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Pervara Temples
Shiva Temple
Brahma and Vishnu
Vahana Temple
The legend
Other temples around Prambanan
Prambanan's Three Yard Enclosures
The Tantric Dancers
The Shiva Temple's Lokapalas
The Editors of the Vedas

Prambanan's Central Courtyand Layout

The Prambanan temple is the biggest and a most beautiful Hindu temple about 20
minutes from Yogyakarta city. This magnificent Shivaite temple derives its name from
the village where it is located. Locally known as the Loro Jongrang temple, or the
temple of the "Slender Virgin" it is reputed to be the biggest and most beautiful Hindu
Temple in ndonesia.
kilometers east of Yogyakarta, the temple is believed to have been built by King
Balitung Maha Sambu in the middle of the ninth century.
ts parapets are adorned with a bas-reliefs depicting the famous Ramayana story. t
has eight shrines, of which the three main ones are dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and
Brahma (all are manifestations of God in Hindu). The main temple of Shiva rises to a
high of 0 feet and houses the magnificent statue of Shiva's consort, Durga.
Prambanan Temple is beautiful temple, in fact, it is a group of temples. The biggest
temple dedicated to Shiva (one of manifestation of God) with two other smaller ones,
on its right and on its left, dedicated to Brahma and Wisnhu (manifestation of God)
respectively. Reliefs decorating the walls of the temple depict the story of Ramayana.

t was built around 850 CE by either Rakai Pikatan, king of the second Mataram
dynasty, or Balitung Maha Sambu, during the Sanjaya Dynasty. Not long after its
construction, the temple was abandoned and began to deteriorate. Reconstruction of
the compound began in 8. The main building was completed in around 5.
Much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction
sites. A temple will only be rebuilt if at least 5% of the original stones are available,
and therefore only the foundation walls of most of the smaller shrines are now visible
and with no plans for their reconstruction.
The temple was damaged during the earthquake in Java in 2006. Early photos
suggest that although the complex appears to be structurally intact, damage is
significant. Large pieces of debris, including carvings, were scattered over the
ground. The temple has been closed to the public until damage can be fully
assessed. The head of Yogyakarta Archaeological Conservation Agency stated that:
"it will take months to identify the precise damage".
However, some weeks later in
2006 the site re-opened for visitors. As of 200, the inside of most temples still
remains off-limits for safety reasons.

