A Tale of Ancient Javanese Grandeur: Discovering the Story of Candi Prambanan
Hello PikiranMedia Friends! Today, we will delve into the captivating story of Candi Prambanan, a magnificent temple situated in Java, Indonesia. Towering at 47 meters, it is the largest Hindu temple in Southeast Asia and is often dubbed as the “Rival of Borobudur”.
The Legend Behind Candi Prambanan’s Origins
According to ancient Javanese legend, the temple was built in honor of the love story between a prince, Bandung Bondowoso, and a princess, Roro Jonggrang. Bandung fell in love with the beautiful princess upon seeing her and proposed to her. However, Roro Jonggrang refused his proposal, leading to Bandung’s fury. To seek revenge, he ordered his army to build a temple with a thousand statues in a single night. The princess countered Bandung’s plan by waking up early in the morning, before the construction was done, and asked women in the nearby village to pound rice and set the roosters to crow. The sound made by the roosters fooled the army into thinking it was dawn and they immediately fled. As a result, the temple construction was left unfinished, with only 999 statues built. To complete the temple, the princess promised to become Bondowoso’s wife if he could finish the temple with the final, missing statue. Realizing he had been tricked, Bandung cursed Jonggrang into becoming the thousandth statue, which is now known as the statue of Durga Mahisasuramardhini.
The Majestic Architecture of Candi Prambanan
Candi Prambanan consists of three main shrines in its primary yard, which are dedicated to the three supreme gods of Hinduism: Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. The temples are surrounded by smaller ones, with each of them devoted to Hindu deities.
What’s enthralling about Prambanan’s architecture is the intricate details in every inch of the temple. Each statue symbolizes various gods and goddesses in the Hindu mythology, with detailed narrative reliefs depicting various stories of Hindu epics such as Ramayana and Mahabharata. To achieve such stunning architecture, the temple underwent a meticulous reconstruction following its rediscovery in the early 19th century.
The UNESCO Heritage Site Status
Candi Prambanan was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, recognizing the site’s value in showcasing Indonesia’s rich cultural and religious heritage. The temple’s historical significance and intricate architecture attract millions of tourists worldwide every year, making it one of the most visited destinations in Indonesia.
The Ongoing Conservation Efforts
The temple is located in a seismic zone, making it prone to damage caused by natural disasters such as earthquakes. As such, there is a continuous effort to conserve and maintain the temple to ensure its longevity. Conservation work has been ongoing since the discovery of the temple, with the most recent one being in 2019 as a cooperative effort between the Indonesian Government and Indian Government.
The Exotic Traditional Art Performance of Ramayana Ballet
One of the highlights of visiting Candi Prambanan is the traditional Javanese art performance called the Ramayana Ballet. It is a cultural show of the Hindu epic, Ramayana, depicted through dance, music, and colorful traditional costumes. The show takes place against the backdrop of Prambanan temple, making it a unique and unforgettable experience.
The Fascinating Story of Candi Prambanan’s Rediscovery
Although the legend of Candi Prambanan had been passed down through generations, the temple’s location had been lost for centuries. It was only in the 19th century, during the British colonial era, that Candi Prambanan was discovered by Colin Mackenzie, a Scottish surveyor who stumbled across the temple ruins while mapping the region.
However, due to limited research and lack of documentation on the temple, it was not until the 20th century that the site underwent extensive restoration, reconstruction, and excavation to showcase the splendor of Candi Prambanan.
The Sacrifice of the Temple Guardian
As legend has it, there is a Temple Guardian who must be sacrificed every year to ensure the temple’s protection and sanctity. In some accounts, the practice has been outlawed by the Indonesian government, while some say it still exists in rural areas, reflecting the strong cultural roots in Indonesia’s predominantly Hindu community.
Visiting Candi Prambanan
To visit the temple, you can take a flight from Jakarta or Bali to Yogyakarta or Solo. It is also easy to hire a car or public transport from both cities to travel to Candi Prambanan’s location with ease. Before visiting the temple, make sure to dress appropriately, covering shoulders and knees as a mark of respect for the temple’s religious and cultural value.
The Tragic Earthquake Damage
In 2006, a devastating earthquake shook Yogyakarta’s area, causing significant damage to Candi Prambanan. Although it was restored with the 15 million dollars fund aid from UNESCO and Switzerland, several of the temple’s structures still suffered permanent damage. However, the resilience and determination of the local people have ensured that the temple remains open to visitors.
The Significance of Candi Prambanan in Javanese Culture
Candi Prambanan’s significant role in Javanese culture makes it a crucial part of the community’s identity. The temple’s story of undying love, sacrifice, and religious significance resonates deeply with the locals and serves as a reminder of their cultural heritage.
The Timeless Beauty of Candi Prambanan
Candi Prambanan’s timeless beauty and stunning architecture continue to amaze and inspire visitors, showing the world Indonesia’s rich cultural and religious heritage. So, visit Candi Prambanan to experience the grandeur of ancient Javanese culture for yourself.
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