Embark on a fantastical toy train journey through a compound of spectacular pointed Hindu temples built more than 1,000 years ago.
With its otherworldly appearance and elaborate décor, the Prambanan Temple is considered a masterpiece of Hindu architecture. The 8th-century spiritual compound consists of many temple buildings that seem to rise from the ground with jagged gray spikes. Admire the spectacular architecture and profound meaning of this exceptional UNESCO heritage site.
Gaze up at the tall central tower, which is 154 feet (47 meters) high. It stands at the heart of the compound and is flanked by smaller shrines. Enter this enormous temple and explore its four rooms containing various statues of Shiva. Take a guided tour of the large complex for a more comprehensive understanding of the various temples and spiritual artifacts.
See the towers at night, when artificial light illuminates the pointed buildings. Capture photos of the temples at sunset, as the towers become silhouettes against the darkening sky.
Lay down a blanket on a patch of grass in the parkland surrounding the temple complex. Consider the effort that went into constructing the extraordinary site more than 1,000 years ago. According to Hindu legend, a love-struck man built the entire site in one evening to meet a challenge set by the woman he craved. It is said she cheated by using fire to fake the sunrise and he turned her into a statue as punishment.
Note that the three main temples are dedicated to the Hindu deities of Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva. Ride the small train around the vast compound.
Arrive at the complex any day of the week from early morning until late afternoon. Expect rainy weather from November to March. There is a fee to enter, with discounts for students.
Find the Prambanan Temple about 11 miles (17 kilometers) north-east of Yogyakarta, on the provincial border that separates Central Java from the Special Region of Yogyakarta. Visit some of the nearby sights, such as the Masjid Krapyak, the Masjid Nurul Falaq and the Musholla Assalam.