Monday, December 27, 2010

Prambanan temple, Indonesia - Hinduism in Java

Just about 40 kms away from Yogyakarta, this is the site that actually stole all the thunder. As I mentioned earlier, Borobudur wasn't as grand as I expected it to be and so I went with lowered expectations to Prambanan. Prambanan is very accessible via multiple buses from Yogyakarta. However, since we had rented the taxi for the day, we went by car. Took us around 40 minutes to get there and about 2 hours to get back! (Coz of the traffic).

Well back to the temple. I really have no clue as to where to whom describing the magnificence and splendor of this archeological structure. Being a Hindu myself, I could connect with the carvings at the temple and the story line behind it.

There are three huge towers called Candi(s). That's pronounced Chandis. The largest one in the center is for lord shiva ( the destroyer), the one on the left for lord Brahma (the creator) and the one on the right for Lord Vishnu ( the preserver). There were 3 slightly smaller candis for the vaahanams or "vehicles" of the gods - Nandi ( the cow) , Vaayu ( the vulture) and Hansa (the swan).

Around these larger temples, there were originally 220 smaller temples. However, multiple natural disasters such as the earthquakes and volcanoes have destroyed most of them leaving behind only 2 of them ( yes, that's not a typo - TWO).

Each of the temples have an idol inside them and this is the first time I've seen an idol of Lord Brahma in a temple. And such a large statue. Also unique is the fact that all the three gods forming the trinity were present next to each other.

Another very iteresting fact is that inside the large Shiva temple, there are engravings of the RAMAYANA! Ram is an avatar of Lord Vishnu. The large candi ( Shiva's) was closed to the public for restoration work and I couldn't see inside.

I was surprised to see that people were allowed to walk into the temples wish their shoes and photos were being clicked randomly inside the altar. This isn't the case in India where you aren't allowed to walk into the temple premises with your footwear!

The guide who took us around also mentioned that restoration work was happening in phases and that it would be practically impossible to restore the 220 temples since they didn't have enough stones available for the same.

I guess Hindus around the works should get together to fund the requirements of this restoration process.

Check out the pics to form your own opinion. In mine, it's a well worthy trip made and the temple inspires awe and pride at our religion Hinduism.

We had our lunch at the restaurant at the temple premises and it was well worth it. To be safe when you're ordering in Indonesia, order the Nasi goreng ( with only vegetables if you are vegetarian). The service was good and the prices were reasonable.

Also note that the entry costs 11USD for foreigners and 7USD if you are a student. I was first wondering why this discrimination but after Borobudur, I'm just loving this tourism idea. They charge us more, but they welcome us at a separate area, give you a welcome drink ( coffee, tea or water) that's on the house. Nice. And they also have people who speak English well here.

I've cut down the sizes of the pics since it's really struggling to get online wit my slower mobile connection! Also, will upload more pics and videos later.

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