Prambanan Temple Built in the 10th century, this is the largest temple compound dedicated to Shiva in Indonesia. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) and three temples dedicated to the animals who serve them.
Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple. Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples. All the mentioned temples form the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island.
Prambanan Temple is said to be the most beautiful Hindu temple in the world. It is the biggest temple complex in Java with three main temples dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities, Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, the symbols of Trimurti in Hindu belief.
According to the history, Rakai Pikatan, a Hindu prince from Sanjaya Dynasty, who had married into the ruling Buddhist Sailendra monarchy built all the temples in the Prambanan archaeological park in the 8th century AD. In its original form, the temple complex contained over 250 large and small temples. The temple compound was expanded by successive Mataram kings with the addition of the hundreds of perwara temples around the central temples. It served as the royal temple of the Kingdom of Mataram for its religious ceremonies and sacrifices. However, in the 10th century the temple was largely abandoned because the Mataram dynasty moved to East Java. It then collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century.
Also locally known as Roro Jonggrang, legend has it that the 1,000th statue of the temple was the statue of a slender virgin lady named Roro Jonggrang, who turned into stone by a young and powerful man named Bandung Bondowoso after her attempt to thwart Bondowoso’s effort in building a thousand temples and two wells in one night for the lady failed. Bondowoso was in love with Roro Jonggrang and asked her to marry him. However, Roro Jonggrang was full of hatred because Bondowoso killed her father; hence she tried to refuse his proposal by asking him a seemingly impossible task. As a man who had unseen troop of spirits, it was easy for Bondowoso to finish the task. After nearly a thousand temples had been built, Roro Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice and to set a fire in order to look like the morning had broken. This way, the spirits had no choice but left before completing the last one temple. Bondowoso realised that the lady had cheated him so he turned Roro Jonggrang into the 1,000th statue. This is a very interesting folklore that local people love to share.
Prambanan Temple Compounds presents the grandiose culture of Siva art as a masterpiece of the classical period in Indonesia, and the region.
The property is an outstanding religious complex, characteristic of Siva expression of the 10th century.
Prambanan Temple Compounds comprises of two groups of buildings which includes Loro Jonggrang, Sewu complexes, Lumbung, Bubrah and Asu (Gana). The 508 stone temples of various shapes and sizes are either in a complete and preserved condition or have been retained as ruins. This site includes all elements necessary to express its exceptional significance and is well maintained. There are no threats of development or neglect; however the area is prone to natural threats such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.
Prambanan Temple Compounds contains the original structures that were built in the 9th century AD. The temples collapsed due to earthquake, volcanic eruption and a shift of political power in the early 11th century, and they were rediscovered in the 17th century. These compounds have never been displaced or changed. Restoration works have been conducted since 1918, both in original traditional method of interlocking stone and modern methods using concrete to strengthen the temple structure. Even though extensive restoration works have been done in the past and as recently as after the 2006 earthquake, great care has been taken to retain the authenticity of the structures.
Protection and management requirements
The property has been designated as a National Cultural Property in 1998 and the national law issued in 2010 also supports the protection and conservation of the property. Management of Prambanan Temple Compounds is accommodated in the Presidential Decree of 1992 that established the 77 ha that encompasses the property under central government ownership. This area is divided into two zones. The management of Zone 1 or the area within the boundary is conducted by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism under two different regional offices, namely the Archaeological Preservation Office of Yogyakarta and Central Java. The Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko Tourism Park Ltd. are responsible for Zone 2 which comprises the buffer zone. In order to implement standard operations for the safeguarding of the property, the government has established a regulation concerning national vital object area. All regulations have been well enforced and implemented.
In order to improve the management of the property, government issued the law in 2007 and government regulation of 2008 concerning national spatial planning which means that spatial planning in World Cultural Heritage area will be prioritized. Prambanan site has been established as one of the strategic national area which consists of Prambanan temple Compounds and others related temple remains. To ensure the long term safeguarding of the property, an integrated management and regulation that support preservation is needed.
The Action Plan of 2007 has been implemented with the involvement of the local community around the property. The welfare of the local community around the property that was affected by the earthquake of 27 May 2006, is now improving with the recovery of the usual economic activity and especially in the creative industry sector. The Siva temple has not been rehabilitated but research activities or technical studies of the Siva temple have been carried out in 2010 and 2011. The results have been discussed at national and international level with the conclusion that it is still necessary to study and research to determine the method of handling Siva Temple, including monitoring through seismograph study and crack meter periodically.