Discover ancient Plaosan Temple in Indonesia

More than a thousand years old, Plaosan Temple is located in a small farming village in Indonesia, surrounded by rice paddies and banana trees. Though this is a major complex with well over 100 buildings, it is often passed over by tourists who focus on the more famous Hindu Prambanan Temple nearby.

The magnificent Plaosan Temple in Indonesia Plaosan Temple in Indonesia is a Buddhist site, over a thousand years old

The Plaosan Complex (also called Candi Plaosan) is made up of two major groups, with large temples plus hundreds of smaller buildings. One temple group sits among rice fields, while across a road, the other group is in the village.

The north group, Plaosan Lor, is the best preserved. It has two large Buddhist temples, and 174 smaller buildings around them known as Perwara temples. Most of the Perwara are now in ruins, and archaeologists believe there are still more of these small temples buried underground, as yet unexcavated.

A guardian statue outside Plaosan Temple, Indonesia Dwarapala stands guard outside the temple at Plaosan

At the entrance to the main temples stand guardian statues known as Dwarapala. The exterior walls of the temples are elaborately carved with fine reliefs, and inside you will find impressive large statues. The smaller buildings are shrines and stupas - rounded structures containing sacred relics.

One of the relief carvings at Plaosan Temple Relief carving at Plaosan

In the early 9th century, King Rakai Pikatan was married to Queen Sri Kahulunan. The Queen was a Buddhist, and inscriptions at Plaosan indicate that she had this temple built, or that it was a gift to her from the King. Meanwhile, the King was a Hindu, and he built the magnificent Prambanan temple nearby.

Most tourists visit Prambanan, but few seem to make it to this site, though it's not far away. If you visit Plaosan Temple, this will seem like a blessing, since it's quiet, peaceful, and atmospheric as you walk through the site at your own pace.

Plaosan is located in Bugisan village in Central Java, Indonesia. It's only about 20 minutes from the more famous Prambanan, and if you're in the area, it's well worth a visit.

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PHOTO CREDITS:  Temple - Gunawan Kartapranata, Guardian - Gunkarta, Carving - Soham Banerjee

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