Terrific Temples of Indonesia

Temples and statues at sunrise

Indonesia has over 14,000 islands, so we gave ourselves a month in the hopes of exploring every single one. Well, we got to 4 islands at least! Exploring Java, Kalimantan, Bali and Lombok was quite memorable.

Bali alone accounts for 40% of Indonesia’s 15 million annual tourists and warrants a separate future blog post. While most tourists fly Denpasar Airport in Bali, we got a great flight deal to Jakarta. Fine by us as we had our sights on two incredible temple complexes: Prambanan and Borobudur nearby to Jogyakarta, a short, inexpensive flight from Jakarta. The Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java and dates back to the 9th century.

The word for a Hindu or Buddhist temple in Indonesia is “candi”.

The three main temple structures honor the three main Hindu gods: Brahma (the Creator), Shiva (the Destroyer), and Vishnu (the Keeper).

Just a half mile from Prambanan is Sewu Temple which is an 8th Century Buddhist Temple. One can easily walk, but why do that when you have THIS as an available mode of transportation!

Tandem Power!

Sewu, the second largest Buddhist temple complex in all Indonesia, was one of the most impressive temple complexes I have ever seen. An astounding 249 buildings make up the complex arranged in a mandala pattern. 240 of these are smaller, guardian temples. The main temple soars to height of 100 feet. The complex suffered severe damage in a 2006 earthquake, and while there has been reconstruction and restoration, the entire site is still littered with stones and crumbled smaller candi.

TO KNOW – Visiting Prambanan ancd Sewu:

Location: 17 km outside of Yogyakarta city, in the middle of Java, Indonesia.
Getting there from Yogyakarta: you can take a bus or a taxi or even bicycle there.
Hours: 6 am – 5 pm, seven days a week.
Cost: $18 per person. ($9 for students).

The Borobudur Temple Complex is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

It was constructed in the 8th century. Borobudur is massive in size, built from 2 million stone blocks, its nine different terraces form a symmetrical stupa; if seen from above, the entire complex has the shape of a mandala. No less than 500 stone Buddhas adorn the terraces. The top terrace is round to signify the never-ending path to nirvana.
Our plan was to catch the sunrise at Borobudur. We woke at 3:00 am and by 3:30 am the two of us clutched each other as we rode on the back of one motor scooter. If seeing sunrise from Borobudur Temple is not on your ‘Bucket List’… put it on there!

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