Candi Prambanan

( Prambanan )

Prambanan (Indonesian: Candi Prambanan, Javanese: ꦫꦫꦗꦺꦴꦁꦒꦿꦁ, romanized: Rara Jonggrang) is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, in southern Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimūrti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound is located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia after Angkor Wat. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-h...Read more

Prambanan (Indonesian: Candi Prambanan, Javanese: ꦫꦫꦗꦺꦴꦁꦒꦿꦁ, romanized: Rara Jonggrang) is a 9th-century Hindu temple compound in the Special Region of Yogyakarta, in southern Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimūrti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple compound is located approximately 17 kilometres (11 mi) northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces.

The temple compound, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia and the second-largest in Southeast Asia after Angkor Wat. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu architecture, and by the towering 47-metre-high (154 ft) central building inside a large complex of individual temples. Prambanan temple compounds originally consisted of 240 temple structures, which represented the grandeur of ancient Java's Hindu art and architecture, and is also considered as a masterpiece of the classical period in Indonesia. Prambanan attracts many visitors from around the world.

Construction  The reliefs at Prambanan and the structures of modern houses (of the 1920s) that are similar to it.

The Prambanan temple is the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java, and the first building was completed in the mid-9th century. It was likely started by Rakai Pikatan and inaugurated by his successor King Lokapala. Some historians that adhere to dual dynasty theory suggest that the construction of Prambanan probably was meant as the Hindu Sanjaya dynasty's answer to the Buddhist Sailendra dynasty's Borobudur and Sewu temples nearby, and was meant to mark the return of the Hindu Sanjaya dynasty to power in Central Java after almost a century of Buddhist Sailendra dynasty domination. Nevertheless, the construction of this massive Hindu temple signified a shift of the Mataram court's patronage, from Mahayana Buddhism to Shaivite Hinduism.

A temple was first built at the site around 850 CE by Rakai Pikatan and expanded extensively by King Lokapala and Balitung Maha Sambu the Sanjaya king of the Mataram Kingdom. A short red-paint script bearing the name "pikatan" was found on one of the finials on top of the balustrade of Shiva temple, which confirms that King Pikatan was responsible for the initiation of the temple construction.[1]: 22 

The temple complex is linked to the Shivagrha inscription of 856 CE, issued by King Lokapala, which described a Shiva temple compound that resembles Prambanan. According to this inscription the Shiva temple was inaugurated on 12 November 856.[1]: 20  According to this inscription, the temple was built to honor Lord Shiva, and its original name was Shiva-grha (the House of Shiva) or Shiva-laya (the Realm of Shiva).[2]

According to the Shivagrha inscription, a public water project to change the course of a river near Shivagrha temple was undertaken during the construction of the temple. The river, identified as the Opak River, now runs north to south on the western side of the Prambanan temple compound. Historians suggest that originally the river was curved further to east and was deemed too near to the main temple. Experts suggest that the shift of the river was meant to secure the temple complex from the overflowing of lahar volcanic materials from Merapi volcano.[3] The project was done by cutting the river along a north to south axis along the outer wall of the Shivagrha Temple compound. The former river course was filled in and made level to create a wider space for the temple expansion, the space for rows of pervara (ancillary) temples.

 The statue of Shiva Mahadeva inside the garbagriha of the main temple.

Some archaeologists propose that the statue of Shiva in the garbhagriha (central chamber) of the main temple was modelled after King Balitung, serving as a depiction of his deified self after death.[4] The temple compound was expanded by successive Mataram kings, such as Daksa and Tulodong, with the addition of hundreds of pervara temples around the chief temple.

With main prasada tower soaring up to 47 metres high, a vast walled temple complex consists of 240 structures, Shivagrha Trimurti temple was the tallest and the grandest of its time.[5] Indeed, the temple complex is the largest Hindu temple in ancient Java, with no other Javanese temples ever surpassed its scale. Prambanan served as the royal temple of the Kingdom of Mataram, with most of the state's religious ceremonies and sacrifices being conducted there. At the height of the kingdom, scholars estimate that hundreds of brahmins with their disciples lived within the outer wall of the temple compound. The urban center and the court of Mataram were located nearby, somewhere in the Prambanan Plain.

Abandonment  The Prambanan temple compound with Merapi volcano in the background.