There are 2 temples in this Shivaite temple complex, either big or small.
But the
majority of them have deteriorated, what is left are only scattered stones. The
Prambanan temple complex consists of three zones; first the outer zone, second the
middle zone that contains hundreds of small temples, and third the holiest inner zone
that contains eight main temples and eight small shrines.
The outer zone is a large space marked by a rectangular wall (destroyed). The
original function is unknown; possibilities are that it was a sacred park, or priests'
boarding school (ashram). The supporting buildings for the temple complex were
made from organic material; as a consequence no remains occur.
Pervara TempIes
The middle zone consists of four rows of 224 individual small shrines. There are
great numbers of these temples, but most of them are still in ruins and only some
have been reconstructed. These concentric rows of temples were made in identical
design. Each row towards the center is slightly elevated. These shrines are called
"Candi Perwara" guardian or complementary temples, the additional buildings of the
main temple. Some believed it was offered to the king as a sign of submission. The
Perwara are arranged in four rows around the central temples, some believed it has
something to do with four castes, made according to the rank of the people allowed
to enter them; the row nearest to the central compound was accessible to the priests
only, the other three were reserved for the nobles, the knights, and the simple people
respectively. While another believed that the four rows of Perwara has nothing to do
with four castes, it just simply made as meditation place for priests and as worship
place for devotees.
Shiva Temple
The inner zone or central compound is the holiest among the three zones. ts the
square elevated platform surrounded by square stone wall with stone gates on each
four cardinal points. This holiest compound is assembled of eight main shrines or
.andi. The three main shrines, called Trimurti ("three forms"), are dedicated to the
three gods: Brahma the Creator, Vishnu the Keeper, and Shiva the Destroyer.
The Shiva shrine at the center contains five chambers, four small chambers in every
cardinal direction and one bigger main chamber in central part of the temple. The
east chamber connect to central chamber that houses the largest temple in
Prambanan, a three meter high statue of Shiva Mahadeva (the Supreme God). The
statue bears Lakana (attributes or symbol) of Shiva such as skull and sickle
(crescent) at the crown, and third eye on the forehead, also four hands that holds
Shiva's symbols: a prayer beads, feather duster, and trisula (trident). Some historians
believe that the depiction of Shiva as Mahadeva also meant to personify king
Balitung as the reincarnation of Shiva. So, when he died, a temple was built to
commemorate him as Shiva.
The statue of Shiva stands on lotus pad on Yoni
pedestal that bears the carving of Nga serpents on north side of pedestal.
The other three smaller chambers contain statues of Hindu Gods related to Shiva; his
consort Durga, the rishi Agastya, and Ganesha, his son. Statue of Agastya occupy
the south chamber, the west chamber houses the statue of Ganesha, while the north
chamber contains the statue of Durga Mahisasuramardini depicting Durga as the
slayer of Bull demon. The shrine of Durga is also called the temple of Lara Jonggrang
(Javanese: slender virgin), after a Javanese legend of princess Lara Jonggrang.
Brahma and Vishnu
The two other main shrines are that of Vishnu on the north side of Shiva shrine, and
the one of Brahma on the south. Both temple facing east and each contain only one
large chamber, each dedicated to respected gods; Brahma temple contains the
statue of Brahma and Vishnu temple houses the statue of Vishnu.
The bas-reliefs along the balustrades on the gallery around Shiva and Brahma
temple depict the Ramayana legend. They illustrate how Sita, the wife of Rama, is
abducted by Ravana. The monkey king Hanuman brings his army to help Rama and
rescue Sita. This story is also shown by the Ramayana Ballet, regularly performed at
full moon at Trimurti open air theatre in west side of the illuminated Prambanan
complex. On the balsutrades in Vishnu temple there is series of bas-relief depict
Krishnayana, the story of lord Krishna.
Vahana Temple
The other three shrine in front of three main temples is dedicated to vehicle (vahana)
of the respective gods - the bull Nandi for Shiva, the sacred swan Hamsa for Brahma,
and Vishnu's Eagle Garuda. Precisely in front of Shiva temple stands Nandi temple
which contains a statue of Nandi bull, the vehicle (vahana) of Lord Shiva. Besides it,
there is also other statues, the statue of Chandra the god of moon and Surya the god
of sun. Chandra stands on his carriage pulled by 0 horses, and the statue of Surya
also standing on a carriage pulled by horses.
. Facing Brahma temple is the
temple of Hamsa or Angsa (sacred swan). n the chamber of this temple contains no
statue. But it seems likely that there was once a statue of the sacred swan, vehicle of
god Brahma. n front of Vishnu temple is the temple dedicated for Garuda, however
just like the Hamsa temple, Garuda temple contains no statue. Probably this temple
once contains the statue of Garuda, the vehicle of Vishnu. Garuda holds important
role for ndonesia, which serves as the national symbol of ndonesia, also to the
airline Garuda ndonesia.
Between these row of main temple, on north and south side stands two Candi Apit.
Beside these 8 main temples, there's also 8 smaller shrines; 4 Candi Kelir on four
cardinal direction of the entrance, and 4 Candi Patok on four corner.

The Iegend
The popular legend of Loro Jonggrang is what connects the site of the Ratu Boko
Palace, the origin of the Durga statue in northern cell/chamber of the main shrine,
and the origin of the Sewu temple temple complex nearby. The legend tells of the
story about Prince Bandung Bondowoso who fell in love with Princess Loro
Jonggrang, the daughter of King Boko. But the princess rejected his proposal of
marriage because Bandung Bondowoso had killed King Boko and ruled her kingdom.
Bandung Bondowoso insisted on the union, and finally Loro Jonggrang was forced to
agree for a union in marriage, but she posed one impossible condition: Bandung
must build her a thousand temples in only one night.
The Prince entered into meditation and conjured up a multitude of spirits (demons)
from the earth. Helped by supernatural beings, he succeeded in building
temples. When the prince was about to complete the condition, the princess woke
her palace maids and ordered the women of the village to begin pounding rice and
set a fire in the east of the temple, attempting to make the prince and the spirits
believe that the sun was about to rise. As the cocks began to crow, fooled by the light
and the sounds of morning time, the supernatural helpers fled back into the ground.
The prince was furious about the trick and in revenge he cursed Loro Jonggrang to
stone. She became the last and the most beautiful of the thousand statues.
According to the traditions, the unfinished thousandth temple created by the demons
become the Sewu temple compounds nearby ($ewu means "thousands" in
Javanese), and the Princess is the image of Durga in the north cell of the Shiva
temple at Prambanan, which is still known as Loro Jonggrang or $lender Virgin.

