Prambanan Temple Complex – World Cultural Heritage in Indonesia

Prambanan is the largest Buddhist and Hindu (Hindu) temple complex in Southeast Asia.

English name: Prambanan Temple Compounds
Location: Central Java Province
Year of recognition: 1991
Criteria: (i)(iv)

The population includes Prambanan main temple, Sewu temple, Bubrah temple and Lumbung . templeinside Prambanan Archaeological Parkabout 18 km east of Yogyakarta city, the capital of Yogyakarta province.

The Prambanan temple complex was built of stone during the heyday of the Sanjaya dynasties (Sanjaya Dynasty, existed 732–947). This was the ancient Javanese dynasty that started the Medang Kingdom (Medang Kingdom or Mataram Kingdom, which existed in later Central and East Java. The Sanjaya dynasties actively promoted Hinduism).

During this period, the Sanjaya dynasty coexisted peacefully alongside the neighboring Sailendra dynasty (Shailendra Dynasty, existed 650 – 1025. The Sailendra dynasty differed from the Sanjaya dynasty by actively promoting Mahayana Buddhism. It is famous for its Buddhist monuments, including the giant stupa Borobudur (also a World Heritage Site).

The Sanjaya dynasty maintained close ties with the Champa kingdom (which existed 192–1832) in mainland Southeast Asia. This is evidenced by many similarities with the architectural style of the temples in central Java built during the reign of the Sanjaya dynasty.

The Prambanan temple complex is a royal temple, where many Hindu religious rituals and sacrifices are held. In its heyday, thousands of Brahmins and their disciples lived around the Temple Complex.

Adjacent to the Temple Complex was the capital of the Medang Kingdom, in the Prambanan plain.

prambanan temple complex - world cultural heritage in indonesia

In the 930s, the political center of Medang was moved to East Java. Since then, the temple complex has been abandoned, forgotten and gradually damaged.

The temples in the Complex collapsed in a great earthquake in the 16th century and were looted. In 1811, an explorer stumbled upon Prambanan and discovered the Complex.

It was not until 1918 that the restoration began and continues to this day. The main temple was largely restored in 1953. Currently, a large number of temples cannot be restored and only the foundation remains. In 1990, a number of religious ceremonies began to be revived here. In 2006, the Temple Complex was damaged by a large earthquake.

With more than 500 temples, the Prambanan Temple Complex is not only an architectural and cultural treasure, but also a testament to the past of peaceful coexistence between religions.

Prambanan temple architecture

1. Prambanan Main Temple

Prambanan Temple (Prambanan Temple), also known as Loro Jonggrang Temple, is a complex consisting of 240 temples; One of the largest Hindu temple complexes in Indonesia and one of the largest temple complexes in Southeast Asia.

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The temple complex, built in the 9th century, represents the shift from Mahayana Buddhism to Hinduism in Central and East Java. This is the place to worship the three supreme Hindu gods (Trimurti), including the creator god Brahma, the sustainer Vishnu and the god of destruction Shiva.

The first temple complex of the temple complex was completed in the mid-9th century, then continued to be enlarged in later years.

Tripadvisor |  Prambanan Temple Tour |  Yogyakarta Region, Indonesia

Prambanan Temple has a square plan, arranged in the north-south direction. At the middle axes protrudes a small block, which is the entrance. The temple is divided into two main areas: the central area and the surrounding area. Around the Temple Complex is a large space, marked by the ruins of stone walls.

The central area has a square plan, including:

3 temples dedicated to the three great Hindu gods

3 temples dedicated to the three great Hindu gods (Trimurti): Visnu, Shiva and Brahma; the layout is on a line in the north-south direction. The temple of Lord Shiva is located in the middle. The two sides are temples of the gods Visnu and Brahma. This layout creates the temple area with the main direction facing east and was built for the purpose of worshiping the god Shiva.

The temple of Lord Shiva is the tallest and largest building structure in the central area, the bottom is 34m wide and 47m high. Main entrance from the east. Around the Temple are decorated with stone reliefs telling the epic and the Hindu scripture Ramayana. Inside the temple, the nave worships Shiva; 3 north, west and south worship guardian deities.

The temple of Vishnu and the temple of Brahma have the same shape, 20m wide, 33m high; there is only one worship space.

The 3 temples of Vahana

3 Vahana temples: dedicated to the helping gods (Vahana): Garuda (the bird for Visnu), Nandi (the cow for Shiva) and Hamsa (the swan for Brahma). The 3 temples are located in a row parallel to the 3 temples of Trimurti. Nandi Temple is located in the middle, in front of Shiva Temple. 3 temples have the same form and smaller scale than 2 temples of Visnu and Brahma.

