The Prambanan Plain, Land of Ancient Ruins (part 2 of 3)


The Candi Sari

Only a few hundred meters from Kalasan Ruin, we can find the ruin of Candi Sari. Constructed at the same time when Kalasan was built, around 778 AD, as mentioned in Kalasan Inscription. Only 2 km away from Prambanan Temple.

This Buddhist Temple is easy to find. If you see the Kremlin Mosque, a Mosque that looks like the Orthodox Church in Kremlin, make a  left turn. Small road with only 200 meters away from the ruin.

Buddhist Monastery

The ruin of Candi Sari served as Buddhist Monastery. Unlike other temples I have seen previously, this ruin has two levels and 5 rooms or spaces inside. It is said that the upper level of the ruin were the rooms for the Buddhist monks to rest.

The center room was the worship place and supposed to have Budha statue on its corner. The stairs to the second level made of wooden, which easily to decay over time.

It has a rectangular shape with the main door at the center, supposedly to have stairs like other ancient ruins, which has gone.

There are five windows on the front face of the ruin, one above the main door and the other four are on the left and right side of the main door. Another four windows on each side of the ruin and two at the back.

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The Candi Sari

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View from the front of the temple

Kinnara and Kinnari

Each window is decorated beautifully with Buddhist Deities and the Kinnara and Kinnari relief bass, mythical creatures that have bird body with a human head. Some damaged small stupas are found on the top of the ruin.

This ruin, like the Kalasan ruin, is a single building. There is no trace of other building in the surrounding area. It is nice to just sit on a wooden chair provided and enjoy this ancient building.

There was no other visitor at the time. I think this ruin is much less famous than the other. It offers tranquility we cannot find in other ruins. In the end, it’s all we need to deeply impregnate the ancestor’s glory.

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Relief Bodhisattva at Temple’s Wall

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C;loser view of the Relief Bass

The Prambanan Temple Compound

At estimated 2 km from the Candi Sari, we will find the magnificent Prambanan Temple Compound. Located in the Prambanan Village, Klaten Regency.

The Prambanan Temple Compound, together with some other ruins, is located in the same area. We can just walk to explore all of them. Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu Temple Compound ever built in Indonesia Archipelago.

Dedicated to Trimurti Gods

It consists of three main temples at the center dedicated to the Trimurti or the three main Hindu Gods Brahma, Siva and Visnu. The Siva Temple would be the largest of them all and was built at the center.

There are also two smaller ruins, Candi Apit, and as many as 240 small ruins of Candi Perwara at the outer circle of the compound. Most of them have become a heap of rocks, but some are in good condition after restorations.

The Sanjaya Dynasty of Medang Kemulan Kingdom built the Prambanan Temple Complex and said to compete for the preceding dynasty’s, the Syailendra, glorious monument of Borobudur which was a Buddhist.

It was built at around 8th AD, at approximately 5 centuries before the construction of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. There are no words worthy enough to describe it’s a beautiful design.

Therefore, Prambanan Temple is absolutely one of the most beautiful ancient structures in Indonesia, a must visit before you die.

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View from outer wall

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Prambanan Temple Complex view from west side

Story of Ramayana

On the foot structure of the temples, we can see relief bass telling the story of Ramayana Epic and the ancient life of Javanese people. Each structure has well-designed stairs with two lions like beast statues on its end.

On the other hand, like many other ruins found in Java, the Kalamangkara or Mythical Beast head found on each entrance of the structures. This is the one feature that originated from Javanese culture and found nowhere else in the world.

Moreover,  statues of Hindu’s Deities reside in each of the main temples that give the name of each building. They are The Temple of Brahma, Temple of Siva and The Temple of Visnu.

Together with the statue of their vehicles namely Candi Nandi, Candi Angsa and Candi Garuda. Each is the Vahana or Vehicle of Siva, Brahma, and Visnu.

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Story of Ramayana at Relief Bass

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Charriot Depiction at Relief Bass

Legend of Roro Jonggrang Princess

Talking about Prambanan Temple Compound is not complete if we forget to mention its construction according to local legend. Once upon a time, there was a beautiful princess of the Medang Kingdom with the name Roro Jongrang.

The Most Beautiful Princess

Despite being the most beautiful woman at the time. Many have proposed the Princess, and to many She rejected.

Until, a one prince called Bandung Bondowoso, a powerful man that holds the power over spirits.

One day, He proposed to marry Roro Jonggrang, and She refused. Only that, she did it in a polite way since She’s afraid of the man’s power that could harm Her or Her Royal Family.

The Mighty Prince vs. The Smart Princess

She asked, She thought it is impossible, to Bandung Bondowoso to build a large temple complex, which consists of as many as a thousand temples in a night. Having great power over spiritual beings. He agreed to the terms.

He then, with the help of spiritual beings, started to build the temples. In the midnight, they almost finished the work.

At the same time, Roro Jonggrang realized that Bandung Bondowoso is capable of fulfilling Her term to built the temple complex. She had an idea of how to make the man fails.

So She started to wake up the villagers to start their morning routines, which is to pound the rice on “Penumbuk Padi”, a traditional rice pounding tool.

As the work started, the rooster started to crow as they hear the sound of the rice pounding by the villagers. Roro Jonggrang also asked the villagers to lit a fire from the east side of the Kingdom, as if the sun is rising.

Knowing that the sun has almost risen, all the spiritual beings started to run away and hide, leaving the work unfinished. He became furious to Roro Jonggrang and seek revenge after his failure.

She Completed the Work

Roro Jonggrang

Statue of Roro Jonggrang or the Durga Goddess

So He looked after Roro Jonggrang immediately. Once He found Her, He put a spell to Roro Jonggrang to become the last Statue to complete the work.

The statue of Roro Jonggrang is now residing in the Temple of Siva as the Durga Goddess.

Which is why the Prambanan Temple Compound is also famous for its nickname Roro Jonggrang Temple. It is one of the Javanese ancestor’s heritage as spoken folklore.

Continue to read The Prambanan Plain, Land of Ancient Ruins (part 3 of 3)

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