October 2, 2012

0350 INDONESIA (Java) - Prambanan Temple Compounds - Shiva temple (UNESCO WHS)

The legend say that during the times of the Hinduism in Java, a prince named Bandung Bondowoso madly fell in love with the princess Loro Jonggrang, renowned for her beauty, and wanted to marry him. But she refused, and he killed her father. Therefore, the princess swore not to ever marry her father's killer, but to end his insistences she finally agreed on one condition: to build 1,000 temples in one night. Unable to complete this task all by himself, prince Bandung summoned up hundreds of spirits to help him, and close to dawn, much to the dismay of Loro Jonggrang, they had completed the 999th temple. Loro Jonggrang ordered her palace maids to light a large fire, begin pounding rice, and scatter fragrant flowers all over the kingdom. The roosters were fooled into thinking it was dawn and began to crow, the spirits fled, and the last temple was left unfinished. Enraged beyond measure, the prince turned Loro Jonggrang into a stone statue, representing the final temple, so that she would never be able to love others forever. Touched by the story, the Gods took the princess to the heavens, where she finally found eternal peace.

The history say that around 850 AD the king Rakai Pikatan began the construction of the temple now called Prambanan to mark the return of the Hindu Sanjaya Dynasty to power in Central Java after almost a century of Buddhist Sailendra Dynasty domination, and also as an answer to the Buddhist Borobudur and Sewu temples nearby. The complex was expanded by successive Mataram kings, such as Daksa and Tulodong, so that at its peak there were no less than 240 temples. In the 930s, Mpu Sindok, the founder of the Isyana Dynasty, shifted the court to East Java, and Candi Prambanan was abandoned. In the 16th century it collapsed during a major earthquake, but even so, become a ruin, it continued to be an important center of worship. Over the centuries, the true builders have been forgotten, and so was born the princess Loro Jonggrang's legend.

Dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Sustainer (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva), the temple compound is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture, typical of Hindu temple architecture, and by the towering 47m high central building (in the image), the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia, originally called Shiva-grha (the House of Shiva) or Shiva-laya (the Realm of Shiva). It encircled with galleries adorned with bas-reliefs telling the story of Ramayana, carved on the inner walls of the balustrades. At the center is located the Shiva shrine, composed by five chambers, one in every cardinal direction and one in central part. In the central chamber is a 3m high statue of Shiva Mahadeva (the Supreme God).

In 1991, Prambanan Temple Compounds was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site, because it "presents the grandiose culture of Shiva art as a masterpiece of the classical period in Indonesia, and the region."

About the stamps
The stamps are part of the first series entitled Traditional Textile of Indonesia series, issued on March 30, 2011 to welcome the World Stamp Championship and Exhibition in Jakarta 2012. The series contain 8 stamps with the same value (2500 IDR):

1/8 Ulos Hand Woven, North Sumatera
2/8 Tampan Hand Woven, Lampung
3/8 Batik Lasem, Central Java
4/8 Batik Parang Garuda, DI.Yogyakarta
5/8 Sasirangan Hand Woven, South Kalimantan
6/8 Iban Hand Woven, East Kalimantan - it's on the postcard
7/8 Toraja Hand Woven, South Sulawesi
8/8 Sumba Hand Woven, East Nusa Tenggara - it's on the postcard

Prambanan - Wikipedia
Prambanan - Borobudur Park site
Lara Djonggrang - Tugu Hotels site
Traditional Textiles of Indonesia 2011 (#1) - Indonesia stamps

sender: Yenny Rere Andreastuti (direct swap)
sent from Balikpapan (Indonesia), on 13.03.2012
photo: Hans Hoefer

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