Prambanan


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Prambanan (Indonesia)

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Prambanan, or Lorojonggrang, the largest Hindu temple complex in Indonesia, was a direct result of the change of political control when the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty replaced the Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty in the southern half of the island of Java. Buddhists had constructed a large STUPA complex at Borobudur north of Yogyakarta. The Prambanan temple complex was only 25 miles from Yogykarta and about 12 miles from Borobudur.

Intensive construction on Prambanan appears to have been commenced by Rakai Pikatan (who had a Buddhist wife) about 850 CE. He built the main temple, and various groups of believers added additional buildings. The main temple had a wall separating it from the other temples, and the nearby river was diverted to flow past it.

The Sanjaya Dynasty identified itself with Shiva, and Javanese Hinduism was intensely Shavite in form. In addition, worship at Prambanan mixed veneration of the deities with obeisance to the king. Some of the lesser temples represented the attempts of lesser royalty to assert their position in both the heavenly and political hierarchy.

The fate of Prambanan followed closely that of its rival Borobudur. Java was conquered by Islam, and Hinduism was suppressed. The acknowledgment of previous rulers as Prambanan was especially attacked. In time, the complex was abandoned, the site overrun by jungle, and its very existence forgotten. It was only rediscovered in 1733 when a Dutch explorer, C. A. Lons, reported having come across it. The first efforts at clearing the site, however, did not begin until 1885. Real restoration, begun in the 1930s, was stopped by the advent of World War II. Restoration of what were literally hundreds of temples at the complex continues today, though believers again began to utilize the site after the Shiva temple was rededicated in 1953.

The complex centers on the Main Shiva temple and fifteen additional, slightly smaller temples, including temples dedicated to Vishnu and Brahma. Outside the wall that separates the center square are 224 small temples arranged in four rows. The farther the temple is from the center, the smaller in height it is. A second wall surrounds these smaller temples. Gates admit people to the various areas of the complex. While reconstruction continues, the complex has become a favorite site of the Hindu minority on Java, as well as other Indonesian islands.

Sources:

Bunce, Frederick W. The Iconography of Architectural Plans: A Study of the Influence of Buddhism and Hinduism on Plans of South and Southeast Asia. New Delhi: D.K. Printworld, 2002.
Iyer, Alessandra. Prambanan: Sculpture and Dance in Ancient Java. A Study in Dance Iconography. Bangkok: White Lotus Press, 1998.
Jipto, Moert, and Bambang Prasetyo. The Siwa Temple of Prambanan. Yogyakarta, Indonesia: Penerbit Kanisius, 1992.
Jordaan, Roy E. In Praise of Prambanan: Dutch Essays on the Lord Jonggrang Temple Complex. Leiden: KITLV Press, 1996.

Prambanan

 

a settlement in Central Java, Indonesia, located in a valley at the southern foot of the Marapi Volcano.

Many medieval structures, including temples (tjandi), have been preserved in this area. Among the temples are the Buddhist Kalasan temple (possibly founded in 778; later rebuilt, with the present structure dating to the mid-ninth century), the Sari temple (eighth or ninth century), the Buddhist Sewu temple (first half of the ninth century) and the Plaosan temple (mid-ninth century), and the Hindu temple complex of Lara Djonggrang (also called the Slender Maiden, the popular nickname for the statue of the goddess Durga in the main temple; second half of the ninth century or early tenth century).

REFERENCES

Groneman, I. The Hindu Ruins in the Plain of Parambanan. Semarang, 1901.
Bernet Kempers, A. Tjandi Kalasan dan Sari. Jakarta, 1954.
Bernet Kempers, A. Petundjuk singkat tentang tjandi Lara Djonggrang. Jogjakarta [1955].
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