Prambanan

travel

She gave him a condition to build a thousand temples and two wells in one night.

June 20, 2014

I would be lying if I said I was excited to see this temple.

No disrespect, they are all impressive and beautiful, but after visiting many Hindu temples in Bali, I was starting to feel like they all looked the same. Why did I still visit Prambanan? Well, because I read the legend behind it on the internet and got curious.

The Legend

It starts with Bandawasa, a strong warrior from Pengging. He was tasked by his King to conquer a nearby kingdom called Prambanan.

Armed with his Bandung (a club) and his army, they set out to attack the troops in Prambanan, killing their King in the process. After achieving victory, the King of Pengging rewarded Bandawasa with the kingdom he had conquered.

He fell in love with the princess named Rara Jonggrang, the daughter of the late King of Prambanan. He asked for her hand in marriage, but she wasn't going to make it easy for killing her father.

Knowing he was far stronger, she came up with a plan. She gave him a condition to build a thousand temples and two wells in one night. If he succeeded, she would accept the marriage.

Bandawasa summoned spirits to help him build the temples. And soon the night was nearly over. The princess, who was quietly observing his progress, became worried that her plan didn't work.

She came up with another idea. She asked her maids to burn some hay. From a distance, the glow of the fire imitated the rising sun, and this tricked the roosters into crowing.

The spirits, who feared sunlight, hastily vanished leaving the pile of rocks unfinished. Bandawasa sought to build the last temple on his own but failed when morning came.

Jonggrang rejoiced in her victory, but it wasn't long before he figured out her deceit. Bandawasa cursed the princess by turning her into stone and placing her inside one of the temples in Prambanan.

Brave souls. These people are surely not afraid of heights.

Seeing people's reactions after climbing the steep stairs, the relief of reaching the top, and realizing their small achievement kept me entertained throughout the afternoon.

The local teenagers huddled around the white tourists, asking to have a photo with them or to sign their notebooks. I watched as the passersby noticed the small gathering and promptly joined in.

Ratu Boko

I found a free shuttle inside the park that transported visitors to a nearby temple called Ratu Boko.

With lots of spare time and boredom sinking in, I decided to check it out since it was free. Being less popular, I thought that the entrance fee would be affordable, but when I got there, I found out that it was way more than my budget.

Not a problem, I'll take the shuttle back. As I approached the van, the driver insisted that I pay the entrance fee. He said that since the shuttle was free, I had to go inside the temple. I didn't see that coming. What a scam!

Usually, I'd argue with their logic, but the heat of the sun made it challenging. The driver accompanied me to the ticket booth and insisted on waiting until I paid it. I surrendered my money and just complained in my head. It was daylight robbery!

Inside, there were a scattering of ruins here and there and farm animals roaming in the area. The air smelled of smoke as they burned plants and garbage.

Now and then, another set of people emerged from the entrance. And I know I'm not the only fool in this ruin.

What to read next