Hindu and Buddha temples are some of the most famous destinations to visit while in Indonesia. Visiting the temples is a marvellous adventure as it helps understand Indonesia’s history.
Here are some of the most famous temples in Indonesia that are a must visit:
Candi Borobudur, no doubt is considered to be one of the most famous temples in Indonesia and is even a UNESCO world heritage site. Dating back to the 9th century, It was built during the reign of King Samaratungga of Sriwijaya. Made up of over 2 million bricks and 504 Buddha statues, Borobudur is split into three complexes.
Candi Borobudur also holds several mysteries. First, archaeologists have been wondering how ancient civilisation would have been able to build a complex architectural structure, each stone all cut to be exactly how they wanted it. Second would be the use of the word Borobudur itself. Many believe that the position of the stupas and patterns found on the site indicate that the temple might be a solarium, used to indicate the time of the cultivation and harvest time.
Tip: Due to its height, it has also been considered to have the best sunsets. As far as sunrises go, this one is up there with the best.
Prambanan Temple is said to be the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. Built around the ninth century as a place of worship for Lord Shiva, Prambanan is comprised of eight main shrines with 250 smaller ones surrounding it. Nearly all of the walls in the temples are covered in exquisite carvings that tell the story of Vishnu’s incarnations, adventures of Hanuman the Monkey King, the Ramayana epic and other legends.
However this site also boasts a mythical origin story. Legend is that Bandung Bondowoso fell in love with Roro Jonggrang and planned to marry her. She had hesitations about marrying him, so she set a condition for the marriage which is to build 1000 temples in one night if he had the intention of marrying her. He almost achieved his goal if not for the ladies in the village, who told by Roro Jonggrang to pound rice with pestles, waking up the roosters. After finding out that she had cheated him on the deal, he became so furious that he turned her into stone.
Other than Prambanan and Borobudur, Dieng is also one of the most famous group of temples in Indonesia. What makes the eight small Hindu temples from the Kalingga Kingdom so significant is that the temples are amongst the oldest surviving religious structures ever built in Java, and the earliest Hindu temples in Indonesia.
The local Javanese people named each temples according to wayang character folklore which are mostly from the Mahabharata epic. This is because there are not much information and inscription related to the temples, which is why the history and the king responsible for the construction of these temples were unknown.
Mendut temple was first to have been created during the reign of King Indra from the Syailendra dynasty. In the Karangtengah inscription during the year 824 AD, it was mentioned that the king has built a building called wenuwana which means bamboo forest. Interestingly, the building material of the temple is actually a brick that is covered with natural stone. The building is located on a high basement, so it looks more graceful and sturdy. Visitors who want to see directly the relics and study the architecture on the spot can also do that, as all of the designs are still have the beautiful looking and also worth some pictures.
Candi Plaosan is known to be one of the most beautiful temples in Indonesia, for it is a renowned Hindu Temple that covers an area of about 2,000 square meters with an elevation of 148 meters above sea level. The Dengok River, which is located nearby, and the beautiful surroundings of paddy fields along with vegetation such as banana and corn, offers most relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenic views to the visitors.
‘Pura Besakih’, or else ‘Mother Temple’, is the largest and most important temple complex in Bali. Not only is the large complex a reason why it becomes famous, but the location is also an important factor. It was built on the slopes of Gunung Agung, which is of importance in both Balinese and Hindu cultures. The complex contains 22 separate temples with stepped terraces and stairways leading to the main temple building.
Historically, Indonesia is a country with a lot of temples. However there are only several temples that are well-known and most visited. If you are ever in Indonesia, temples mentioned above are some of the must-visit destinations in Indonesia.
Have you visited these temples? Share with us your experience in the comments section below.