Indonesia is filled with many temple complexes, and you can certainly get “templed out” if you are not careful. The major temple complexes in Java, one Hindu and one Buddhist, are among the most important temple complexes in the world. In Balithere are thousands of temples and shrines, Hindu and Buddhist alike. A visit to these monuments will likely bring you a sense of peace regardless of your religion if you go with an open mind and a caring heart. There is a great deal Westerners can learn from the Eastern religions, and the experience of visiting these sacred spaces is at once educational and peaceful. You can see them on your own with private drivers and other transportation arrangements. However, for a very comprehensive two week trip to Indonesia to see them including as visit with a local family and schools, contact Overseas Adventure Travel.
This Prambanan Hindu temple is in Java, and can be seen as a day trip from Bali, or during a trip to central Java itself by flying into Yogakarta. This is the largest temple complex dedicated to Shiva in all of Indonesia. It was built in the 10th century, and is dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma) as well as to the animals who serve them.The temple in the center is the one dedicated to Shiva. It is a UNESCO word heritage site,and it is easy to walk around the temple grounds and climb into the structures themselves. A little car takes people around the rest of the grounds to see other sites that are part of the complex, but the shrines to these deities are the big draw.Just being on the grounds brings an overwhelming senses of tranquility which, even on a rainy day, is magnificent.
The Borobudur Buddhist Temple is considered the granddaddy of the Buddhist temples, and is also located in central Java. Yogakarta is again the gateway, and most tours combine this and the Prambanan Temples. Bring good walking shoes, since any visit to Borobudur requires walking up all ten levels of this, the largest Buddhist monument in the world, and the most visited tourist site in Indonesia.The top of the tenth level is the crown jewel, with Buddhas and massive bell shaped stupas at every turn. The view of the entire complex from the top is also spectacular, and enables a birds eye view of the perfectly manicured grounds. Contact the visitor center web sitefor more information on the history of these Javanese temples and how to visit these two magnificent structures in Yogakarta. They are the highlight of any Indonesian trip.
Bali’s temples are so uniquely different from what you see in Java, it is like being in a different country. The vast majority of Balinese Hindu temples have the same outer architecture, which is actually the first thing you see as you arrive at the airport in Denpasar. While Pura Luhur, the Balinese Sea Temple at Uluwatu has a unique pagoda shape and overlooks the cliffs with their jaw dropping beauty, the temple which might capture your imagination the most resides on striking black sand beaches overlooking yet another spectacular coastal vista and sits on a rock. This is Tanah Lot, probably the most famous of Bali’s temples. It means “land in the middle of the sea.” It is easy to get there with a private guide, but the crowd is huge once you arrive. It is also in a more commercial area than the two in Java, or even others in Bali due to its popularity. From the time you leave the parking lot to the walk down to the shore, you are surrounded by not only hoards of tourists, but shops, shops shops. The dramatically striking beauty of the entire area is not to be missed, however, and frequently Hindu observances are performed throughout the day by the locals.