is a legend that Javanese people always tell about this temple. As the
story tells, there was a man named Bandung Bondowoso who loved Roro
Jonggrang. To refuse his love, Jonggrang asked Bondowoso to make her a
temple with 1,000 statues only in one-night time. The request was
nearly fulfilled when Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice and
to set a fire in order to look like morning had broken. Feeling to be
cheated, Bondowoso who only completed 999 statues cursed Jonggrang to
be the thousandth statue.
Prambanan temple has three main temples in
the primary yard, namely Vishnu, Brahma, and Shiva temples. Those three
temples are symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief. All of them face to
the east. Each main temple has accompanying temple facing to the west,
namely Nandini for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma, and Garuda for Vishnu.
Besides, there are 2 flank temples, 4 kelir temples and 4 corner
temples. In the second area, there are 224 temples.
temple, the highest temple and is located in the middle, you will find
four rooms. One main room contains Shiva statue, while the other three
rooms contain the statues of Durga (Shiva's wife), Agastya (Shiva's
teacher), and Ganesha (Shiva's son). Durga statue is said to be the
statue of Roro Jonggrang in the above legend.
In Vishnu temple, to
the north of Shiva temple, you will find only one room with Vishnu
statue in it. In Brahma temple, to the south of Shiva temple, you find
only room as well with Brahma statue in it.
attractive accompanying temple is Garuda temple that is located close
to Vishnu temple. This temple keeps a story of half-bird human being
named Garuda. Garuda is a mystical bird in Hindu mythology. The figure
is of golden body, white face, red wings, with the beak and wings
similar to eagle's. It is assumed that the figure is Hindu adaptation
of Bennu (means 'rises' or 'shines') that is associated with the god of
the Sun or Re in Old Egypt mythology or Phoenix in Old Greek mythology.
Garuda succeeded in saving his mother from the curse of Aruna (Garuda's
handicapped brother) by stealing Tirta Amerta (the sacred water of the
Its ability to save her mother made many people admire it to
the present time and it is used for various purposes. Indonesia uses
the bird as the symbol of the country. Other country using the same
symbol is Thailand, with the same reason but different form adaptation
and appearance. In Thailand, Garuda is known as Krut or Pha Krut.
also has panels of relief describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say
that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally
from generation to generation. Another interesting relief is Kalpataru
tree that - in Hindu - the tree is considered tree of life, eternity
and environment harmony. In Prambanan, relief of Kalpataru tree is
described as flanking a lion. The presence of this tree makes experts
consider that Javanese society in the ninth century had wisdom to
manage its environment.
Just like Garuda, Kalpataru tree is also
used for various purposes. In Indonesia, Kalpataru is used as the logo
of Indonesian Environment Institution. Some intellectuals in Bali even
develop "Tri Hita Karana" concept for environment conservation by
seeing Kalpataru relief in this temple. This tree of life is also seen
in the gunungan (the puppet used as an opening of traditional puppet
show or wayang kulit). This proves that relief panels in Prambanan have
been widely known throughout the world.
you see the relief in detail, you will see many birds on them; they are
real birds as we can see on the earth right now. Relief panels of such
birds are so natural that biologists can identify their genus. One of
them is the relief of the Yellow-Crest Parrot (Cacatua sulphurea) that
cites unanswered question. The reason is that the bird only exists in
Masakambing Island, an island in the middle of Java Sea. Then, did the
bird exist in Yogyakarta? No body has succeeded in revealing the
You can discover many more things in Prambanan. You can see
relief of Wiracarita Ramayana based on oral tradition. If you feel
tired of enjoying the relief, you can take a rest in the beautiful
garden in the complex. Since 18 September 2006, you can enter zone 1
area of Prambanan temple. The damage caused by the earthquake on 27 May
2006 is being reconstructed. Please come and enjoy Prambanan temple.