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Borobudur and Prambanan: the Java temples

A few kilometers from each other, in the center of the island of Java, there are two of the most important Hindu and Buddhist temples of Southeast Asia. The Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple of Prambanan.

TEMPLE OF BOROBUDUR

The temple of Borobudur is located in the center of the island of Java, 40 km north-west of Yogyakarta. This temple built between the 8th and 9th centuries is among the most important Buddhist artistic testimonies of Southeast Asia.

Formed by a pyramid-shaped base of 123 meters per side, on which five square terraces rise, the structure has three levels. Above the terraced pyramid, which represents the first level, there is a trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa.

The whole structure is thickly decorated with bas-reliefs that illustrate the life of the Buddha, there are about 1,500 reliefs for a total area of 2,500 square meters. On the top there are 72 stupas with a Buddha statue inside. Only the central stupa is empty, it represents Nirvana. Borobudur was restored with the help of UNESCO in 1970, and since 1991 it has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

TEMPLE OF PRAMBANAN

The Prambanan temple, located just 16 km from Yogyakarta and less than 40 km from the Borobudur Buddhist temple, is the most important Hindu temple on the island of Java.

The main building, built between the 8th and 10th centuries, under the reign of the Sanjaya dynasty, consists of three temples, called Trimurti, decorated with bas-reliefs illustrating the Ramayana epic. The central temple is the largest and reaches a height of 47 meters and is dedicated to Shiva. The two side temples are dedicated to Visnu and Brahma and reach a height of 33 meters.

Around the three main temples there are other buildings such as the three vehicle temples (vahana) that serve the gods, which are located in front of the main temples.

At the time of its construction, the Prambanan temple complex contained over 250 large and small temples. Today a few dozen remain, some of which have been reduced to ruins. The perimeter wall that encloses the temples measures 390 meters per side.

The Prambanan complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

This post is also available in: German

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