Prambanan Temple, Beauty From a Curse

Prambanan Temple is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia which was built in the 9th century. Prambanan Temple was first mentioned in the Syiwagrha Inscription (856AD). Prambanan was used as the Agung Temple for various royal and religious ceremonies during the heyday of the old Mataram Kingdom.

In the Prambanan area there are 3 main temples located on the main courtyard of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva temples. The three temples are a symbol of Trimurti in Hindu belief. The three temples face east. Each main temple has one companion temple facing west, namely Nandini for Shiva, Angsa for Brahma, and Garuda for Wisnu. In addition, there are still 2 temple temples, 4 kelir temples, and 4 corner temples. Meanwhile, the second page has 224 temples.

If you enter the Shiva temple in the middle and the highest building, you will find 4 rooms. One main room contains a statue of Shiva, while the other three rooms contain a statue of Durga (Shiva’s wife), Agastya (Shiva’s teacher), and Ganesha (Shiva’s son). The Durga statue is mentioned as the statue of Roro Jonggrang. Regarding the legend of Roro Jonggrang, you can read here:

In the Vishnu Temple which is located north of the Shiva temple, you will find a room containing the Wisnu statue. Likewise, the Brahma Temple which is located south of the Shiva Temple, you will also only find one room containing the Brahma statue.

Candi Garuda is a companion temple located near Wisnu Temple. There is a story about a half-bird human figure named Garuda inside this temple. Garuda, a mystical bird in the golden mythology of Hinduism, has a white face, red wings, beaked and winged like an eagle.

The Prambanan temple also has reliefs containing the Ramayana story. According to experts, the relief is similar to the Ramayana story which was passed down through oral tradition. Another interesting relief is the Kalpataru tree which in Hinduism is considered a tree of life, environmental sustainability and harmony. In Prambanan, the relief of the Kalpataru tree is depicted as being flanking the lion. The existence of this tree makes experts think that the 9th century people have wisdom in managing their environment.

Just like Garuda, Kalpataru is now also used for various purposes. In Indonesia, Kalpataru became a symbol of the living environment. In fact, some scientists in Bali developed the concept of Tri Hita Karana for environmental conservation by looking at the Kalpataru relief in this temple. The tree of life can also be found on the gunungan which is used to open the wayang art. A proof that the reliefs in Prambanan are global.

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JC. Princen

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