Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Candi Prambanan

Also view: Candi Mendut & Monastery, Candi Borobudur, Candi Borobudur - Photographs, Jogjakarta.

After a morning visiting Borobudur and Mendut, the hour and a half drive through the agriculturally prosperous Javanese countryside passed quickly. We arrived at Candi Prambanan in the early afternoon, and were surprised as we exited the van and were hit by the heat of the day that had crept up during our journey. As we approached, we caught our first glimpse of Candi Prambanan.
Candi Prambanan is one of Southeast Asia's largest Hindu temple complexes, dating back to the mid-9th century Mataram Kingdom. The temple's original name was 'Shiva-laya', meaning 'the Realm of Shiva', but was modified over the years to Prambanan (most likely derived from the term 'para brahman', meaning 'for the brahmins'; brahmins are those who have attained the highest state of spiritual enlightenment). The site is organized into three zones, starting with the outer zone demarcated by a large outer wall with four large gates. The middle zone is composed of 224 Pervara temples, arranged in four concentric squares. The inner zone is the holiest, elevated on a large stone platform and containing the 3 main Trimurti temples, 3 Vahana temples, 2 Apit temples, and 4 Kelir temples.
Candi Prambanan was unfortunately abandoned, just like its Buddhist counterpart Borobudur. It was rediscovered by the British in the same time period as Borobudur (19th century), but unfortunately was in ruins due to seismic activity. Rehabilitation efforts began in 1918, but extensive looting by foreigners and locals previous to this time proved to be a challenge. The only structures that have been reconstructed were those with at least 75% remains (the 16 temples of the inner zone and 2 of the 224 Pervara temples).
After making a quick trip by car to nearby Candi Sewu (to be discussed in a later post), Kristin and I returned to the gardens surrounding Candi Prambanan and enjoyed a nice picnic lunch in the shade of the trees before catching up with the rest of our group and heading back to Jogjakarta.

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