Prambanan Temple (or Candi Prambanan)

Also called Candi Rara Jonggrang, Prambanan Temple is a Hindu temple built during the Sanjaya Dynasty of Mataram Kingdom around the year 850. This marked the return of the Shaivite Hinduism after a century of Mahayana Buddhism during the Sailendra Dynasty. It is the largest Hindu temple of ancient Java and was built to honour Lord Shiva. Its original name was Shiva-grha or House of Shiva, or Shiva-laya which is also called the Realm of Shiva.



The temple compound was further expanded by successive Mataram kings, including Daksa and Tulodong, adding hundreds of perwara temples around the one chief temple in the centre. Prambanan served as the royal temple of the Mataram Kingdom, where religious ceremonies and sacrifices were conducted there.


During the 10th century, the royal court was relocated to East Java. Together with the Mount Merapi eruption, this caused people to abandon the temple and their worshipping. The temple eventually collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th century. It was rediscovered again in early 19th century and from the early 20th century the temples undergone several reconstruction and restoration. The temple compound is categorised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 2006 earthquake also brought considerable damage to the temple.

Besides religious gatherings and ceremonies, the temple regularly stages the ballet of the traditional Ramayana epic- the story of Rama and Shinta, the Javanese version of Romeo and Juliet. It is a traditional dance from the old Javanese court and has been performed every full moon night inside the temple compound. This has become a significant archaeological and cultural tourism attractions in the country.