Discovering Prambanan 2023: Opening Hours, Admission, and Legend

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Prambanan is the grandest and largest Hindu temple ever built in ancient Java. The construction of this Hindu temple kingdom began with Rakai Pikatan, as a counterpart to the Buddhist Borobudur and the nearby Sewu Temple.

Some old historians suggest that the construction of this magnificent Hindu temple was a way to signify the return of the Sanjaya family’s influence over Java.

It’s linked to the theory of twin dynasties with different beliefs competing against each other: the Sanjaya dynasty, followers of Hinduism, and the Sailendra dynasty, followers of Buddhism.

Certainly, the construction of this temple marks the resurgence of support for the Shaiva sect of Hinduism by the royal family, after the Sailendra dynasty had previously leaned more towards Mahayana Buddhism.

It signifies a shift in the kingdom of Medang’s religious focus, from Mahayana Buddhism to the worship of Shiva.

Let’s explore the beauty of Prambanan with Yogyakarta Tours

History

Prambanan, also known as Roro Jonggrang Temple, is the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, dating back to the 9th century.

It’s a dedication to the Trimurti— the three main Hindu deities: Brahma, the creator; Vishnu, the preserver; and Shiva, the destroyer.

Originally named Siwagrha (Sanskrit for ‘House of Shiva’), the main shrine houses a three-meter-tall statue of Shiva Mahadeva, emphasizing Shiva’s significance in this temple.

Situated in the Prambanan district of Bokoharjo, Sleman, Yogyakarta, and Prambanan, Klaten, Central Java, it’s approximately 17 kilometers northeast of Yogyakarta, 50 kilometers southwest of Surakarta, and 120 kilometers south of Semarang, right on the border of Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

It’s a bit quirky—the administrative area of Bokoharjo, Prambanan, Sleman, houses Prambanan Temple, while the entrance falls under Tlogo village, Prambanan, Klaten, Central Java.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it’s not just the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia but also one of the most beautiful in Southeast Asia.

The architecture is tall and slender, typical of Hindu design, with the main Shiva temple soaring to a height of 47 meters in the midst of smaller surrounding temples. Being one of the grandest temples in Southeast Asia, Prambanan draws tourists from all corners of the globe.

As per the Siwagrha inscription, construction started around 850 AD by Rakai Pikatan and continued to evolve under Balitung Maha Sambu during the reign of the Medang Mataram kingdom.

Read More: 5 Secret Photography Spots at Prambanan: Revealed Only by Skilled Photographers!

Temple Complex

There are approximately 240 large and small temples in the Prambanan Temple complex, but only 18 have been successfully restored; the rest are scattered piles of stones.

Three out of the 8 main temples are called the Trimurti (“three forms”) temples, dedicated to the three highest Hindu gods: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Preserver, and Shiva the Destroyer.

The Shiva Temple in the center is the largest building in the Prambanan Temple complex, consisting of 5 chambers: east, south, west, north, and a central chamber.

The east chamber is connected to the main chamber, which houses a 3-meter-tall statue of Shiva Mahadeva. The north chamber contains the statue of Durga Mahisasuramardini, the wife of Shiva, who is referred to as Roro Jonggrang in the local legend.

Roro Jonggrang Old Folks

“According to the old folks, there’s a statue of a cursed princess at Prambanan Temple.” Without prompting, he began spinning the tale of the Prambanan legend.

Once upon a time, there was a stunning princess named Roro Jonggrang. Her beauty captivated a prince who sought her hand in marriage. Roro Jonggrang, in a polite refusal, set a condition for him to build a thousand temples overnight. To her surprise, Bandung Bondowoso agreed.

Bandung Bondowoso then sought the help of supernatural beings to construct a thousand temples in a single night. When 999 temples were already standing, Roro Jonggrang instructed the villagers to light bonfires and pound rice in mortars. The spirits, thinking dawn had arrived, fled helter-skelter.

Outraged by Roro Jonggrang’s deceit, Bandung Bondowoso cursed her into a stone statue to complete the one thousandth temple.

“That statue is still there, you can see it for yourself,” the taxi driver said.

Before we knew it, we were almost there. Roro Jonggrang Temple, towering at 47 meters, was visible from the highway. Wow, even from a distance, the beauty of this temple is truly captivating!

Reliefs Ramayana Story

Prambanan Temple is adorned with reliefs that tell the stories of Ramayana and Krishnayana.

The Ramayana narrative begins with the birth of Rama, the abduction of Sita (Rama’s wife) by Rahwana, Hanuman’s (the monkey general) efforts to rescue Sita, the reunion of Rama and Sita, and ultimately, the handing over of the throne from Rama to his son.

These Ramayana story reliefs are carved on the inner walls along the gallery surrounding the main temple. The story unfolds by circling the temple clockwise, starting from the east side of the Shiva temple (42 scenes) and continuing to the Brahma temple (30 scenes).

Not far from Prambanan Temple, the eternal love story of Rama and Sita is also performed in the form of a dance drama every Tuesday night, Thursday night, and Saturday night.

The Ramayana Prambanan dance drama holds the Guinness World Records for the dance performance involving the most dancers and as the longest and most regularly performed Ramayana dance drama from 1961 to 2012.

Just as London and New York have The Phantom of the Opera, Jogja has the Ramayana Dance Drama.

During the dry season, the performance takes place outdoors, with Prambanan Temple illuminated as the backdrop.

Ticket and Operational Hours

The regular ticket counter opens every day from 08:00 to 17:15, but you can get in earlier by opting for the Pruputan package (from 06:30 to 08:00). The best time to visit Prambanan Temple is in the early morning when the air is still fresh.

Vehicles can enter the parking area until 17:15.

On Mondays, visitors are not allowed into the temple courtyard.

The entrance fee for Prambanan Temple is Rp50,000 for adults and Rp25,000 for children aged 3-10. There’s a 50% discount for student groups, a minimum of 20 people.

Read More: Exploring the Wonders of Borobudur 2023: Opening Hours, Admission, and the Thrill of Ascending the Temple

Updated Rules

Here are some updated rules at Prambanan Temple gathered from various sources:

  1. Visitors must use the PeduliLindungi application.
  2. Children under 12 are allowed to enter Prambanan Temple if accompanied by vaccinated parents.
  3. Since mid-2020, visitors are not allowed to climb the temple. Therefore, access is limited to the courtyard/temple grounds (zone 1). This rule may continue to apply.
  4. At 3:00 PM, the Prambanan Temple courtyard (zone 1) will be cleared of visitors. However, access is allowed in zone 2 until 6:00 PM.
  5. Every Monday, visitors are not allowed to enter the Prambanan Temple courtyard. Access is limited to the garden area only (zone 2).
  6. Bringing outside food and drinks is prohibited.

Let’s Explore Java!

Embark on an unforgettable journey to Java, Indonesia, where a world of wonders awaits! Java, the heart and soul of Indonesia, is a treasure trove of diverse landscapes, rich cultural heritage, and breathtaking experiences.

Find out the package now from Yogyakarta Tours:

  • 1 Day Tours:

Borobudur Sunrise

Prambanan Ramayana Ballet

Timang Beach

and more…

  • Multidays Tours

10 Days Tour in Java Island

3 Days Tour in Yogyakarta

 

Author: Pramitha Chandra

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