The Prambanan is a Hindu temple complex which was recognised in 1991, as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Prambanan is built in the same period (around the year 850) as the Borobudur temple, which proves that on Java, Buddhism and Hinduism lived peacefully next to one another.
The Prambanan complex consists of three main temples (up till 47 meters high) and three smaller temples. The three main temples represent the Hindu gods Brahma (creator), Shiva (destroyer) and Vishnu (sustainer) and the three smaller temples are dedicated to the animals these gods used for their transportation: a goose, a bull and an eagle.
Next to the six bigger temples there are many smaller temples. Up till today not all of the 224 little temples are restored yet. You can still walk between the ruins and stones from the smaller temples. Imagine how the complex would have looked like 1250 years ago!
The Prambanan temple is still mystical. Locally Prambanan is known as “Roro Jonggrang” after a legend that Javanese people tell about the temple.
Once there was a man named Bandung Bondowoso who fell in love with Roro Jonggrang. Roro Jonggrang was not pleased with his love, and to be able to refuse his love, she asked him to do something that seemed impossible: to build her a temple with 1000 statues, in just one night. But Bandung Bondowoso’s love for her was so strong, that he did anything to fullfill her wish. He even asked an army of djinns (ghosts) to help him. Afraid she had to keep her promise, Roro Jonggrang asked the villagers to pound rice (a traditional dawn activity) and set a fire (to imitate the sunrise) in order to pretend the morning had broken.
The djinns stopped building, assuming the night was over, and fled away for the sunlight. Only 999 statues were completed. Bandung Bondowoso felt cheated and cursed Jonggrang to be the thousandth statue.
Prambanan also has panels of relief, describing the story of Ramayana. Experts say that the relief is similar to the story of Ramayana that is told orally from generation to generation.
Ramayana ballet (evening)
In the evenings, the Ramayana story comes to life. More than 200 professional dancers and musicians perform in the city of Yogyakarta or in the open air theatre with the illuminated Prambanan Temples as the background.
Ramayana Ballet In the evening, the Ramayana story comes to life. More than 200 professional dancers and musicians perform in the city of Yogyakarta or in the open-air theater with the illuminated Prambanan temples as a backdrop. A story about love, war and mystical events. A young princess is kidnapped by an evil demon. Her ... Read more
The Borobudur is the biggest and oldest Buddhist temple in the world. UNESCO recognised the Borobudur as World Heritage Site. In 1814 the Borobudur was rediscovered after the temple was hidden for hundreds of years, covered under ashes and vegetation . The temple is still full of mysteries.
New secrets were revealed during different restorations. On the lower rim of the Borobudur, which was covered under the ground for a long time, reliefs were found. The Law of Karma pictured in the reliefs on “the hidden base” of the stupa. These reliefs teach that good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds are punished.
The place where the Borobudur is built has been carefully chosen. The temple is built near the place where the rivers Ello and Progo meet and the hill called “Tidar”. About 1250 years ago, this place was considered the most suitable place. The hill Tidar is where the gods “nailed” the island of Java to the earth, to prevent the island from sinking or floating away.
The temple is shaped as a stupa and built around a hill. If you count well, you can count 504 statues of Buddha. The walls consist of 2672 sculptured reliefs. In total, if arranged in a row, these sculptures have a length of 5 km.
There are 72 bell-shaped stupa’s encircling the central stupa. Some of these stupa’s contain a Buddha statue, some are empty, and some statues are decapitated. In the past centuries, some statues and buddha heads were stolen and ended up in museums far away, or in the homes of the rich.
There is a legend that if you can touch the Buddha with his legs crossed, any wish you have will be granted.
The central stupa at the top of the Borobudur can only be entered by Buddist monks. Don’t be afraid, you won’t miss much; this stupa represents eternity and is therefore empty.
Pawon en Mendut
Close to the Borobudur there are two other temples named Pawon and Mendut temple. These temples are also part of the Borobudur World Heritage Site. The three temples are built in a straight line. During the Buddhist Vesak-festival, Buddhist in Indonesia walk from the Mendut temple, passing the Pawon temple and end at the Borobudur to celebrate Buddha’s birthday.
In Mendut temple there are three big Buddhist statues from the 9th century. In this temple, couples who would like to have children, pray for good luck. There is also a Buddhist monastery where monks are studying their religion.
At the Pawon temple we only find the temple, there are no statues in there. Next to the temple there is a beautiful waringin tree.
Practical information 2023/2024
You will visit Borobudur under the guidance of a guide who works for Borobudur. The guide will tell you all about the background of Borobudur and answer all your questions.
When you visit Borobudur you can choose from two tickets:
A ticket for the park around the Borobuder. Here you can see Borobudur up close, but not climb it
When ordering tickets you can choose from the following sessions:
1. Arrive at 8:30 am (visit from 9:00 am – 10:00 am)
2. Arrive at 9:30 am (visit from 10:00 am – 11:00 am)
3. Arrive at 10.30am (visit from 11.00 am – 12.00 pm)
4. Arrive at 11:30 am (visit from 12:00 – 1:00 pm)
5. Arrive at 12.30 pm (visit from 1.00 pm – 2.00 pm)
6. Arrive at 1:30 pm (visit from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm)
7. Arrive at 2:30 pm (visit from 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm)
8. Arrive at 3:30 pm (visit from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm)
Tickets for the first session are especially popular and sell out quickly.
Please note: Borobudur is closed on Mondays.
In order to preserve Borobudur as a World Heritage Site, the maximum number of visitors has been set at 1,200 per day. You must change your shoes and slippers for special soft slippers that you receive at the entrance. (These slippers are included in the entrance fee.)
150 tickets are sold per session. Every 10 to 15 visitors are accompanied by a guide who explains the background of the temple in English.
Borobudur at sunrise
To climb the Borobudur before the sun rises is not possible anymore, but it is possible to have breakfast on the nearby hill, the Dagi Hill, and watch the sun rise at 6am. Here you can enjoy the view and the morning sounds from the surrounding villages. The view keeps changing due to the light of the rising sun.
After breakfast you will go to Borobudur for the first session.