Prambanan Temple, also called Candi Roro Jonggrang, is located on the central Indonesian Island of Java. It is the biggest and most complete remains of Java`s period of Hindu culture, built in the middle of the 9th century AD, around 50 years later than Borobudur Temple. It is believed that the massive Hindu temple was built by king Rakai Pikatan to mark the return of a Hindu dynasty in Java after decades of Buddhism.
At 47 metres high, slightly taller than Borobudur, the king Rakai Pikatan built Prambanan to honour the Hindu Gods and mark the return of Hindu dynasty in Java after a long era of Buddhism. It’s unknown whether this is before or after the construction of Prambanan, but through a political marriage with princess Pramodawardhani from the Syailendra Dynasty, the king managed to merge the two dynasties and the kingdom holds both Hinduism and Buddhism as its religion.
The Temple of Prambanan is locally known as the Roro Jonggrang Temple or the Temple of the “Slender Virgin”. It is a religious site with momentous historical significance. It’s actually a complex consisting of hundreds of temples but most of them have collapsed over time. The central compound is where the main temples are built. There are eight main temples and eight smaller shrines in this area, each impressively built and ornately carved. The three biggest temples are dedicated to the Trimurti, or three forms of gods in Hinduism which are Brahma the Creator (northern part), Vishnu the Keeper (southern part) and Shiva the Destroyer (lies between Brahma and Vishnu Temples). Among these three, Shiva’s temple is the biggest and centrally located.
In addition to its epic history, the architecture itself is admirable. The astounding building of Prambanan reveals the sophistication of the architecture that was built centuries ago. The structural design consists of huge stones skillfully and brilliantly carved and put together in artistic construction. Although the technology to build the temple is still a mystery, the carvings on the temple itself tells stories. In fact, they are not just artistic carvings on stones, but more than that, they are reliefs revealing the tale of Ramayana, the well-known love story of Rama and Shinta, the Hindu God and Goddess.