January 26, 2012
Prambanan > Yogyakarta
The towering Hindu temples in Prambanan are hidden within a park full of trees. Once revealed, you immediately realize the entire structure is covered in stone carvings. Our efforts to be at the park upon opening at 6 am, proved fruitful. We were the first to enter and had the temples to ourselves. Lucky for us, we missed the crowds yesterday, enjoying their day off for Chinese New Year. Enter the Dragon! The morning air was still cool and the clouds made better light for photographs. Some temples stood completed, with some obviously simpler, renovated blocks. Others had crumbled from age and earthquakes, a few doorway frames leading to piles of somewhat organized stones and columns.
Off to Yogya, we had just enough energy to visit the Kraton (palace). Built in the mid-1700's, this is still the residency of the current King, also governor of the city. He is loved by the people for his generosity with subsidies, low taxes and openly speaking with and making himself easily available to the public. He can be seen every Friday, freely riding his bicycle to Mosque! Much Dutch detailing in the architecture, as there is all over Java. The structures are 3 tiers, larger at the bottom (birth), to middle (life/struggle), and top (death) with a point on top directing to Heaven. Iron columns and white marble imported from Europe. Different colours painted representing Hindu (red), Buddhism (gold), and Muslim (black).
Now, the heat is making us sluggish, we are making the most of air con in the mall and cooling off in the pool :)