This biggest Hindu temple in South East Asia is located about 20km east of Yogyakarta, 40km west of Solo (Surakarta) or 120km south of Semarang. It is located in Desa Prambanan ("desa" means "a village") in Kabupaten Sleman ("Kabupaten" means "a regency" or "a district"). Prambanan Temple still lies within the Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta (special district) border. Right after the temple site, one will be entering the district of Surakarta (Solo).
Prambanan Temple is best arrived from downtown Yogyakarta by the city's many travel agents who will provide transportation to the temple, and if requested, to Ramayana Ballet Open Theatre nearby for an evening programme. The cost of tours vary: I paid Rp60.000 (about US$7) for a round trip tour of Prambanan and Ramayana Ballet. Often a visit to Prambanan is combined with another visit to Candi Borobudur for a full-day trip for about Rp100.000 (about US$12) per person.
Candi Prambanan was rediscovered in late 1800s and renovation started in 1918. When it was first found, the photos of the temple site was shockingly in utter mess. It certainly did not look like what it is today. The restoration work for this acclaimed World's Heritage Site is still on-going until today. In fact, the main temple of Siwa (or Siva according to different spelling) was only completed in 1953.
If you are facing north (not that difficult to get a sense of direction - just look for the towering peak of Gunung Merapi, that points to northwest), the 3 biggest temples in the middle of the site are called the Trimurti ("tri" means "three", "murti" means "form"). The concept of Trimurti basically describes the divine triad consists of Siwa, Brahma and Vishnu. These 3 main Hindu gods represent the aspect of a Supreme Being concept, in which the earth is created, protected and destroyed by these powers.
The largest and tallest temple naturally goes to Siwa. It measures 34m x 34m at the base and a whopping 47m in height. Siwa is the World Destroyer (Dewa Pemusnah) according to Hindu's teaching. Climbing up halfway through the temple will bring you to 4 different enclosures that are dedicated to the God of Siwa: in the east enclosure is Siwa Mahadewa (Siva The Supreme God), in the south enclosure is Siwa Mahaguru (Siva The Supreme Master), in the west enclosure is the statue of Ganesa (or Gasnesha), the son of Siwa, and, in the north enclosure is the statue of Durga Mahisasuramardhini (the wife of Siwa).
If you are entering the temple complex from the main entrance of the park, then on the right of Siwa would be the temple for Wisnu, and on the left would be the temple for Brahma. Both temples have similar base measurement of 20m x 20m with 37m in heights. Brahma is known as the World Creator (Dewa Pencipta) while Wisnu is known as the World Protector (Dewa Pelindung). Along with Siwa, these Trimurti (or sometimes termed as Trisakti) form the concept of a Supreme Being as I mentioned above - that the world has its creator, protector and destroyer.
A pleasant visit in general. The restored temples in Candi Prambanan are simply majestic.