Prambanan Temple Complex
Prambanan Temple ©
Rivalling the Buddhist monument of Borobudur, this magnificent Hindu temple is the largest in Java and arguably the most beautiful in Indonesia. Prambanan was built in the 9th century, possibly to compete with the splendour of Borobudur, or to celebrate the return to power of the Hindu dynasty in Java at the time. The complex is dominated by three main temples, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu, each dedicated to their namesake, and the walls are decorated with exceptional relief carvings depicting scenes from the famous Hindu classic tale of Ramayana. The Shiva Temple is the largest of the three, soaring above the others at a height of 154 feet (47m), and containing the impressive statues of Shiva, his elephant-headed son Ganesh, and the goddess Durga. From May to October the Ramayana Ballet, a traditional Indonesian dance based on the Ramayana story, is performed on an open-air stage in the complex during the full moon - it is a spectacular sight involving hundreds of dancers, singers and musicians. Prambanan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and never ceases to amaze visitors; there is nowhere else in the world quite like it. It is a good idea to walk a little away from the temples to get a view of the whole complex, and to walk around the outside is also interesting. Avoid the heat and crowds of midday by going early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Transport: Prambanan is a 30 minute bus or taxi journey from Yogyakarta.
Opening times: Daily 6am to 6pm.