Prambanan: Historical Temples Zone in Indonesia

Wonderful Borobudur: The Biggest Temple in Indonesia:

Prambanan: Historical Temples Zone in Indonesia

Another temple my friends and I visited was Prambanan Temple, also known as Rara Jonggrang Temple, located in Yogyakarta, Indonesia.

There are two different stories about this temple:


A Legend Story

The legend told is a story of Rara Jonggrang, Prabu Baka's daughter.

There was a man, Bandung Bondowoso from Pengging Kingdom who fell in love with her and proposed. Rara Jonggrang couldn't refuse him because of the political situation, so she asked Bandung Bondowoso to build her one thousand temples before dawn, if he succeeded, she would marry him.

Bandung Bondowoso helped by goblins built 999 temples when midnight came. Rara Jonggrang, who didn't want to marry him, asked the girls in the village to make some noise: hitting the rice pestle. Because of the noise, the roosters crowed and the goblins stopped their work.

Bandung Bondowoso couldn't finish the temple; he was so angry to Rara Jonggrang that he cursed her into a statue.


A History Story

The other story tells that Prambanan temple was built for Trimurti (Hindhu gods): Brahma, Wisnu, Siwa in 850 AD.

The name of Prambanan came from Javanese accent "Para Brahman" (The Brahmans).


The main entrance is on the East.

When we got into the temple zone, we found several temples:

  1. Kelir Temples (4): built by each entrance
  2. Patok Temples (4): built at the corners
  3. Perwara Temples (224): unfortunately, they were crumbled because of the earthquakes
  4. Apit Temples (2): built between Trimurti and Wahana temples (South and North sides)
  5. Wahana Temples (3): Nandi temple, Garuda temple, Angsa temple
  6. Trimurti Temples (3): Siwa temple, Wisnu temple, Brahma temple


Nandi temple was built in front of Siwa temple, Garuda (kind of eagle) in front of Wisnu, Angsa (goose) in front of Brahma. Wahana temples represent the ride of those gods

My friends and I went into Nandi temple, and inside is a nandi (cow) statue. However, we didn't go inside the Garuda and Angsa Temple.

Brahma and Wisnu temples were built for them. In Brahma temple there is Brahma statue, while in Wisnu temple Wisnu statue. Brahma temple is on the south of Siwa temple, and Wisnu temple is on the north.


Siwa temple is the most sacred and biggest one.

There are four small rooms and one main room called garbagriha at the center. In the East room was the Siwa Mahadewa statue (3 meters height). It shows the Lakçana (symbols) of Siwa: chandrakapala (skull on the crescent), jatamakuta (crown), dan trinetra (the third eye) on his forehead. It has four arms holding aksamala (prayer beads), camara (kind of ponytail), dan trisula (trident). It stands on padma (lotus) on a square block (yoni) with a cobra/dragon carving.

The other three rooms had smaller statues: Resi Agastya, Ganesha (son of Siwa, the god of knowledge), and Durga Mahisasuramardini (Siwa's wife). Durga represents the conqueror of Mahisasura (the giant cow), which stroke Swargaloka. Durga statue has eight arms holding weapons. She stands on Mahisasura.

People also believe that Durga statue is Rara Jonggrang statue (based on the legend). However, we cannot literally relate the legend to the history.


In Prambanan area, there is a routine dance theater performance at night. You can find the schedule here.



Travel diary shared by Jessica Permatasari