Prambanan – When Mind Stands Still

Posted On February 22, 2012 

Whenever I think of a trip abroad, I am always reminded of how my sister in law had gone to Singapore and Indonesia and had told me to visit the places for sure.

So when I got an opportunity to go on a vacation this time, I went to Indonesia. Armed with all the enthusiasm and joy to go on a break, I was quite enthralled by Indonesian culture and the warmth that they exuded.

While on a tour of the country, I went to this one place where I just felt time stood still. Totally mesmerized and hypnotized, I instantly sat down and wrote this blog.

This was the area of the Prambanan temple where which is a great construction of the 10th century. Dating back to this time, the ancientness of the building is what made it look so beautiful. The kings RAkai Balitung and Rakai Pikatan were responsible for having got this constructed and this temple is famous as it is around 5m higher than the Borobudur temple. It represents a lot of Hindu victory in the area of Java.

Prambanan temple

Situated around 17 kilometres from the city, it was a good drive I had to go to the temple. With my Indonesian tourist guide along, the journey was quite good and I really was quite excited at the sight of this lovely 10th century masterpiece.

Legend has it that the Bandung Bondowoso was a man who was in love with Roro Jonggrang. She refused him and asked him to make a temple of around 1000 statues over a night.  Bondowoso in a bid actually did it too. But Jonggrang was cleverer and faked a morning light by burning a heap of rice. Bondowoso was very upset that he was cheated in spite of having completed 999 statues. He cursed that Jonggrang be the 1000th statue.

As I went into the temple, I saw that there were three temples here. There was a Vishnu temple, a Shiva temple and a Brahma temple. Symbolizing the Trimurti, these temples face eastwards. There was a smaller accompanying temple in each main temple. Nandini temple for the Shiva temple, the Angsa temple for the Brahma temple and the Garuda temple for the Vishnu temple. I was totally struck by the sheer beauty and magnificence of the place. Besides these temples there were 2 flank temples, 4 corner temples and 4 kelir temples.

In all I mightLord Ganesha in Prambanan temple have counted around 224 temples. Wasn’t that a great number I felt.  I went into the temple of Lord Shiva. This incidentally is the highest temple here and is situated in the centre. There were four rooms. There was a main room which had the stature of Lord Shiva, there were three other rooms . These rooms had different statues. There were idols of Shiva’s wife, of Sage Agastya who was Shiva’s teacher and also Lord Ganesha who is Lord Shiva’s son. The statue of Goddess Durga is the one which is believe to be the cursed stature of Roro Jonggrang.

Then I went into the Vishnu temple which was to the north of the Lord Shiva temple. Here there is only one room which had the idol of Vishnu inside it. Here too the architectural elegance was exquisite and elegant and was certainly something to be proud of.

Then I made my way towards the Lord Brahma temple, which lay to the south of the temple of Lord Shiva. Here too there was a single room where the idol of Lord Brahma lies.

Now I had to go around the accompanying temples. The temple of Garuda is near the Vishnu temple and there is as story about this temple. Garuda is the mythological bird in Hindu epics. The figure has a golden colored body. The face was white and the wings were red. The beak and the wings of the Garuda bird were very similar to that of the eagles’. The figure here is supposed to be an adapted Hindu version of Bennu. Bennu means shining or rising. This figure is connected to the Sun God or the Re in the Egypt mythology and even the Phoenix in Greek mythology. It is said that Garuda saved his mother from the curse of its  handicapped brother ARuna. It steals the sacred water of all gods the Tirtha Amerta and saves his mother.

Prambanan temple

Garuda’s ability to save its mother gave it a symbolic status here and people in Indonesia still regard the Garuda as the symbol of the country. Even Thailand uses this for the same reason but has adapted the form. It is known as Pha Krut and Krut in Thailand.

Then as I walked across the Prambanan temple I loved the relics that were depicted on the panels. I also saw the Kalpataru tree which is a proof to existence of wisdom here in this land. Kalpataru tree is the logo of the Environmental division in Indonesia.

I came out of the temple totally refreshed and rejuvenated and my soul was at peace.

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