20 November 2017

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

Prambanan is the largest Hindu Temple complex in Indonesia, and one of the biggest in Southeast Asia. Built in the 9th century it is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  The complex has eight large temples, the main temple is 47 meters high, and dedicated to Shiva.

DSC_0090 (3)There were originally 240 temples on the site, eight main temples have been reconstructed. There were 224 smaller temples, Pervara temples, surrounding the main eight, however these have not been reconstructed so the stones lay in little heaps around the complex.DSC_0076 (2)

All the buildings have panels of relief work, and I particularly liked the dragon heads jutting out from the corners of one of the temples.

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For a break from temples I went to the Taman Sari Water Castle, which was built in the mid-18th century. It was a place for bathing but was also used for meditation, and as a hiding place for the Sultan and his family. There are ‘secret’ tunnels that the Sultan could use to escape enemies. DSC_0264

Taman Sari was a royal garden of the Sultanate of Yogyakarta, and originally had four areas: a large artificial lake with islands and pavilions; a complex of pavilions and pools; a small lake; and a bathing complex. The bathing complex is what visitors have access to and seen in these photos. One wouldn’t want to go bathing in this today.


In one area there is a circular building called Sumur Gumuling, where there are five sets of linked steps, four sets of steps lead up to a central platform, the fifth staircase provides access to the first floor.  The reason for this odd angle photo is, people, this is a popular selfie spot, somehow I managed to be there, when for a second, there wasn’t a human posing at the top of the steps.  DSC_0284 (2)

I’ve seen lots of songbirds in cages during my stay here, I haven’t seen caged birds in these numbers since I visited China, it seems it is very popular here too. Songbirds are  a huge industry in Indonesia with birds being sold for the equivalent of, a few, to hundreds of dollars. They seem well looked after, although I think it does look sad seeing these tiny things stuck in the confines of a cage. The demand for some bird species is threatening the numbers in the wild with extinction. We humans are a strange lot, rather than see birds living freely, where their songs can still be heard we prefer to trap them in cages. Not that the UK is a better example, it’s supposed to be a nation of animal lovers, yet there are hundreds of dog and cat shelters where pets end up when it is decided they are no longer wanted. Strange humans.



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