Thursday, December 24, 2009

Ba Ba Banana... Prambanan...Ba ba da da!

So, after Borobudur, we were on our way to Prambanan, the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia. We first stopped at a small temple close to Borobudur, the Mendut Temple, to check out the 3m-high Buddha.

And then we were off to continue our path to enlightenment.

Prambanan was also built in the 9th century, by the same king who build Borobudur, but while Borobudur is a Buddhist temple, Prambanan is primarily a Hindu temple.

It's really impossible for me to capture this or any of these large temples with a standard digital camera!

The main part of the complex has 6 temples, three very large ones housing Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, and three smaller ones directly across from them. The main temple stands 47 meters high and houses Shiva, the chief diety of the Hindu faith. Unfortunately these temples were severely damaged by a 5.9 earth quake that hit Yogyakarta in 2006. Consequently, all but one of the smaller ones was closed to visitors, and so we weren’t able to get too close or walk inside.

Walking around this site, it’s really hard to imagine that these things were built without any modern-day equipment – no cranes or bull dozers… I can’t imagine the man power that must have been required to make a 47-meter high shrine like this one.

Also part of the Prambanan complex is another area with Buddhist shrines – wouldn’t it be amazing if all religions could peacefully coexist as beautifully has Hinduism and Buddhism do??

This site is also under some serious reconstruction, due to the 2006 earth quake

But even before the earthquake, many of the smaller temples, both Hindu and Buddhist, have been in ruins for hundreds of years, due to serious neglect. Soon after the temples here were completed, they were “mysteriously abandoned” according to my Lonely Planet Guide, and weren’t discovered again until the 19th century.

According to our guide, before reconstruction began in 1937, local people were known to come by and take stones from the ruble to use as materials for building their own houses!

Nonetheless, the site was very impressive!

After a full day of exploring these temples, we made it back to our hotel for a long nap and a relaxing final evening in Yogyakarta. Tomorrow (12/20), we’ll be on a train to Jakarta where we’ll end our 2-week stay in Indonesia and head to Thailand!

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