After being used and expanded for about 80 years, the temples were mysteriously abandoned near the half of the 10th century. In the 930s, the Javanese court was shifted to East Java by Mpu Sindok, who established the Isyana dynasty. It was not clear however, the true reason behind the abandonment of Central Java realm by this Javanese Mataram kingdom. The devastating 1006 eruption of Mount Merapi volcano located around 25 kilometres north of Prambanan in Central Java, or a power struggle may have caused the shift. That event marked the beginning of the decline of the temple, as it was soon abandoned and began to deteriorate.

The temples collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. Although the temple ceased to be an important center of worship, the ruins scattered around the area were still recognizable and known to the local Javanese people in later times. The statues and the ruins became the theme and the inspiration for the Rara Jonggrang folktale.

The Javanese locals in the surrounding villages knew about the temple ruins before formal rediscovery, but they did not know about its historical background: which kingdoms ruled or which king commissioned the construction of the monuments. As a result, the locals developed tales and legends to explain the origin of temples, infused with myths of giants, and a cursed princess. They gave Prambanan and Sewu a wondrous origin; these were said in the Rara Jonggrang legend to have been created by a multitude of demons under the order of Bandung Bondowoso.

Rediscovery  Lithograph of Prambanan ruin in 1852.

In 1733, Cornelis Antonie Lons, a VOC employee, provided a first report on Prambanan temple in his journal. Lons was escorting Julius Frederick Coyett, a VOC commissioner of northeast Java coast, to Kartasura, then the capital of Mataram, a powerful local Javanese kingdom. During his sojourn in Central Java, he had the opportunity to visit the ruins of Prambanan temple, which he described as "Brahmin temples" that resembles a mountain of stones.[1]: 17 

After the division of Mataram Sultanate in 1755, the temple ruins and the Opak River were used to demarcate the boundary between Yogyakarta and Surakarta Sultanates, which was adopted as the current border between Yogyakarta and the province of Central Java.

 The ruins of Shiva temple of Prambanan c. 1895.

The temple attracted international attention early in the 19th century. In 1803, Nicolaus Engelhard, the Governor of the northeast coast of Java, made a stop in Prambanan during his official visits to two Javanese sultans: Pakubuwana IV of Surakarta and Hamengkubuwana II of Yogyakarta. Impressed by the temple ruins, in 1805 Engelhard commissioned H.C. Cornelius, an engineer stationed in Klaten, to clear the site from earth and vegetation, measuring the area, and made drawings of the temple. This was the first effort to study and restore Prambanan temple.[1]: 17 

In 1811 during the short-lived British occupation of the Dutch East Indies, Colin Mackenzie, a surveyor in the service of Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, came upon the temples by chance. Although Sir Thomas subsequently commissioned a full survey of the ruins, they remained neglected for decades. Dutch residents carried off sculptures as garden ornaments and native villagers used the foundation stones for construction material. Half-hearted excavations by archaeologists in the 1880s adversely facilitated looting instead, as numbers of temple sculptures were taken away as collections.

Reconstruction  Restoration of Prambanan Shiva temple in February 1940.

In 1918, the Dutch colonial government began the reconstruction of the compound however proper restoration only commenced in 1930. Due to massive scale and the sheer numbers of temples, the efforts at restoration still continue up to this day. By 1930s, the reconstruction project by Dutch East Indies Archaeological Service successfully restored two apit (flank) temples in the central court, and two smaller pervara or in Indonesian: perwara (ancillary) temples. The reconstruction used the anastylosis method, in which a ruined temple is restored using the original stone blocks as much as possible.

The restoration efforts was hampered by the economic crisis in 1930s, and finally ceased altogether due to the outbreak of World War II Pacific War (1942-1945), and the following Indonesian National Revolution (1945-1949). After the war, the temple reconstruction resumed in 1949, despite much of technical drawings and photographs were damaged or lost during the war. The reconstruction of the main Shiva temple was completed in 1953 and inaugurated by Indonesia's first president Sukarno.

 Indonesian 5 rupiah 1957 banknotes depicting North Apit temple of Prambanan.

