Prambanan Temple: Discovering the Mysteries and Wonders of Indonesia's Spectacular Hindu Masterpiece

Many people from Yogyakarta know very well the Prambanan temple which is located in Central Java, Indonesia. There are two famous Indonesian temples in Central Java that piqued the interest of tourists: Borobudur and Prambanan. The styles and philosophies of the two buildings are vastly different, despite the fact that they were both built during the time of the kingdoms.

Prambanan Temple holds several mysteries and interesting facts behind this beautiful infrastructure. This magnificent temple complex is an architectural masterpiece that dates back to the 9th century. It is believed that the temple was built as a dedication to the Hindu god Shiva during the reign of the Sanjaya dynasty. Prambanan Temple has several mysteries and some interesting facts behind that beautiful infrastructure that you should know.


Some Mysteries You Should Know About Prambanan

The Prambanan Temple complex comprises over 200 individual temples, including eight main shrines dedicated to the Hindu gods and goddesses. The three main temples in the complex are known as the Trimurti temples, and they are dedicated to the three gods of the Hindu trinity: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.

The temple complex is adorned with intricate carvings and reliefs that depict scenes from Hindu mythology, including stories of the gods and goddesses, as well as tales of battles and triumphs. The level of detail in the carvings is remarkable, with some of the smaller carvings being so finely detailed that they appear almost three-dimensional.

Today, the Prambanan Temple complex is one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist attractions. Visitors can explore the temples and surrounding grounds, taking in the stunning architecture and learning about the temple’s rich history and significance. The Prambanan Temple complex remains a mystery despite centuries of study and restoration.

One of the most enduring mysteries surrounding the Prambanan Temple complex is the story of its construction. According to legend, the temple complex was built by the powerful Hindu king Rakai Pikatan as a tribute to his beloved wife, Princess Pramodhawardhani. However, some scholars believe that the complex may have been constructed as a means of asserting the power and authority of the Sanjaya dynasty.

Another mystery surrounding the Prambanan Temple complex is the reason for its abandonment. Although the temple complex was likely in use for several centuries, it was eventually abandoned, and the surrounding area fell into disrepair. Some scholars speculate that the complex may have been abandoned due to political instability or environmental factors, while others believe that it may have been the result of a gradual shift away from Hinduism towards Islam, which ultimately became the dominant religion in Indonesia.

Despite the mysteries that still surround the Prambanan Temple complex, there is no denying its awe-inspiring beauty and historical significance. For visitors to Indonesia, a trip to the Prambanan Temple complex is a must-see, providing a fascinating glimpse into the rich cultural heritage of this remarkable country.

Unique Aspect of Prambanan Construction

Prambanan Temple is known for its interlocking temple construction system, which is truly fascinating. It was built without cement but using the interlocking system instead, namely by combining several stones like a puzzle.

This system involved carving the stones to fit together perfectly, using a combination of gravity and pressure to hold them in place. The stones were carefully measured and cut to fit precisely into the spaces they were intended for, ensuring a tight and secure fit. Despite its height, this technique proves to be effective in preventing an earthquake from demolishing the temple with its sturdy design and foundation.

It is apparent from the interlocking system at Prambanan Temple that the builders were extremely skilled in their work. Even after a thousand years, Prambanan Temple remains awe-inspiring and continues to inspire visitors around the globe

Prambanan’s Interesting Facts
  1. Prambanan Temple was originally named Siwagrha.

    The name Siwagrha is taken from the Sanskrit language which means House of Shiva. Prambanan Temple’s main hall contains a three-meter-high Shiva Mahadeva statue, which was erected as a form of respect to Lord Shiva during the rule of Rakai Pikatan. Hence, the name of the House of Shiva was given as a form of Lord Shiva’s sacred place.

  2. The temple complex was built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sanjaya Dynasty and took over 200 years to complete.

    The construction process would have involved various stages, such as planning, designing, quarrying, carving, and assembling the temple structures. This long period of construction is a testament to the impressive scale and complexity of the temple complex, as well as the dedication and resources of the people who built it.

  3. Prambanan Temple is designed to resemble Mount Semeru.

    According to ancient Hindu cosmology, Prambanan Temple is designed to resemble the peak of Mahameru. The peak of Mahameru was believed by ancient people to be the home of the gods. As a result, the Prambanan Temple represents the House of Gods.

  4. Shiva Temple in Prambanan is considered the largest temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Indonesia.

    The Shiva Temple stands 47 meters tall and is adorned with intricate carvings and statues depicting scenes from Hindu mythology. It is considered to be the largest temple among all the temples in the complex, and it is one of the most impressive and recognizable structures within the complex due to its size and intricate decorations. The temple was built to honor Lord Shiva, who is one of the most important and revered deities in Hinduism, and it remains an important site of worship for Hindus and a popular tourist attraction for visitors who come to admire its beauty and historical significance.

  5. Prambanan Temple was abandoned after the decline of the Sanjaya Dynasty and was rediscovered by the Dutch in the 18th century.

    After the Sanjaya Dynasty declined, the Prambanan Temple complex was abandoned and left in disrepair. For many centuries, the temple complex lay hidden and forgotten in the jungle, with many of its structures being overgrown by vegetation. It was not until the 18th century that the Dutch colonialists rediscovered the temple complex and began efforts to restore and preserve it. It is interesting to note that many Dutch citizens used the statues as their decoration, while Indonesians used the stone as a foundation for their houses.

  6. The Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered to be one of the largest and most significant Hindu temples in Southeast Asia.

    The Prambanan Temple has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a World Heritage Site. This means that it is considered to be a place of outstanding cultural and historical importance that should be preserved for future generations. The temple complex is also widely recognized as one of the largest and most significant Hindu temples in Southeast Asia, due to its impressive size, intricate decorations, and historical significance. As a result, it is a popular destination for tourists and visitors who come to appreciate its beauty and learn more about the history and culture of the region.

  7. The temple complex is surrounded by a myth involving the legend of Rara Jonggrang.

    According to the myth, the temples of the Prambanan complex were built by the prince and his followers as an offering to the gods in an attempt to break the curse that had turned Rara Jonggrang into a statue. The complex was meant to have 1,000 temples, but Rara Jonggrang asked for one more temple to be built, which angered the prince and caused him to curse her.

  8. There actually used to be 240 temples, not up to 1,000 in Prambanan Temple.

    Contrary to popular belief, the number of temples within the Prambanan Temple complex was not as many as 1,000. In fact, historical evidence suggests that there were originally 240 temples within the complex. This means that the actual number of temples in the complex is significantly lower than the often-cited number of 1,000.


The Prambanan Temple complex is an impressive and historically significant site that has attracted visitors and scholars from around the world. From its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site to its association with the legend of Rara Jonggrang, there are many fascinating facts and stories associated with the temple complex. While it is often remembered for its large Shiva Temple and intricate carvings, it is important to remember that the temple complex also represents an important cultural and religious center for Hinduism in Southeast Asia. Despite its abandonment and partial destruction over the years, the Prambanan Temple complex remains a symbol of Indonesia’s rich history and cultural heritage.

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