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Candi Plaosan complex in 360°

Candi Plaosan, also known as the 'Plaosan Complex', is one of the Buddhist temples located in Bugisan village, Prambanan district. The 9th century Plaosan complex is an ensemble of two Buddhist temples, Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul out of which Plaosan Lor is much more significant.

Many of the buildings have inscriptions, two of them denote the temple as a gift of sanctuary by Rakai Pikatan. The dates of the inscriptions are between 825-850 AD. Although similar to the Prambanan 856 AD date, the complexes are not related.

1. What to see

Plaosan Lor consists of a central and a northern group of buildings. The most complete temples are located at the central group which contains two very similar temples. Walls used to separate the northern area from the central one, and each temple also had its entrance, gate, and guardian statues known as Dwarapala. It has been suggested based on structural similarity with Candi Sari that the two temples of the central group were in fact Buddhist monasteries (viharas) .

1.1. Connecting gateway

The wall separating the two temples is pierced by a gateway that enables movement from one temple to the other without having to exit the inner courtyard itself. This connecting gateway has similar proportions to the gates placed along the Western wall of the courtyard’s walled enclosure.

1.2. North/Southeast corner

The northeast and southeast corners have been enriched with false windows. Although they appear to be normal windows from the outside, the interior walls actually cover over these openings to the outside world. Small standing female figures are located on either side of all windows at each level. All windows are framed by Kala-Makara ornaments.

1.3. Eastern facade

Three false windows can be easily recognised along the back side in the East. Each contains a flat panel that features the image of a vase out of which vegetation can be seen sprouting. Small standing female figures are located on either side of all windows at each level. All windows are framed by Kala-Makara ornaments.

1.4. Entrance Hall

Each side of the entrance hall is adorned with a Kala-headand a pair of Kinnara on its sides. The niche formerly contained a figure of a richly decorated Bodhisattva, seated with legs crossed, with the right hand in the vara-mudra (bestowing charity); the outer edge of each figures stone backing was decorated with flames.  According to Krom, the Maitreya was to the left and Manjusri to the right.

1.5. Central chamber

Layout of the interior resembles Candi Sari: there is a central chamber and two adjoining chambers. There are two niches per chamber in Plaosan temple compared to Candi Sari where only the central cella possesses two niches. All six chambers in Plaosan temple contain an altar placed on a raised platform. There is enough space on the altars for three statues: 1.5m tall Bodhisattvas on either and with the now-missing main statue, presumably that of a Buddha made out of precious material.

1.6. Adjoining chambers

You can find royal male and female figures with servants only in the northern and southern chambers in both temples. Krom suggested that they might be the patron-supporters of the two temples. It is likely that the southern temple was a monastic quarter for the priests of the male royal family members while the northern one was used as a monastery for the priestesses of the female members of the royal family. This is based on the fact, that the southern temple has exclusively male portraits, whereas in the northern temple only female elements are portrayed.

2. When to see

Candi Plaosan is open daily from 8am – 5pm.


3. Location
4. How to get there

If travelling on a package tour to Java, it might contain a few temples that are close to world-famous Prambanan temples.

If staying on the island of Bali, you can consider to take a one-day Yogyakarta guided trip. These trips usually include the famous Borobudur and Prambanan temples along with the sights of Yogyakarta. You'll arrive at the airport of Denpasar very early in the morning, fly to Yogyakarta with a local Indonesia flight (Lion Air / Garuda), enjoy the above mentioned monuments and finally get back to your hotel in Bali in the evening. It is important to know that you have to purchase the airplane tickets in advance, but it might be difficult, since Indonesian air flights only accept VISA cards issued in a few countries. Lion Air simply doesn't accept any European or US card, Garuda only accepts cards issued in Western Europe. If you are lucky, you can purchase your tickets in cash a few days before your excursion in a nearby country like Singapore.

It is not recommended to drive on your own in Indonesia due to the general negligance of driving rules. Singposts are written with Latin alphabet, but it might be difficult to find remote places on your own. The best solution is to rent a car with a driver for an entire day.

5. Where to stay

There are hotels in nearby Yogyakarta for every budget: from backpackers to luxuary 5* hotels.

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