Other temples around Prambanan
The Prambanan valley span between southern slopes of Merapi volcano in the north
and Sewu mountain range in the south, near the present border Yogyakarta province
and Klaten Regency, Central Java. Apart from the Lara Jonggrang complex,
Prambanan valley is the location of some of the earliest Buddhist temples in
ndonesia. Not far to the north are found the ruins of Bubrah temple, Lumbung
temple, and Sewu temple. Further east are found Plaosan temple. To the west are
found Kalasan temple and Sari temple, further to the west are Sambisari temple.
While to the south the Ratu Boko compounds on higher ground. The discoveries of
archaeological sites scattered only a few miles away suggested that this area was an
important religious, political, and urban center.
North of the Lara Jongrang complex
uCandi Lumbung. Buddhist-style, consisting of one main temple surrounded by 6
smaller ones.

uCandi Bubrah. Buddhist temple still in ruins.
uCandi Sewu. Buddhist temple complex, older than Roro Jonggrang. A main
sanctuary surrounded by many smaller temples. Well preserved guardian statues,
replicas of which stand in the central courtyard at the Jogja Kraton.

uCandi Plaosan. Buddhist, probably th century. Thought to have been built by a
Hindu king for his Buddhist queen. Two main temples with reliefs of a man and a
woman. Slender stupa.
South of the Lara Jongrang complex
uRatu Boko. Complex of fortified gates, bathing pools, and elevated walled stone
enclosure, all located on top of the hill.
uCandi Sajiwan. Buddhist temple decorated with reliefs concerning education. The
base and staircase are decorated with animal fables.
uCandi Banyunibo. A Buddhist temple with unique design of roof.
uCandi Barong. A Hindu temple complex with large stepped stone courtyard. Located
on the slope of the hill.
uCandi jo. A cluster of Hindu temple located near the top of jo hill. The main temple
houses a large lingam and yoni.
uArca Bugisan. Seven Buddha and bodhisattva statues, some collapsed,
representing different poses and expressions.

West of the Lara Jongrang complex
uCandi Kalasan. 8th century Buddhist temple built in commemoration of the marriage
of a king and his princess bride, ornamented with finely carved reliefs.
uCandi Sari. Once a sanctuary for Buddhist priests. 8th century. Nine stupas at the
top with two rooms beneath, each believed to be places for priests to meditate.
uCandi Sambisari. th century Hindu temple discovered in 66, once buried 6.5
metres under volcanic ash. The main temple houses a linga and yoni, and the wall
surround it displayed the images of Agastya, Durga, and Ganesha.
uCandi Gebang. A small Hindu temple discovered in located near the
Yogyakarta northern ring-road. The temple display the statue of Ganesha and
interesting carving of faces on the roof section.
uCandi Gana. Rich in statues, bas-reliefs and sculpted stones. Frequent
representations of children or dwarfs with raised hands. Located in the middle of
housing complex. Under restoration since .
uCandi Kedulan. Discovered in 4 by sand diggers, 4m deep. Square base of
main temple visible. Secondary temples not yet fully excavated.

The Hindu temple complex at Prambanan is based on a square plan that contains a
total of three yards, each of which is surrounded by four walls pierced by four large
gates. The outermost walled perimieter, which originally measured about 0m per
side, was oriented in the northeast, southwest direction. However, except for its
southern gate, not much else of this enclosure has survived down to the present.
The two walled perimeters that surround the remaining two yards to the interior are
oriented to the four cardinal points. The second yard's walled perimeter, which
measures about 225m per side, surrounds a terraced area that consists of four rows
containing 40, 48, 56, and 64 temples, respectively, each with a height of 4m and
measuring 6m x 6m at the base, or 224 structures in total. The sixteen temples
located at the corners of the rows face two directions; the remaining 208 structures
open to only one of the four cardinal directions.
The monument's remaining walled perimeter, which measures 0m x 2m,
surrounds an even higher terraced courtyard that supports an additional sixteen
shrines. The central yard's three largest temples, which face the cardinal direction
east, feature large stone statues of the Hindu deities Vishnu (north), Shiva (center)
and Brahma (south).
The centrally-located Shiva temple has a height of 4m and measures 4m x 4m at
its base. The Brahma and Vishnu shrines to the south and north of the Shiva temple
are m in height and measure 20m x 20m at the base. The inside facing walls of the
balustrades that surround the central structures of these three shrines are covered
with bas-reliefs that present episodes from Vishnu's human incarnations as Krishna
(the Vishnu temple) and Rama (the Shiva and Brahma temples). For more
information on the Ramayana and Krishnayana reliefs at Prambanan, see the
"ntroduction to the Javanese Temple."

