Prambanan is a complex of Hindu temples near Yogyakarta in central Java. It is the largest Hindu remnant in Java and it is billed as “the Tallest and Most Beautiful, Largest Hindus Temple in the World”.
While I haven’t been to enough Hindu temples to vouch for it’s most beautiful claim, it certainly is grand in its size and detail.
[Prambanan Temple Complex]
The temple grounds is made up of around 50 temple sites. Many of the temples were damaged by an earthquake in 2006, but the site is still open to visitors.
[Prambanan Viewing Area]
The main temple complex is fenced off due to the restoration and possibility of loose stonework. Despite this it is still possible to view the temples close enough to see the detailed carvings. It just means you can’t climb the stairs of the main temples.
Away from the main temple complex there are smaller ruined temples with the grounds. About 1km north is Candi Sewu, which consists of a large central Buddhist temple surrounded by smaller temples. This temple site is in a poor state compared to the main temple complex.
The temples were built between the 8th and 10th century. At the time Java was made up of a Hindu empire in the north and Buddhist in the south.
A marriage between the the two cultures is a possible explanation for the blend Hinduism and Buddhism in some of the temples.
Getting to Prambanan Temple Complex
Prambanan is about 20 minutes east of Yogyakarta, so basing yourself there is the easiest way to get to Prambanan. There are plenty of day trip tours available from Yogya that will combine a trip to Prambanan and Borobudur in the one trip. The most popular option is visiting Borobudur at sunrise and then Prambanan. You can also just get a local bus from Yogya if you don’t want to join a tour.
See more photos in the Prambanan photo gallery.