Prambanan: A Temple with a Story of Love and Betrayal | A Jog around Jogjakarta | Indonesian Itinerary 3
The weather that afternoon certainly set the tone of our visit to the Prambanan Temple, a Hindu temple in Jogjakarta in the island of Java, Indonesia. The heavy clouds foreboding with rain seemed to tell us of the ancient gods' temperament, and it did rain. And rain is a blessing.
What a great start to our ten-day tour around Java. That afternoon, we have just arrived in Jogjakarta (or Jogja, as it is commonly referred to by the locals). The Christmas break had officially begun for us teachers, and it was the first visit for most of us here. Thanks to Mr. Art for taking this memento by the runway just before we went inside the arrival hall to get our luggage.
On our way to the hotel, we had lunch at a restaurant, and along the way, we saw acres of rice fields. I guess this is why rice servings in Indonesia are larger than what I'm used to. They produce so much rice! And it seems like Jogja is one of the major producers of rice in the country.
This was our home for the next three days as we explored the major tourist spots in the region. I just love the architectural design. Traditional Indonesian. When we entered, it seemed like the hotel itself said "Selamat Datang!" (Welcome!)
After a quick touch up and change outfit, we headed to Prambanan, which is just within the city limits. Pinoys of Kerinci, represent!
The entrance was only Rp 30,000 (Php 100+) for locals and expatriates like us with tax IDs, but a whopping Rp 300,000 (Php 1,000+) for foreign tourists, hehe. Terima kasih (thank you), for the huge 90% discount, Indonesia. This country knows how to encourage local tourism. Note: Please check the new rates when travelling there in the future. Prices may have already changed.
We all took turns posing in their imposing temples. The steps were steep, but hey, we don't come here every day. It soon started to drizzle, but the park staff already had umbrellas ready, and we were so thankful. So the photo shoot continued.
It was getting a bit cold, so my light parka was quite handy along with the bright yellow umbrella I borrowed. Now, even if the sights were beautiful, I still kept in mind that this was a temple. Once upon a time, people prayed here. And I could feel it in my bones, especially since it rained. There was something in the air. Like the vibes wanted me to enjoy but also show respect. I was treading on holy ground.
Some parts of the temple had already been destroyed perhaps by earthquakes and maybe even human actions like wars. These gigantic blocks of stones reminded me of what once was a great symbol of religion and power but is now a tourist spot. It told me of the passage of time and how time could level even the highest of peaks.
So when I was at the top, I tried to relish the moment. The view was great. And yes, I did check what was inside the cavern. It was empty. At least, when I took a peek.
Why are there so many temples in Prambanan? Legends have it that Roro Jonggrang, the daughter of the king of Prambanan, asked her suitor Bandung Bondowoso, the mean king of Pengging who had magical powers, to build a thousand temples in one night as a sign of his sincere intent.
So Bandung Bondowoso got his genies to work. And since they were genies with superpowers, they were quick. But the princess didn't really want to marry him because he was mean, so she and her people devised a plan. They set up a huge fire to trick the genies that it was already sunrise! It worked. The genies started to leave just when they had 999 temples built. Bandung Bondowoso soon discovered what Roro Jonggrang did. And in his anger, he turned her into the thousandth temple. The Roro Jonggrang temple is still standing there surrounded by other temples, a sign of love and betrayal.
You can read a version of the story here.
Look at the cheeky grins of these teachers who have just submitted the final grades! There were a few flights of stairs before we reached this wide-open space, like a plaza of some sort. More temples or towers could be found. Some were taller than others. But we didn't go up any of these anymore since we already did at the perimeter. Besides, the place was swarming with people. It was the start of the Christmas holiday after all.
Can't get enough of the angles. I really had to work on my selfie stick game here.
I am so grateful for the people surrounding me. My Guest House 1 family. They were at the top of my list when I said a little prayer at this temple.
It was my first time celebrating the Christmas holiday away from my family. It was supposed to be my annual leave, but since I already used up my ticket fare allowance for my Grandma's funeral earlier in July, I decided to stay. I wasn't ready to go home anyway. It was different. Besides, the ticket to the Philippines was way more expensive. All expenses I had for this trip cost even less than the roundtrip airfare if I went home.
This was a time of exploration. Of learning new culture and tradition. Of seeing a part of my humanity through the lives of other people, whether in the present or frozen in the past as this temple.
My friend Lyn here was so excited to use her DSLR camera. If I remembered it right, she had it fixed and ready just for this trip. I'm sure she has more awesome photos than I do. She has a great eye for photography.
On the way out of the temple, there were souvenir shops. I was particularly interested in this sculptor's works. Intriguing, right? If only I could afford them.
Now, it's almost sunset. Time to go home. But wait! The adventure is just beginning. After visiting Candi Prambanan, we rode up the hills to catch the sunset in another temple. Catch me in my next article to know what it is.
Selamat sore! Dada! (Good afternoon! Goodbye!) 🌺
You may read more about me and my interests in my first article: Get to Know April: A Self-Intro Blog
Check these out for more of my travelogues of Indonesia:
- Selamat datang di Padang! (Welcome to Padang!) | Island Hopping in Sumatra
- An Ode to a Lost Love | Bukittinggi Memoirs
And I've also shared a food blog: Soto Betawi: The Search for the Ultimate Indonesian Food
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