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The historical and cultural tourism of Plaosan Temple

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Jakarta, IO – Plaosan Temple is one of the more interesting tourist destinations in Central Java, often visited for a cultural vacation by history enthusiasts. The Temple complex is located in Dukuh Plaosan, Bugisan Village, Prambanan District, Klaten Regency, Central Java. It is in fact within the area of Prambanan Temple. Built in the 9th century, the Prambanan Temple Complex is Indonesia’s largest Hindu temple complex. A distance of 1.5 kilometers stretches between the Plaosan Temple and the Prambanan Temple. 

Despite being less popular than Prambanan, Plaosan continues to attract both foreign and local visitors. One of the most appealing features of Plaosan Temple is its impressive blend of Hindu and Buddhist architecture, reflecting an era of religious tolerance between the two faiths in ancient times. 

Plaosan Temple was renovated in 1941, then restoration was continued from 1945 to 1948. In its history, Plaosan depicts a romantic love story of Kings of Ancient Mataram. Rakai Pikatan was a Syailendra dynasty monarch who built a temple for his bride, Pramodyawardani. Rakai Pikatan and Pramodyawardani practiced different religions, with Rakai Pikatan being Hindu and Pramodyawardani being Buddhist. 

Temples symbolizing two different beliefs were in fact very rare, as Hindu and Buddhist temples each have their own distinctive features. Plaosan Temple blended the two faiths beautifully. 

The north side of Plaosan Temple contrasts with the south. Both structures feature square-shaped terrace buildings surrounded by walls resembling watchtowers on the western side and stupas on the other side. Because of its similar architectural characteristics, the Plaosan Temple is frequently referred to as the “twin temples”. 

The reliefs on Plaosan North Temple reflect Rakai Pikatan’s admiration for his wife, Pramodyawardani, while the south reliefs on the other side depict Pramodyawardani’s admiration for her husband, Rakai Pikatan. 

When visiting Plaosan Temple, it is best to arrive in the morning or late afternoon. During the clear morning weather, you may see the sunrise behind the temple. Meanwhile, in the late afternoon clear sky, you may partake of a spectacular sunset. 

Temple
Remnants of the temple and stupas around Plaosan Temple (Source: Dhodi Syailendra)

Plaosan Temple is an excellent location for landscape photography, especially in the early or late afternoon. Plaosan Temple is also frequently used as a location for pre-wedding photoshoots, fashion shoots, and even soap operas and film productions, exploiting its unique architectural elements. 

Some locals around Plaosan Temple offer tour packages, including the ox-cart tour package. This trip package includes a journey around Plaosan Temple on an oxcart, through roads surrounded by vast rice fields. 

Visitors can participate in making traditional herbal drinks called “jamu” and “emping” chips, traditional snacks made from melinjo seeds. Visitors will also be invited to play various Javanese traditional games with children around Plaosan Temple. 

Homestays managed by local residents are available around the Plaosan Temple. These homestays are popular among foreign tourists because they often prefer to stay and mingle with the local community. 

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Situated right behind the Prambanan Temple, Plaosan is easy and quite accessible to reach. Visitors can take public transportation or private vehicles to Plaosan Temple, which is about 15 kilometers away from the center of Yogyakarta. 

The temple is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Should visitors wish to experience more excitement, they can come during the “Candi Kembar Festival,” which runs from August to September. The Candi Kembar Festival or Twin Temples Festival has been hosted at Plaosan Temple since 2016, featuring appealing dances from all across Indonesia. (Dhodi Syailendra)

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