Prambanan is a super cool Hindu Temple, hiding in shadows of Merapi, one of the world’s most active and deadly volcanoes. The intricate and amazingly detailed temple is located in Jogjakarta (Central Java, Indonesia) and is a popular attraction for locals, and (surprisingly) not foreigners.
Prambanan’s future is uncertain due to the number, frequency and severity of earthquakes in the region. These earthquakes are the result of movement of magma (molten-hot-lava-death) under the earth’s surface from Merapi or the friction (and subsequent release) of the Indo-Australian tectonic plate sub-ducting under the Eurasian plate (yay, geology!). In non-nerd terms, the geniuses who built Pramabanan couldn’t have built it in a worse place – it will be destroyed by earth’s natural forces, it’s not a matter of if, but when.
The geologic instability has definitely taken a toll on Prambanan. Originally 240 stone temples were constructed, sadly on 18 survive today. The 2006 earthquake severely damaged the temple, which caused its the closing and many weeks of repairs before it could be reopened to the public.
There is nothing more spectacular than watching the sun slowly set in the west, casting long shadows and warm orange light on the back of the temples. Bring a good camera and you’ll be able to snap pictures that your friends will be jealous of. Be mindful of the time. The temple area closes at 19:00 (7:00pm) and they don’t like working overtime (ie: they’ll kick you out pretty quickly).
Know before you go
- Local tourism outnumbers foreigners 8:1.
- No real public transportation, you’ll need to hire a car