Because of the graceful height, the symmetry of the towers and the cool, dark inner temples, we found this 9th century Hindu temple more impressive than Buddhist Borobudur.

Situated just some 50km apart, both were built at a similar time, using the same volcanic rock and both have followed the same path of rediscovery, looting, restoration, and continual damage due to earthquakes, rain and volcanoes.

Here at Prambanan, there are 240 temples but the main focus is on the towering 47m high (154 ft) central building which was impressively restored in the 1990’s. But most of the smaller shrines are now visible only in their foundations, with no plans for their reconstruction. Again, the whole place reminded us of a smaller version of Angkor Wat.

It was a blistering hot day and like the other tourists we sought respite in the few shady places: underneath some isolated trees and inside the actual temples. Colourful parasols were being sold at a fast rate, the challenge was to keep them out of our photos.

Just 800m away from Prambanan is a Buddhist complex built 70 years earlier. 8th century Sewu Temple, with its 249 temples, clearly suggests the early Javan Buddhist and Hindu communities were both integrated and competitive. We had the place to ourselves, in oppressive heat few tourists walk far
After the major rebuilding of the 1990s, more limited renovations have continued but we note blocks are being used, there is no attempt to recreate the impressive reliefs

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