Located not far from the Buddhist Borobudur temple, the proximity of the two temples tells us that on Java, Buddhism and Hinduism lived peacefully next to one another. Prambanan is a magnificent spectacle and an icon of Indonesia’s cultural heritage. The temples at Prambanan were built in the 9th century and is known locally as Roro Jonggrang, coming from the legend of the ‘slender virgin’.
The biggest temple is dedicated to Shiva – the destroyer, and the two smaller ones which sit on its right and left are dedicated to Brahma, the creator, and Wisnhu, the sustainer. The tallest temple of Prambanan is a staggering 47 meters high. Its peak visible from far away and rises high above the ruins of the other temples.
After hundreds of years of neglect, the Prambanan temple was rediscovered by CA Lons, a Dutchman, in 1733. Since then, this temple has been revitalized and today is widely regarded as the most beautiful and graceful Hindu temple in Indonesia. The grandeur, complexity, and integrated architectural concept of Prambanan makes this a truly amazing structure. As a unique cultural and architectural marvel, Prambanan was declared a World Heritage site in 1991 by UNESCO.
Visitors to Prambanan wander around the temples on foot. This is the best way to enjoy the lush landscape and take in the detailed architecture and design of the temples up close.
This temple compound covers 39.8 hectares. In the main yard, there are the three main temples, as well as three Wahana temples, two Apit temples, and eight Patok temples surrounded by fences. In the second yard, there are another 224 Perwara temples. Wandering around here and examining the intricate stonework will be enough to keep you busy all day!
Compared to the temples in Angkor Wat, the temples of Prambanan are much easier to navigate and more tourist-friendly. The area surrounding Prambanan is developed, with a landscaped park and stores selling tourist souvenirs. While it’s not a temple set in a remote rustic setting, the splendor of the temple will make you quickly forget your surroundings. You will be transported back to an ancient time where ritual and culture dominated every part of life.
The closest cities to Prambanan, are either Yogyakarta or Semarang. Garuda Indonesia, Mandala, Merpati Nusantara Airlines and a number of domestic airlines fly to these cities from Jakarta and other large cities in Indonesia. AirAsia is the first international airline that flies direct from Kuala Lumpur to Yogyakarta.
From Yogyakarta, you can rent a car to go to Klaten. From there, you can walk to the temple. If have been busy and are really tired of walking, you can always call for a becak. With the cost of about Rp 10,000 the Becak driver will bring you right up to the entrance gate of the Temple, not far from the ticket box.