Asia

The temples of Prambanan day and night

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7.15 am How good it feels to sleep eight hours! After having rested and with the spirits to the fullest, we went to have breakfast, since at eight o'clock they came to us to look for the excursion that we had hired the previous day in the Via-Via coffee. Heni and I Gede were waiting for us on time to take us that morning by motorcycle to Prambanan and to some hidden temples in the area.

We get on the bikes and cross Yogyakarta surrounded by a swarm of mopeds until leaving the city. Suddenly, we leave all traffic chaos and enter the countryside. On both sides of the road, rice fields and tropical trees surrounded us. In Java there is no specific season for planting rice, it is planted and harvested throughout the year, so while we were on secondary roads we saw men plowing the land in some plots and, in others, women planting the young shoots of rice.

According to Heni, women are responsible for planting rice because there is a belief that women's fertility helps the crop grow better.

The good thing about riding a motorcycle is that Heni stopped every time I wanted to take a picture, which was several times, and I didn't stop taking pictures of those landscapes that I had seen so many times: flooded rice fields, where it reflected the sky as if it were a mirror.
After three quarters of an hour on the motorcycle, we arrive at the first "hidden" temple, the Candi Ijo (green temple). This Hindu temple is formed by three small buildings and one main one and apart from us there were only a few students who had made bells and had gone to take refuge there.


I Gede explained to us that the main temple was dedicated to Shiva, also known as "the Annihilator," although he emphasized that he was like a pseudonym, which did not mean that his main function was to destroy. Inside the main temple there was a figure that represented both masculine and feminine and was used in fertility ceremonies. In these ceremonies a mixture of milk, honey and other products of the earth was poured over a pike that was under the statue.

I Gede explained to us that there were several theories about the name of this Hindu temple, that it was because of the greenery of the area, that if there was a holy man who was called the green man, etc.

After the visit, we got back on the motorbikes and about 15 minutes later we stopped at another small Buddhist temple completely renovated: the Candi Banyunibo, who is so lost among the fields that he was called "the loner." I Gede, who is a professor of Hinduism at a university in Yogyakarta, explained that Buddhism has things in common with Hinduism because Siddhartha before beginning Buddhism was Hindu.

While we were riding the motorcycle, Heni kept asking me things about life in Spain, about marriage, women's independence and about religion. In Java, the majority of the population is Muslim, but they are very open-minded compared to other countries. For example, both I Gede and Heni studied in the Catholic school simply because education there is the best. On the other hand, the situation of women is still bad. Heni explained that going to live with the boyfriend without being married was unthinkable, although she was in favor of doing so. And while we were going to Prambanan, I tried to answer as well as I could to everything I asked. Then I learned that she was writing a thesis on intercultural relationships, and that her boyfriend was an American.

Half an hour later, we arrived at Prambananwhich is the Indonesia's most famous Hindu temple. Upon arrival, we saw that there were two tickets: one for Indonesians, who pay 12,500 rupees (€ 1) and another for foreigners, which costs $ 13 or, if paid in rupees, 117,000 (€ 9.5). In fact, if we had bought the entrance to the agency, it would have cost us Rs 110,000, but since we have a student card, we could only buy there the discount ticket that was worth $ 7 or Rs 63,000 (€ 5.15). In exchange for paying more, they offered you water and a welcome tea. In the office you can also hire a guide for Rs 60,000 (€ 5), which is highly recommended.
As I Gede is not an official guide, he explained a bit of the history of the temple to a model that was before entering the site. Then, while we tried to keep in mind all that he had explained to us, we set out to visit the ruins.


Prambanan It was built in the mid-eleventh century and it is not clear who had it built. The temple was in ruins for many centuries until in 1937 the reconstruction began. Of the main group of temples, the one that stands out the most is Candi Shiva Mahadeva, which is dedicated to Shiva and is the largest and most beautiful. To the right is Candi Vishnu and to the left of Candi Brahma. A temple for each of the facets of the Hindu god.

The entire central temple complex of Prambanan is very spectacular and for me it was very special because it was the first Hindu temple I visited. The trouble was that Candi Shiva Mahadeva could not be visited inside, because it was still being restored from the damage it suffered during the 2006 earthquake. Even so, I took the opportunity to climb the stairs of Candi Vishnu and thus enjoy its reliefs and its ornamentation quietly because there were hardly any visitors at that time.

As the little train that leads there did not work at that time, we walked north to visit another temple, the Candi Sewu. Along the way, we met several shepherdesses who had their flock of sheep grazing on the grass of the complex and with a group of students who did a survey in English as homework and with which we ended up taking pictures.


Unlike previous temples, the Candi Sewu It is a Buddhist temple that is still being restored, and that is why there were stones everywhere and bamboo scaffolding in some of its structures. The temple is from the year 850 and originally consisted of a central temple and 240 (!) Smaller ones that surrounded it. There was an absolute calm there because, apart from us and a couple of workers working, there was no one else. October is low season in Indonesia and we have noticed a lot in terms of crowds shortages.


As we returned to the entrance, he began to thunder and, as we did not want to soak, with the motorcycle they put the direct and we returned at full speed towards Yogyakarta. Theoretically October is still the dry season, but with climate change you can find a downpour after a morning of full sun. Luckily, we arrived at the hotel dry and ready to take the heat off with a swim in the pool. After the bath, we went out to look for a restaurant to eat near the hotel and we ended up at the Laba-Laba restaurant. We asked for duck, but when they brought us the dish, it gave me the feeling that either that duck was very small or the dove was very large. Likewise, I ate the little meat that the animal had and finished it off by eating a banana battered with strawberry ice cream.

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