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Prambanan Temple ( also known as Lorojonggrang Temple ) was located at Bokoharjo Village, Prambanan, East of Yogyakarta. The exact date of when the Lorojonggrang Temple was built was still in argument. However, there are two opinion of who builds the Temple. One opinion stated that there was only one, dynasty, Cailendra Dynasty, before Lorojonggrang Temple was built. The second opinion stated that there were two dynasties, Cailendra and Sanjaya Dynasty. Cailendra Dynasty occupied the Southern part of Central Java, whereas Sanjaya Dynasty occupied the Northern part. Buddhist Temples were found mostly in the Southern part of Central Java, and that the Ciwa Temples (Hindu) were found in Northern part of Central Java.

It seemed that Sanjaya Dynasty existed before the Cailendra Dynasty with the center of authority in South Kedu (around Magelang, North of Yogyakarta ). This statement was based on Canggal Inscription ( 732 A.D. ). The Sanjaya Dynasty was then pushed to the North by the Cailendra Dynasty which arrived around 778 A.D. (Kalasan Inscription). The existence of Sanjaya Dynasty was also mentioned in Balitung inscription (708 A.D.). In that inscription it was stated that whenever a King died, the King became a "Dews" ( God, Devine). Based on the inscription studies, it showed the sequence of Kings in Sanjaya Dynasty as follows :

The Rise of Cailendra Dynasty was inscripted in Kalasan inscription, and was followed by other inscriptions, but the historical sequence was difficult to be followed and still a debate. Some inscriptions stated the possibility that both dynasties built the same holy temples as well ( Kalasan Inscription and short Inscription in Plaosan Temple ). On the short inscription two Kings were mentioned, Rakai Pikatan from Sanjaya Dynasty and Sri Kaluhunan from the Cailendra Dynasty. Casparis identified Sri Kaluhunan as the son of the latest King of Cailendra Dynasty, Samaratungga. According to Karang Tengah Inscription ( 824 A D. ), Samaratungga was also called Pramodawardani. The marriage of King and Queen with different religion ( Buddha and Ciwa/Hindu) seemed to influence the architecture of Prambanan Temple which was built by King Pikatan ( Sanjaya Dynasty ). The top of Prambanan Temple did not have a lingga type ( phallus type) but instead a ratna type ( ratna = diamond) which looked like a stupa.

At this point, the King who ordered the building of Lorojonggrang Temple is not convincing. According to the 856 A.D. inscription ( locality source is unknown, preserved in Jakarta Museum of Art ) stated that King Jatiningrat was replaced by Dyah Lokapala. Darmais and Casparis identified Dyah Lokapala as King Kayuwangi who issued Argapura Inscription ( 863 A.D.) According to Balitung inscription (907 A.D.), Kayuwangi was the King between 851-882 A.D. The King before Kayuwangi era was Rakai Pikatan, and thus be concluded that Jatiningrat was indeed Rakai Pikatan.

The Balitung Inscription also described more detail on the structural arrangement of temples. On the 11 th line of the inscription, it stated that temple buildings were categorized into two kinds: the Ciwagraha (graha = a house) and Ciwalaya. The main temple (Ciwagraha) was built by the King, and smaller and lesser temples Ciwalaya ) were built by ordinary people regardless of social status.

The temples which were built by ordinary people had a row arrangement with similar height and forms. The main temple ( built by the King ) had its own wall, separated from the smaller temples. The main gate had a statue of Dwarapala, and at the east was planted a "Tanjung tree" which was considered sacred, as a way for God to descend to earth. Furthermore the temple complex had an irrigation system and buildings for the priests. When the building of Ciwa Temple was finished, the flow of a river was diverted passing alongside the walls of the main temple, separating the main temple ( Lorojonggrang Temple and the smaller temples.

From the inscriptional readings, it could be concluded that on the year 856 A.D. (the issuance of the inscription), Lorojonggrang Temple Buildings had been finished. It was Rakai Pikatan who built Lorojonggrang Temple. This evidence was shown by Casparis based on the Lorojonggrang inscription. There were 50 stones at Lorojonggrang Temple with inscriptions written in white, black and red color. The name of Rakai Pikatan was found among the inscription, and that the writing style found in Lorojonggrang Temple was similar to that in Plaosan Temple.

A. The Discovery and Restoration of Prambanan Temple

The discovery of Lorojonggrang Temple was reported by C.A. Lons in 1733. The temple was in ruined condition, abandoned among grass and tree vegetation. First effort to reveal the presence of a temple was done in 1885 by cleaning the site from grasses and shrubs followed by grouping the stones. This project was supervised by Yzerman, Groneman and van Erp. The work was continued in 1918.

Grouping and identifying the stones in detail followed by restructuring Ciwa Temple was done by van Erp. In 1937, restoration began under the supervision of Bosch, followed by Stuuerheim, van Ramound and others. The restoration was finished in December 20, 1953. About 240 temples undergone restoration, such as two Apit Temples (restored in 1923), four Kelir Temples, and four Corner Temples (Candi Sudut), two Perwara Temples, two entrance gates, the South Gate and the North Gate. The next restoration used the Government Routine Development Budget. Those restoration included Brahma Temple ( start restoration in 1978 ), Wisnu Temple (start restoration in 1982).

B. Structural Description and Arrangement

The Prambanan Temple is a group of Hindu temples, and was also known as Lorojonggrang Temple. The word Prambanan refers to the name of a District, Prambanan District, whereas Lorojonggrang refers to its actual name.

The temple complex has three concentric square

All the three squares have gates to connect the other squares. The outer square do not have temples. Inside the middle square there are 224 Perwara temples which are arranged in 4 rows of temples. The first row consists of 68 temples, followed by the second row (60 temples), the third row (52 temples) and the fourth row (44 temples ). The arrangement of temples is in such a way that shorter temples lies in the outside and getting higher toward the center. Inside the center square are sixteen small and big temples, Some of them are

  1. Ciwa Temple as the main temple.
  2. Wisnu Temple in the North of Ciwa Temple.
  3. Brahma Temple in the South of Ciwa Temple.
  4. Nandi Temple in front of Ciwa Temple.
  5. Temple A and B lies in front of Wisnu and Ciwa Temple.
  6. Apit Temple lies in the North and the South flanking row of temples {the West and East row (apit = to flank)}
  7. Four Kelir Temples in front of each gate of the main square.
  8. Four Sudut Temples (sudut = corner) at each of the corner of the main square.