2 shrines of Apit

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2 temples of Apit : located between the rows of temples of Trimurti and Vahana, in the north and south of the Central Area; small scale. The southern temple is dedicated to Sarasvati, the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. The northern temple worships Lakshmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth, fortune and prosperity with four arms representing: i) Dharma (Dharma- moral, moral life); ii) Passion (Kama – pleasure, sensation, sex); iii) Prosperity (Artha – wealth); iv) Liberation (Moksha – liberation, self-actualization).

4 Patok shrines

4 Patok shrines : located on the 4 corners of the Central Area ; small scale.

4 shrines of Kelir

4 Kelir shrines: located on 4 main directions right at 4 main gates of Central Area; small scale.

The area surrounding the Central Area is a strip of space, forming a square, 225m long on each side.

On this strip of space are arranged 224 guardian temples (Candi Pervara), arranged in 4 concentric square rows; the number of temples inside and out: 44, 52, 60 and 68. The Pervara temples have the same size, 14m high, the ground floor of the tower is 6m x 6m. Most of the temples of Pervara remain only foundation ruins.

2. Sewu Đền Temple

Sewu Temple or Pagoda (Sewu Temple Compound), the full name is Candi Sewu (in Javanese, means “thousand temples”), but the official name is Manjusrigrha (meaning “house of the Bodhisattva”). , is the second largest Buddhist temple complex in Central Java after Borobudur Pagoda (Borobudur, Java Indonesia, built in the 9th century; World Heritage Site in 1991). Sewu Tower Pagoda is the prototype of Prambanan Main Temple, located about 800m from the temple.

The existence of two groups of Buddhist temples and Hindu temples close to each other shows the harmony between the two religions in Central Java at that time.

Sewu Temple was built in the 8th century, during the reign of King Rakai Panangkaran (746 – 784) – a famous king of the Medang kingdom whose main religion is Mahayana Buddhism, completed in the next king’s reign. After a long time of oblivion, devastated by earthquakes and looted, the temple was discovered in the early 19th century. In 1981, the temple was thoroughly studied. In 2006, the temple was badly damaged in the 2006 earthquake, then was restored.

The floor plan of Sewu Temple is rectangular, 185m long in the north-south direction, 165m in length in the east-west direction. There are 4 main entrances in 4 main directions east, west, south and north. Each entrance has two statues of the gatekeeper Dvarapala.

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Sewu Pagoda has 249 temples, distributed according to the shape called the Mandala (Mandala – a drawing representing the image of the universe in miniature, where one or more gods reside), including one main and largest temple located in the main temple. In the middle, surrounded by 248 small towers arranged in 4 rows of interlocking rectangles around the central main temple.

The main temple has a diameter of 29m and a height of 30m. The plan is a cross-shaped 20-sided polygon, built of stone. The main temple has 5 rooms, a large room in the center and four small rooms in the 4 main directions. Existing lotus remains show that the centerpiece of the temple is a bronze statue (or stone statue) of Buddhism (possibly a bronze statue of Manjushri Bodhisattva).

The small temples have similar designs, the same square shape, but each temple has a different orientation and has its own style of worshiping statue. The 176 temples of the two outer rows are smaller than the 72 temples of the inner two rows. The statues in the temple are made of bronze. On the east-west and south-north axis, between the third and fourth rows of small temples, there are guard temples (perwara). These temples are smaller than the central stupa, but larger than the smaller minarets.

3. Bubrah . Temple

Bubrah Temple is a Buddhist temple located between Prambanan Main Temple and Sewu Tower Temple. The temple was built in the 9th century, the same time as Sewu Tower Temple.

The temple has a size of 12mx12m, currently only stone ruins remain.

4. Lumbung . Temple

Lumbung Temple (Lumbung Temple) is a Buddhist temple, dedicated to Manjushri Bodhisattva, located next to Bubrah Temple and between Prambanan Main Temple and Sewu Pagoda. The temple was built in the 9th century, around the same time as the two neighboring Buddhist temples. The temple has many similarities with Sewu Tower Temple, but on a smaller scale.

The temple complex consists of one main temple, surrounded by 16 smaller temples. The temple faces the east and is also the place where the main entrance is arranged.

Map of the Prambanan . Temple Complex

Map of Prambanan Temple

Map of Sewu Đền Temple

Map of Bubrah . Temple

Map of Lumbung . Temple

Video about Prambanan . Temple Complex

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