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Travel Asia: Plaosan Temple, The King's Love Token

Updated on February 13, 2015

To prove his love to a woman, a man is pretty much willing to do anything. For a man with authority, this might include erecting remarkable structure, such as in the story of Taj Mahal. A similar story exists as the background of the Plaosan Temple (Candi Plaosan). The temple was build by Rakai Pikatan, a king of Ancient Mataram, as a token of love for his queen, Pramodawardhani.

Plaosan Temple located in Dusun Bugisan, Central Java, about 1 kilometer from the famous Prambanan Temple. The temple’s architectural design is a blend of Hinduism and Buddhism, a symbol of union between Rakai Pikatan, who practice Hinduism, and Pramodawardhani who came from Wangsa Syailendra that practice Buddha Mahayana.

Plaosan Temple divided into two large temples, the Plaosan Lor and the Plaosan Kidul. Both of the temples are somewhat similar in looks. Both had rectangular-shaped patio, surrounded with walls and decorated with stupas. Because of the similarities when viewed from a distance, Plaosan often called the twin temples.

The exterior of the temples decorated with reliefs that surely bestow utter wonder upon visitors. The style implemented is of Hindu-Javanese carving that are also found in other temples in Central Java. This is marked with the existence of Kala Makara ornaments in top of windows and entrances of the temples.

According to Javanese beliefs, Kala Makara ornaments serves as bad luck and danger repellent. The legend has it that Kala Makara was originally a handsome god who is arrogant and disrespectful. He was then turned into a giant beast, as punishment by Sang Hyang Widi, the superior god of all gods.

Kala Makara
Kala Makara

In the form of a giant beast, Kala Makara has an insatiable appetite. He eats every animal that he meets, and when he runs out of animals to feed on, he devours his own body, thus only leaving his head. This is why Kala Makara carving is just featuring a head. Besides temples, Kala Makara can also be found in Jogjakarta Keraton and ancient houses in Central Java and Jogjakarta.

The same with the exterior, carvings can also be found on the interior of the temple. There are also statues that can be found inside the temple. Some in good condition, while others needs restoration.

To enter Plaosan Temple, visitors only need to pay small amount of money. This include the parking ticket if using a vehicle. Please be sure to visit the temple in the morning or late afternoon, because the temperature in the surrounding area is very hot in the hours close to noon.

Plaosan Temple from above


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    • rai2722 profile image

      rai2722 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Brett. The temples in Central Java is definitely remarkable. You should explore it if you get the chance.

    • brett-hartnett profile image

      brett-hartnett 6 years ago

      Thanks for the quick tour. I enjoyed it. Although i have never been there, I have heard the story. It definitely sounds like a place to explore.

    • rai2722 profile image

      rai2722 6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Vall. Maybe you can visit Plaosan the next time you travel to Indonesia. Cheers!

    • ValL profile image

      ValL 6 years ago from UK

      Thanks for the explanation and description of Plaosan Temple. When I was in Indonesia, I did visit Prambanan Temple and Borobudur but not Plaosan Temple. There were so many amazing temples to see and in excellent condition still. I do hope to return some day.