Sunday September 23, 2018

Know about the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia: Prambanan Temple

Prambanan Temple is the largest temple compound devoted to Lord Shiva in Indonesia. It is UNESCO World Heritage site.

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Representational Image. Image: Wikimedia Commons
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By Pragya Jha

Name of the temple: Prambanan Temple

Other names: Loro Jonggrang, Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple, Lumbung Temple,

Candi Prambanan (Candi = temple)

Location: Central Java, Indonesia

Built in: 10th century

Dedicated to: Trimurti (Hinduism)

Temples are places of worship. In India temples are an integral part of Hindus faith. But are these structures only confined to India? Not really! Faith and religions don’t have any boundaries. Prambanan Temple also known as Roro Jonggrang in Indonesia is one of the most beautiful temple in the world. It is the biggest structure in java which has three main temples dedicated to Hindu deities namely Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma who are considered as a symbol of Trimurti according to Hindu belief.

History

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

The construction of Prambanan Temple commenced with Rakai Pikatan of Mataram Kingdom. Initially, the temple was dedicated to Hindu deity Shiva which was further expanded by the successive kings. At its bloom, there were 240 temples which were eventually abandoned by either by the eruption of nearby Mt. Merapi or by political struggle. In 6th century, an earthquake led to the collapse of Prambanan Temple.

The temple was rediscovered by the Dutch. Surveys and excavation were done but formal restoration began in the year 1930. Much of the original work was stolen therefore the temple was rebuilt with only 75% of the original material that was available. Restoration work is still going on at the Prambanan Temple.

Story

As per the locals,  belief, there is a story associated with the temple, a man named  Bandung Bondowoso wanted to marry a beautiful princess named Loro Djonggrang. The king agreed to his request but the princess did not want to marry him. To avoid his marriage proposal she cleverly put a condition in front of him. She told him that she would marry him only if he builds 1000 temples before sunlight. With the help of genies and some magical powers, Bandung completed 999th and was about to win the princess. With time running out, the princess asked the villagers to pound rice and light a fire in order to wake the roosters. Nandung felt cheated and he decided to turn the princess into stone. A statue of her graces the main temple, which explains the Javanese name for the temple – Rara Jonggrang, meaning “slender maiden.” In addition, a nearby temple is named Candi Sewu – “a thousand temples.”

Related Article: 5 most famous Hindu Temples in South East Asia

Worship of Gods

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

Prambanan Temple is dedicated to the Trimurti. The biggest temple which is 47 meters high is devoted to Lord Shiva- the destroyer and the other two temples which are placed left and right side of the big temple are devoted to Brahma-the creator and Vishnu-the sustainer. In 1991, Prambanan was declared as World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Activities

Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

There is an open theater which hosts the performance of Ramayana Ballet. In the rainy season, the shows are shifted indoor to the Trimurti Theater. At full moon, during May to October Ramayana Ballet is performed in classic Javanese style. Over 250 dancers perform dance drama on outdoor stage.

Prambanan Temple is an example of Indian culture that is prevalent abroad. The temple is an icon of Indonesia’s cultural heritage.

Pragya Jha is a student of Journalism and Mass Communication, New DelhiTwitter:@pragya1527

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  • Pragya Jha

    Prambanan Temple is the largest temple of South East Asia. It is composed of 8 main shrines called ‘gopuras.’

  • Pashchiema Bhatia

    Glad to see that Hindu mythology and Heritage is preserved so beautifully in Indonesia

Next Story

Spiritual Ideas Sore At The World Hindu Congress

A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new -- when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.

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Hinduism
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At its best, speeches at the recently concluded World Hindu Congress echoed the soaring spiritual ideals evoked by Swami Vivekananda in Chicago 125 years ago.

Even Mohan Bhagwat, Sarsangchanalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), focused essentially on the need for unity and patience among Hindus while fighting obstacles, of which, he said, there would be many. The burden of excavating implied accusations in Bhagwat’s speech fell to his critics.

At the plenary session, the moderator requested speakers to address issues of conflict without naming the speakers or their organisations in the interest of harmony. Other speakers sought to unite the followers of all the great religions that took birth in India — Hinduism, Sikhism, Buddhism and Jainism.

Some of the speakers from Bhagwat to Swami Swaroopananda of the Chinmaya Mission, framed the issues before Hinduism in a moral paradigm. Ashwin Adhin, the Vice President of the Republic of Suriname, began his speech in chaste Hindi, later quoting cognitive scientist George Lakoff: “Facts matter immensely. But to be meaningful they have to be framed in terms of their moral importance.”

