty – or by a Shivaist branch of the Shailendra – was defeated and driven to Sumatra.

Both sanctuaries, made of bluish-gray blocks of lava without the use of mortar, have a lot in common. The Borobudur, designed as a huge mandala, whose terraces are reminiscent of Javanese tombs, symbolizes the pilgrimage from earthly life to perfection in nirvana, whereby the building also symbolizes the final resting place of its founder, who unites with the Buddha after his death. In a very similar way, the complex of Prambanan, which was also considered a symbol for the cosmos, is connected to a dead king, because the above-mentioned inscription speaks of a funeral service and explains that the dead king has united with Shiva.

That the king became a “part of Shiva” in death is also shown by the fact that during the reconstruction under a Shiva statue in the southern porch of the main staircase to the Shiva temple – exactly at the intersection of the diagonals of the entire complex – a cavity was discovered. in which there was an urn with ashes and grave goods. The entire complex served the deification of the ruler buried in it.

Prambanan Hindu Temple (World Heritage)