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Capture the Legendary Beauty of Prambanan Temple
You might have (or maybe not) heard the folktale of Loro Jonggrang that have been passed down from generations in Java, particularly in Central Java. Legend of Loro Jonggrang tells about Prince Bandung Bandowoso who fell in love and proposed to Princess Loro Jonggrang, whom declined his proposal because she knew the Prince was the one who killed her giant father King Boko. Under Bandung Bondowoso's persistence, the grieving princess was forced to agree on the union of two kingdoms in marriage. She, however, inquired the prince to build her a well named Jatalunda. The prince finished the construction and showed it to the princess. The princess tried to kill him by asking him to enter the well and later he was buried alive with pile of stones. He managed to get out alive, and he still forgiven Loro Jonggrang since he was smitten with her. It leads the princess to execute her last resort by requesting Bandung Bondowoso to build a thousand temples in only one night. Once again, using his supernatural powers Bandung Bondowoso summoned supernatural beings to help him with the construction and managed to build 999 of the temples. Knowing that Bandung Bondowoso was about to meet her supposed to be impossible request, Loro Jonggrang went to woke her palace maids and ordered them to tell all women in the village to pound rice and set a fire in the eastern side of the temple. Her quick plan went smoothly as the supernatural beings fled back to the ground as they thought the morning has come. After he knew Loro Jonggrang tricked her, Bandung Bondowoso was infuriated and he cursed the princess into a statue and automically become the thousandth piece for the temple. Though obviously it was just a folktale, the legend itself was allegedly based on real-life figures. Bandung Bondowoso was believed to be vague local memory of Rakai Pikatan, while Loro Jonggrang was Pramodhawardhani, Rakai Pikatan's wife and Sailendran King named King Samaratungga that inspired the figure of King Boko. The legend was most likely created based on vague memory of local Javanese people about long battles between two dynasties, Sailendra and Sanjaya who fought over lands of Java. Legend of Loro Jonggrang however, stays to be one of the most popular folktale that connect Prambanan Temple with other historical sites nearby, such as Ratu Boko Palace, the Durga Statue (which is said to be Loro Jonggrang herself), and the ruins of Sewu Temple complex.
Located in the central of Prambanan Temple complex is Temple Shiva Mahadeva. The temple is easily noticeable since it is the largest and also the finest of all temples. The temple is decorated with various carvings depicting plants and also animals. Few of the most recognizable ones are carving of Kalpataru tree, also known as a tree of heaven, and Kinnara or Hinduism version of a Harpy, a mythical being that took form of half-human and half-bird. Visitors can also find relief depicting events of Ramayana involving the story of Princess Sinta's kidnapping by Rahwana and how she was rescued by the monkey god Hanuman and the white monkey named Sugriwa. Stepping inside the main chamber, you'll find the statue of four-armed Shiva the Destroyer standing on a huge lotus pedestal, while on the southern cell is Shiva's reincarnation as Divine Teacher named Agastya, a pot-bellied figure with his long beard. While on the western cell is a statue of Ganesha, Shiva's Son depicted as a God with elephant head that also ruled as the God of Knowledge. While on the northern cell is Durga, Shiva's consort depicted in her glory stepping on the demon buffalo's head. Many locals believe that the Durga Statue is Loro Jonggrang statue that was cursed by Bandung Bondowoso.
Right at the northern side of Temple Shiva Mahadeva is Temple Vishnu. The temple was built to worship Vishnu, the God of Preserver. While it is a bit smaller in height than Shiva's Temple Vishnu is still stunning in its own unique way. Circling the outer side of the temple are reliefs telling the story of Lord Krishna and his role as a hero of the Mahabrata epic. Head to the inner chamber by climbing on the stone staircase to discover the four-armed stone figurine of God Vishnu.
Located at the southern side of Temple Shiva Mahadeva is Temple Brahma, also known as the twin of Vishnu temple for its height. The temple is decorated with beautiful reliefs depicting the final story of Mahabrata. Enter its inner chamber where you'll be welcomed with a sight of four-headed statue of Brahma in his form as the God of Creation.
Temple Sewu, or The Thousand Temples complex was supposed to be the temples' part that the supernatural beings failed to complete. The truth is the temple are the largest Buddhist compound coexisting peacefully with Prambanan temple located 1.5 km to the temple's Southern side. Some parts of the temple complex are pretty much under construction, though you can see 240 small guard temples encircling the complex. The main temple's reconstruction has been completed and all visitors are allowed to enter and get bedazzled by carved niches that used to held the bronze statues.
How to Get Tickets?
You can purchase the entrance tickets to Prambanan Temple complex on the site, although be aware that it can be insanely crowded during holidays. It's far better to purchase them online to avoid all the hassles. It's also highly recommended to buy the joint Prambanan - Kraton Ratu Boko package for only $40 for adults and $25 for children under 10 years old. You can also purchase a combined ticket for a tour to Prambanan and Borobudur Temple located nearby.
How To Get Around?
You can get around Prambanan Temple complex on foot, though if you purchase combined tickets to other temple attractions located nearby (such as Ratu Boko Temple and Sewu Temples), you can ride on a fancy shuttle toy train for free to one destination to another.
What Should I Wear?
There's no set of dresscode applied for tourists who wish to visit Prambanan Temple. Be aware that first, the Prambanan Temple can be extremely hot especially during the day, and two, you'll do a lot of stairs climbing. Be sure to wear the most comfortable breathable T-Shirt or long-sleeved shirt paired with denim pants. Dresses are clearly not a smart choice except if your aim is only to take pictures on the ground level. Don't forget to also wear the most comfortable walking shoes.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit Prambanan Temple is obviously early in the morning, preferrably few hours before sunrise or few hours before the sunset. The weather will be cooler and feels much more comfortable, plus you'll get to see the most spectacular view of sunrise or sunset.
Will I Need a Guide?
No, hiring a guide isn't necessary since you'll find most informations you need in this website.
How To Get There?
To reach Prambanan Temple, you can take TransYogyakarta Buses Route 1A or 1B and get off at Terminal Prambanan. It will costs you about Rp3,600.