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CENTRAL JAVA > CANDI PRAMBANAN > Candi Sudut, Wahana & Kelir
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LOCATION:
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.

DESCRIPTION:

There are a few other types of candi (temples) that I could describe as the peripherals of Prambanan Temple Complex. These temple structures have their own meanings and do have significant importance.

The three temples directly facing the Trimurti temples (Siwa, Brahma and Wisnu) are called candi wahana. The term "wahana" defines the method of transportation for the major Hindu gods, normally in the shape of animals. Candi wahana are definitely much smaller in sizes; the ones dedicated for Brahma and Wisnu have a base measurement of 13m x 13m with 22m in height, while the one dedicated for Siwa is 15m x 15m at base and 27.5m tall. The wahana for Siwa is called Nandi (or Nandini) which is a "white bull" in Sanskrit. It goes without saying why a cow is regarded as sacred in Hindu religion, although the origin of the sanctity of this animal can be traced back to its importance in the extensive dairy farming of Indus Civilisation until modern-day India. Meanwhile, the wahana for Brahma is Angsa which is a swan / goose, while the wahana for Wisnu is Garuda, a mythical bird like a phoenix, which is somewhat a cross-breed between a human and an eagle. Garuda's symbolism is used extensively in Indonesia - the country's main airline carries the same name while the official emblem of Indonesia also uses the bird as the main character.

Then there are candi sudut at each of the four corners of the temple complex, and candi kelir, two at each main entrance gate. The function of candi sudut and candi kelir are rather similar - they protect the sacred temple complex from external evil influences.

MY VERDICT:
A pleasant visit in general. The restored temples in Candi Prambanan are simply majestic in their own rights.

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