The above scan is from Monumental Java by J. F. Sheltema, which was published back in
Prambanan's Three Yard EncIosures

The monument's remaining walled perimeter, which
measures 0m x 2m, surrounds an even higher terraced courtyard that supports an
additional sixteen shrines. The central yard's three largest temples, which face the cardinal
direction east, feature large stone statues of the Hindu deities Vishnu (north), Shiva (center)
and Brahma (south).
The centrally-located Shiva temple has a height of 4m and measures 4m x 4m at its
base. The Brahma and Vishnu shrines to the south and north of the Shiva temple are m in
height and measure 20m x 20m at the base. The inside facing walls of the balustrades that
surround the central structures of these three shrines are covered with bas-reliefs that
present episodes from Vishnu's human incarnations as Krishna (the Vishnu temple) and
Rama (the Shiva and Brahma temples). For more information on the Ramayana and
Krishnayana reliefs at Prambanan, see the "ntroduction to the Javanese Temple."

Prambanan's Central Courtyand Layout

The Shiva shrine is the only
building at Prambanan that has entranceways that open to all four cardinal directions. The
doorway that faces the cardinal direction east leads into the shrine's central cella, which
contains a statue of the Hindu deity Shiva. The remaining three doors lead into three
ancillary chambers that contain statues of the Hindu Agastya (south), Ganesha (west) and
Durga (north). With regards to the central shrine, however, there is a possibility that these
three statues are not the original occupants of the auxiliary chambers.

Agastya (left), Durga (.enter) and Nandi (right)
mmediately to the east are three auxiliary shrines, each with a single
staircase and doorway facing the west. The shrine to the immediate east of the Shiva temple,
which contains a statue of the sacred bull Nandi, is 25m in height and measures 5m x 5m
at the base. The remaining two shrines, which face the Brahma and Vishnu temples, are
22m in height and measure m x m at the base. The statuary that visitors see today in
the interiors of these two structures are not the original occupants.
t is sometimes suggested that these buildings were intended
to house the celestial mounts of the deities Brahma, Shiva, and Vishnu. However, this is by
no means certain. t has been suggested that these buildings may have initially housed
sculptures representing the Hindu god Shiva, including his phallic emblem, the shivalinga.
The tripartite structure of the shivalinga represent the Hindu trimurti of Brahma (square
base), Vishnu (octagonal mid-section) and Shiva (round tip).

Near the central yard's north and south gates are two 'apit' temples, the original purpose of
which is not known. Each of these structures has a height of 6m and measures 6m x 6m at
the base. A total of eight smaller kelir ("screen") structures are located just to the interior of
the courtyard walls that were probably used to mark out the four cardinal points as well as
the four intermediate directions of NW, NE, SW, and SE. n addition, the kelir "temple" that
marks the center of the entire complex has actually been incorporated into the structure of
the main Shiva shrine. All nine temples are 4.m in height and measure .55m x .55m at
the base.

The Shiva TempIe's LokapaIas - Guardians of the Directions of Space
On the outside-facing walls of the Shiva temple's central cella there are a total of 24 relief
panels. Eight of these figures collectively represent a group of Hindu deities called the
Lokapalas--the guardians of the eight directions of space.

The Editors of the Vedas
The relief panels located on the outside-facing walls of the Brahma temple's central cella
portray 2 groups of Brahman holy men, or rishis. Dr. F.D.K. Bosch determined that the
figures in these panels correspond with a list from the Vishnu Purana which presents the holy
men responsible for editing the Vedas over the course of a long-term time cycle called a
"n every third world age (Dvapara), Vishnu, in the person of Vyasa, in order to promote the
good of mankind, divides the Vedas, which is properly but one, into many portions.
Observing the limited perseverance, energy, and application of mortals, he makes the Veda
four-fold, to adapt it to their capacities; and the bodily form which he assumes, in order to
effect that classification, is known by the name of Veda-vyasa. Of the different Vyasas in the
present Manvantara (4.2 Billion solar years), and the branches which they have taught, you
shall have an account.
What may also be relevant is that, according to certain
ancient Hindu astronomy texts, the constellation of the Seven Rishis (Sapdarishi) -- which is
known as Ursa Major in the western world -- is said to rule for one hundred years over each
of the sky's 2 asterisms in succession, taking 2,00 years to complete one complete
revolution of the night sky. n this particular case, the Brahma temple presents a model of the
revolution of space/time that may be compared even more favorably to the Lokapala model
that is represented on the corresponding walls of the Shiva temple at Prambanan.
The Vishnu temple's central cella is
decorated with the images of male deities that are flanked to either side by a female figure.
Although these figures have not yet been conclusively identified, we might expect them to
also have specific identifications that reflect space/time points according to the ancient Hindu

The Tantric Dancers
The outside-facing walls of the Shiva temple's balustrade are decorated with panels that
collectively portray figures displaying various Tantric dance poses.
"The dance depicted on the relief corresponds to the Tandava dance of Siva as this is
described in the Natyasastra. 08 figures, grouped in 2 series, are treated." (2)