The Indonesian government continued the reconstruction effort to complete the temple compound. The Brahma temple was reconstructed between 1978 and 1987. While the Vishnu temple was rebuilt from 1982 to 1991.[1]: 28  The Vahana temples of the eastern rows and some smaller shrines were completed from 1991 to 1993. Thus by 1993, the whole towering main temples of the Prambanan central zone were erected and completed, simultaneously inaugurated by President Suharto together with the inauguration of the Sewu compound central temple nearby.[6]

Since much of the original stonework has been stolen and reused at remote construction sites, restoration was hampered considerably. Given the scale of the temple complex, the government decided to rebuild shrines only if at least 75% of their original masonry was available, in accordance to anastylosis discipline. The reconstruction continues up to this day, with efforts now focused on the pervara (ancillary) temples of the outer compound. A Pervara temple of eastern side second row number 35 was completed in December 2017.[7]

As per February 2023, from originally 224 pervara temples, only 6 of them are completely reconstructed; 4 on the eastern side, 1 on the southern side, and 1 on the northern side. Two of pervara temples; a corner pervara temple with double porticos on the northeast corner and a pervara temple on the east side, was reconstructed during the Dutch East Indies colonial era circa 1930s. The other 4 pervara temples were completed in 2015, 2017, 2019 and 2021 respectively. Most of the smaller shrines are now visible only in their foundations. The restoration of pervara temples will be carried out in stages. If all of 224 pervara temples to be restored completely, it will take at least 200 years, since an anastylosis reconstruction of one pervara temple takes approximately 8 to 12 months to complete.[8]

 Prambanan night view from the Trimurti open-air stage.

In the early 1990s the government removed the market that had sprung up near the temple and redeveloped the surrounding villages and rice paddies as an archaeological park. The park covers a large area, from Yogyakarta-Solo main road in the south, encompassing the whole Prambanan complex, the ruins of Lumbung and Bubrah temples, and as far as the Sewu temple compound in the north. In 1992 the Indonesian government created a State-owned Limited Liability Enterprise (Persero), named "PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan, dan Ratu Boko." This enterprise is the authority for the park management of Borobudur Prambanan Ratu Boko and the surrounding region. Prambanan is one of the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.

The Trimurti open-air and indoor stages on the west side of the temple, across the Opak River, were built to stage the ballet of the traditional Ramayana epic. This traditional Javanese dance is the centuries-old dance of the Javanese court. Since the 1960s, it has been performed every full moon night in the Prambanan temple. Since then, Prambanan has become one of the major archaeological and cultural tourism attractions in Indonesia.

Contemporary events  Pradakshina Hindu ritual circumambulating Prambanan main temple

Since the reconstruction of the main temples in the 1990s, Prambanan has been reclaimed as an important religious center for Hindu rituals and ceremonies in Java. Balinese and Javanese Hindu communities in Yogyakarta and Central Java revived their practices of annually performing their sacred ceremonies in Prambanan, such as Galungan, Tawur Kesanga, and Nyepi.[9][10]

 A fallen pinnacle from the damaged Prambanan temple

The temple was damaged during the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake. Early photos suggested that although the complex was structurally intact, the damage was significant. Large pieces of debris, including carvings, were scattered over the ground. The temple was closed to visitors until the damage could be fully assessed. Eventually, the head of Yogyakarta Archaeological Conservation Agency stated that it would take months to identify the full extent of the damage.[11][12] Some weeks later in 2006, the site was re-opened for visitors.

There is great interest in the site. In 2008, 856,029 Indonesian visitors and 114,951 foreign visitors visited Prambanan. On 6 January 2009 the reconstruction of Nandi temple finished.[13] As of 2009, the interior of most of the temples remains off-limits for safety reasons.

On 14 February 2014, major tourist attractions in Yogyakarta and Central Java, including Borobudur, Prambanan, and Ratu Boko, were closed to visitors after being severely affected by the volcanic ash from the eruption of Kelud volcano in East Java, located about 200 kilometers east of Yogyakarta. The Kelud volcano erupted on 13 February 2014 with explosions heard as far away as Yogyakarta.[14] Four years earlier, Prambanan was spared from the 2010 Merapi volcanic ash and eruption since the wind and ashfall were directed westward and affected Borobudur instead.

