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After being stunned speechless by Mount Merapi, we headed for Prambanan Temple, a Hindu temple in Yogja. Our driver told us we didn't need to hire a guide - he said just know that there are three temples inside dedicated to three Hindu gods - Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. And then Google everything else. Haha.. he said different guides tell different stories so just read up everything online.
Borobudur Temple, located near Magelang in Central Java, is purported to be the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It is both a shrine and a place of pilgrimage. It didn’t feel that large to me. However, it is impressive and because of its location within a very verdant valley it draws both those seeking the beautiful in nature and the beautiful in man’s creation. The primary source of its physical draw is the intricacy and sheer magnitude of its 2,672 relief panels. A pilgrim could easily believe that the temple’s layers are a sort of stairway towards heaven. There is a constant feeling of reaching ever higher. At the top one finds a main dome and 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas which are in addition to the 504 Buddhas that already dot the lower layers of the temple. Though the temple was constructed in the 9th century, it may have been abandoned in the 14th after a decline in Buddhist and Hindu tradition once Islam began to take hold in Java. British ruler of Java in 1814, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, was alerted to its existence which then led to it being officially preserved, and provided for restorations to begin. It was in the early 1980′s that Borobudur was then listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a status it still retains today. It is Indonesia’s most visited tourist attraction. To visit for yourself, check out Indonesia’s resources page here.
Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple
En-route, we visited Gunung Kawi and Tirtha Empul. Gunung Kawi is a temple complex, where 10-rock cut shrines have been carved into around 23ft of cliff face. There are five temples on the east side, which belong to King Udayana, his wife and three sons. On the west side, there are similar temples that belong to the king’s minor queens.