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Prambanan Temple Compounds

Prambanan Temple

 

Prambanan Temple Compounds
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.

Brief synthesis
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.

While Loro Jonggrang, dating from the 9th century, is a brilliant example of Hindu religious bas-reliefs, Sewu, with its four pairs of Dwarapala giant statues, is Indonesia’s largest Buddhist complex including the temples of Lumbung, Bubrah and Asu (Gana temple). The Hindu temples are decorated with reliefs illustrating the Indonesian version of the Ramayana epic which are masterpieces of stone carvings. These are surrounded by hundreds of shrines that have been arranged in three parts showing high levels of stone building technology and architecture from the 8th century AD in Java. With over 500 temples, Prambanan Temple Compounds represents not only an architectural and cultural treasure, but also a standing proof of past religious peaceful cohabitation.

Criterion (i): Prambanan Temple Compounds presents the grandiose culture of Siva art as a masterpiece of the classical period in Indonesia, and the region.

Criterion (iv): The property is an outstanding religious complex, characteristic of Siva expression of the 10th century.

Integrity
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.

Authenticity
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.

Prambanan, named after the village, is the biggest temple complex in Java. It is actually a huge Hindu temple complex about 15 km north-east of Yogyakarta. Dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities, this temple with its decorated reliefs is an outstanding example of Siva art in Indonesia and the region.

It was built in the 9th century and designed as three concentric squares. In all there are 224 temples in the entire complex. The inner square contains 16 temples, the most significant being the 47 m high central Siva temple flanked to the north by the Brahma temple and to the south by the Vishnu temple. These three ancient masterpieces of Hindu architecture are locally referred to as the Prambanan Temple or Lorojonggrang Temple (Slender Maiden); the compound was deserted soon after it was completed, possibly owing to the eruption of nearby Mount Merapi.

A square platform is divided into concentric courts by square-plane walls. In the middle of the last enceinte stand the temples dedicated to the three great Hindu gods and three small temples dedicated to their animal vehicles (Bull for Siva, Eagle for Brahma and Swan for Vishnu). Other minor temples were located at the entrance gates or outside the central enceinte (four ensembles).

The Siva temple had four statues: located in the centre chamber is the Siva statue; in the north chamber stands the Dewi Durga Mahisasuramardhini statue; in the west chamber stands the Ganesya statue; and the south chamber contains the statue of Agastya. Inside the Brahma temple there is Brahma statue, and in the Vishnu temple there is the Vishnu statue. In the Vishnu temple is carved the story of Kresnayana, while the Brahma temple houses the continuous story of the Ramayana. The temples of Siva, Vishnu and Brahma are decorated with reliefs illustrating the Ramayana period (history of the Hindu hero Rama, written around 300).

The neighbouring Buddhist ensemble at Sewu comprises a central temple surrounded by a multitude of minor temples. Surprisingly, it shares many design attributes with the Hindu Loro Joggrang Temple, perhaps indicating the degree to which such temples also reflect state policies and control. Three other temples in ruins set between Sewu and Loro Joggrang complete the ensemble around Prambanan: Lumbuna, Burah and Asu.
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