Route 1A of the Trans Jogja Bus (0.09USD) was our gateway to the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia.

Appearing a speck while seated in one corner surrounded by a multitude of towering temples inside the vast compound, we were finally at Prambanan Temple complex, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Central Java, Indonesia.

The Prambanan complex is open daily from 6AM to 6PM.  There is a separate entry point for foreigners and for locals, and that admission fee for locals costs less. From the terminal of Trans Jogja bus we have to walk to reach the entrance of the complex and it was midday, thus the sweltering heat.  Fortunately, the ticket booth for foreigners is air-conditioned and provides free water, tea and coffee.  Admission rate for foreigners is approximately IDR225,000 (16.88USD) or IDR100,000 (7.5USD) for students.

A large well-landscaped park houses the Prambanan temple.  Though there are guides available that comes with an additional fee, we opted to wander by ourselves and do the necessary research afterwards.

As we pass by sets of garden, the massive Hindu temples then came into view.  Stones were scattered as well, remnants of the old temple complex.  It is said that there were once 240 temples that stood in the complex.  Today, all of 8 main temples and 8 small shrines in inner zone are reconstructed, but only 2 out of the 224 pervara temples are renovated.  Majority have deteriorated and some are the scattered stones that we see.

There were students having educational trips when we visited the temple complex.  By the art of eavesdropping from the lectures of their tour guide, I had a few insights of the temple’s history without any cost.  There are even times that I nod with acknowledgement and the tour guide will look at my direction while I dodge glances and immediately took photos of whatever.

The Prambanan temple or Candi Rara Jonggrang is a 9th century Hindu temple dedicated to the Trimutri, the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.

In an inevitable attempt to breathe and feel the fresh air, I sat on one of the benches under the shade of the lone tree at an elevation of the temple complex housing the main three temples.  From a distance, the panels of narrative bas-reliefs adorning these religious structures were visible.  I obliged to come closer and scrutinize. It conveys something.  A story perhaps.

As per a guide informing the students on tour, the bas-reliefs convey the story of Hindu epics Ramayana and Bhagavata Purana.  It was truly intricately-made and inspiring how their culture and the arts is preserved in this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The Prambanan Temple Complex encompassing high towering spires of Hindu temples is vast that a whole day may be allotted to substantially cover the area but for us, it only took hours to conclude that the site is worthy of its inscription as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thus the need to be preserved for the appreciation of the generations to come.

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  1. We are not really fond of temples, but that place sure looks amazing! Look at that intricate architecture!