Prambanan is a complex of Buddhist and Hindu temples that now form an archaeological park of the same name. It is located in the suburbs of Yogyakarta on the island of Java, Indonesia.
Here the two religions, Buddhism and Hinduism, peacefully coexist. In 1991, UNESCO listed Prambanan as a World Heritage Site.
The most popular part of Prambanan is the Lara Jongrang Hindu temple complex.
The structure of the Lara Jongrang complex
The ensemble of six temples is a symbol of Trimurti (Sanskrit for “three faces”). Three large temples and three small temples.
The three big ones are the triad of the major Hindu gods:
- Brahma the Creator.
- Vishnu is the Preserver.
- Shiva is the Destroyer.
At the head of the trio is a temple dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva. The height is more than 45 meters, the width of the base wall is more than 30 meters. A huge three-meter statue of the deity is located in the middle of this Temple. On the sides of the Temple of Shiva are two others, slightly smaller, dedicated to the deities Brahma and Vishnu. And directly in front of them are miniature temples dedicated to the vahanas of these gods. Vahana in Indian mythology is a sacred animal on which a certain deity moves. Shiva has a bull, Nandi, Brahma has a swan, Hamsa, and Vishnu has a cross between an eagle and a man, Garuda.
The walls of the temples are covered with reliefs from the Indian epic Ramayan. In total, there are more than 40 compositions, made very wonderfully and realistically, it is impossible to take your eyes off. And the walls of the Temple of Shiva are covered with a fine pattern, resembling marvelous carpets.
The Temple complex is located on a separate platform with a balustrade, around which are more than 200 tombs of relatives of the raja. Each tomb is dedicated to a particular deity who was their patron. Stairs lead to the platform on four sides of the world. The Lara Jongrang temple complex is probably the most exquisite structure of all on the island of Java.
The history of the complex
The history of construction began at the end of the 8th century. Legend has it that Prince Bandung Bondovoso, desperately in love with Lara Jongrang, the daughter of Raja Prambanan, once wooed her father. But the maiden resisted the bridegroom and, intending to deceive him, asked him first to build a thousand temples. And not just build, but have it done by the next morning. The prince had only one night, but the workers worked hard and by morning the last temple was to be built. The obstinate bride beckoned her people to light fires to imitate the dawn.
So the prince did not have time to fulfill his wish and, in a terrible rage, cursed his beloved. Then Lara Jongrang turned into a stone statue as beautiful as the 999 temples… it is still in the north side of the Shiva Temple to this day. Also called Chandi Durga – “hard to reach”, she is one of the most famous and revered goddesses of Hinduism, she has eight arms.