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Travelling in Indonesia

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INTRODUCTION

It would not be surprising if some experts conclude that Prambanan and the vicinity was one time a center of culture and a capital city of an ancient kingdom. Their opinion is based on the fact that there are so many ancient remains and artifacts. It could be visualized that the building, houses and the Royal Palace (the Keraton) were made of wood, and only the temples were made of stones. That is why other remains were not found except the temples, which can hold for thousands of years.

From the inscriptions that have been found, no clues found of how political administration was exercised. Many experts have different opinion on this matter. However, they agreed that Ancient Hindu Mataram Kingdom reached their golden era between 8th and 10th century A. D.

On the 10th century A.D., there was a big movement of Mataram Kingdom from Central Java to East Java. No clear explanation of why there was a movement. Casparis stated that the movement of Hindu Mataram Kingdom to East Java could be due to economical and political reason. Central Java was indeed agricultural region, but the building of many temples which use heavy stones consumed much labor which cause their field unattended. This situation caused economical chaos from the economical point. Moreover, East Java, especially the area along Brantas River (a big river), had the potentiality to be a center of trade with foreign countries besides the agricultural potentials. Politically, Central Java was more vulnerable to any attack from outside. In this case, they moved the Kingdom to the East to strengthen the position. Another expert, B.J.0 Shrieke explained that the people of Central Java were very poor due to the building of many temples which consumed a lot of labor and cost.

This condition was conducive for people to leave Central Java to East Java. Shrieke's opinion was argued by Buchari (Indonesian epigraphologist), based on the study of ancient inscription, the movement to the East was caused by political turmoil and rebellion by some Princes, and not by the poverty of most people. Other expert like Yzerman stated that the movement of the Kingdom to East Java was caused by natural disaster, a vast volcanic eruption.

Inscriptional studies showed that at the early 10th century, political stability in Central Java was in jeopardy, so many rebellion and take over of government, but volcanic explosion ( may be Mount Merapi, North of Yogyakarta ) was the main cause of the movement. The evidences for this reason is based on the fact that there were many temples buried by lava and thick volcanic ash, for example the Sambisari Temple and Payak waterbed.

Prambanan The Prambanan Temples

Ratu Baka Temple

  • The West Building
  • The Southeast Building
  • The Norteast Building

Borobudur Temple

The Legend of Bandung Bondowoso

Portland June 1995
Transfer to hypertext by Liono Setiowijoso
Originally published by Directorate General of Tourism Republic of Indonesia
Jl. Kramat Raya 81, PO Box 409
Jakarta 10450
Indonesia