In 2012, the Balai Pelestarian Peninggalan Purbakala Jawa Tengah (BP3) or Central Java Heritage Preservation Authority suggested that the area in and around Prambanan should be treated as a sanctuary area. The proposed area is located in Prambanan Plain measured 30 square kilometers spanned across Sleman and Klaten Regency, which includes major temples in the area such as Prambanan, Ratu Boko, Kalasan, Sari and Plaosan temples. The sanctuary area is planned to be treated in a similar fashion to the Angkor archaeological area in Cambodia, which means the government should stop or decline permits to construct any new buildings, especially multi-storied buildings, as well as BTS towers in the area. This is meant to protect this archaeologically rich area from modern day visual obstructions and the encroachments of hotels, restaurants, and any tourism-related buildings and businesses.[15] On 9 to 12 November 2019, the grand Abhiṣeka sacred ceremony was performed in this temple compound. This Hindu ritual was held for the first time after 1,163 years after the Prambanan temple was founded on 856.[16] The Abhiṣeka ceremony was meant to cleanse, sanctify and purify the temple, thus signify that the temple is not merely an archaeological and tourism site, but also restored to its original function as a focus of Hindu religious activity.[17] Indonesian Hindus believe that this Abhiṣeka ceremony marked a turning point to re-consecrated the temple ground and restore the spiritual energy of Prambanan temple.[18]

^ a b c d e Tjahjono Prasodjo; Thomas M. Hunter; Véronique Degroot; Cecelia Levin; Alessandra Lopez y Royo; Inajati Adrisijanti; Timbul Haryono; Julianti Lakshmi Parani; Gunadi Kasnowihardjo; Helly Minarti (2013). Magical Prambanan. Yogyakarta: PT (Persero) Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko. ISBN 978-602-98279-1-0. Archived from the original on 2021-02-26. Retrieved 2020-12-24. ^ Shivagrha Inscription, National Museum of Indonesia ^ Guna, Anwar Sadat (6 November 2011). "Alur Sungai Opak di Candi Prambanan Pernah Dibelokkan". (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 2021-03-04. Retrieved 2020-12-27. ^ Soetarno, Drs. R. second edition (2002). Aneka Candi Kuno di Indonesia (Ancient Temples in Indonesia), pp. 16. Dahara Prize. Semarang. ISBN 979-501-098-0. ^ Cite error: The named reference UNESCO-Prambanan was invoked but never defined (see the help page). ^ "Kompleks Candi Prambanan". Balai Pelestarian Cagar Budaya D.I. Yogyakarta (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 2021-03-03. Retrieved 2020-12-25. ^ Hanafi, Ristu (14 December 2017). "Mendikbud Resmikan Purnapugar Candi Perwara Prambanan". detiknews (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 2022-05-29. Retrieved 2020-12-25. ^ Razak, Abdul Hamied (3 February 2023). "Pemugaran Candi Perwara Prambanan Bakal Tambah Daya Tarik Wisatawan". Harian Jogja (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 2023-02-20. Retrieved 2023-02-20. ^ "Keindahan Sejarah dan Arsitektur yang Memukau". Archived from the original on 2024-01-06. Retrieved 2023-12-20. ^ "Nyepi di Candi Prambanan". Archived from the original on 2023-07-02. Retrieved 2010-01-20. ^ IOL (2006). "World famous temple complex damaged in quake". Archived from the original on 2012-05-25. Retrieved 2006-05-28. ^ Di sản thế giới tại Indonesia bị động đất huỷ hoại Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine (in Vietnamese) ^ "Yogyakarta Online Candi Nandi Selesai Dipugar". Archived from the original on 2021-01-25. Retrieved 2011-09-07. ^ "Borobudur, Other Sites, Closed After Mount Kelud Eruption". JakartaGlobe. February 14, 2014. Archived from the original on 23 October 2014. Retrieved 15 February 2014. ^ "Prambanan Diusulkan Jadi "Perdikan"". (in Indonesian). 18 April 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2014. ^ "Upacara Abhiseka di Candi Prambanan Yogyakarta by | The Jakarta Post Images". Archived from the original on 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04. ^ Kurnia, Fadjrin (5 November 2019). "Abhiseka Prambanan". (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04. ^ "Pertama Kali Sejak Tahun 856 Masehi, Umat Hindu Gelar Upacara Abhiseka di Candi Prambanan". Tribun Bali (in Indonesian). 13 November 2019. Archived from the original on 2019-12-04. Retrieved 2019-12-04.
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