Hinduism
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The dissonances, between the spiritual and the mundane, were to emerge later on the fringes of the seminars which were part of the Congress. Many of the delegates appropriated to themselves the mantle of a culture besieged by proselytising faiths. There were speakers who urged Hindus to have more children to combat their ‘dwindling population’. Posters warned Hindus of the dangers from ‘love jihad’ (Muslim men ‘enticing’ Hindu women).

In one of the sessions on the media, filmmaker Amit Khanna noted that religion had always played a prominent part in Indian cinema, starting with the earliest mythologicals. “Raja Harishchandra”, the first silent film, he said, was made by Dadasaheb Phalke in 1913. He sought to reassure the audience on the future of Hinduism. “Over 80 percent of Indians are Hindus,” he said adding: “Hinduism has survived many upheavals for thousands of years. Hinduism has never been endangered.”

Other speakers, lacking spiritual and academic pedigrees, drew on an arsenal of simulated anguish and simmering indignation.

The nuances of history pass lightly over the ferociously devout and it took little effort to pander to an aggravated sense of historical aggrievement.

Hinduism
Swami Vivekananda used to stress upon the universal brotherhood and self-awakening. Wikimedia Commons

At one of the debates, the mere mention of Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, elicited sniggers and boos. The speaker hinted at ‘Nehruvian socialism’ which had made the Indian economy a non-starter. He concluded with a coup de grace, to a standing ovation: “Nehru did not like anything Indian.”

The poet Rabindranath Tagore, who composed the Indian national anthem, had spoken of his vision of a country where the “clear stream of reason had not lost its way”. At some of the discussions, even the most indulgent observer would have been hard put to discern the stream of reason.

The image of a once great civilisation suppressed by a century of British rule and repeated plunder by invaders captured the imagination of many in the audience. Hanging above it all, like a disembodied spirit, was the so-called malfeasance of Nehru, the leader who had won the trust of Hindus only to betray them in the vilest manner.

These tortured souls would have been well advised to adopt a more holistic approach to Hinduism, and history, looking no further than Swami Vivekananda, who once said: “The singleness of attachment (Nishtha) to a loved object, without which no genuine love can grow, is very often also the cause of denunciation of everything else.”

Hinduism
The Hindu population in Pakistan is about 1.8% according to the 2018 census, 0.2% more than that of the 1998 and the 1951 figures.

Historians have informed us that Nehru preferred his father’s intellect over his mother’s tradition but he was never contemptuous of religion. While he undoubtedly felt that organised religion had its flaws, he opined that it supplied a deeply felt inner need of human nature while also giving a set of values to human life.

In private conversations some delegates spoke of how their America-born children had helped persuade them to drop their pathological aversion to gays and lesbians. Despite their acute wariness of perceived cultural subjugation, the irony was obviously lost on them that Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code,(which criminalises gay sex) recently overturned by the Indian Supreme Court, is a hangover from the Victorian British era-embodied in the Buggery Act of 1533.

In the face of the upcoming elections in the US, Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi’s decision to speak at the conference was a political risk. With a newly energised political Left, even the perception of being linked with “fascist” or sectarian forces could be political suicide in the critical November elections. Despite vociferous appeals to disassociate himself from the Congress, Krishnamoorthi chose to attend.

“I decided I had to be here because I wanted to reaffirm the highest and only form of Hinduism that I have ever known and been taught — namely one that welcomes all people, embraces all people, and accepts all people, regardless of their faith. I reject all other forms. In short, I reaffirm the teaching of Swami Vivekananda,” Krishnamoorthi said.

Given the almost pervasive abhorrence of anything remotely Nehruvian among a section of the delegates, it was a revelation to hear the opinion of Dattatrey Hosable, the joint general secretary and second-in-command in the RSS hierarchy. Speaking on the promise of a newly-resurgent India, Hosable said in an interview to Mayank Chhaya, a local journalist-author-filmmaker: “A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new — when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance.”

Also Read: Triple Talaq Now Banned in India

The quote is from Nehru’s famous Tryst with Destiny speech delivered to the Indian Constituent Assembly on the midnight of August 14, 1947 — proof, if any is needed, that the force of Nehru’s ideas can transcend one’s disdain of him. (IANS)