Cradle of Javanese culture

Cradle of Javanese culture

A city steeped in tradition and history, Yogyakarta, also called "Jogja", draws crowds with its close proximity to the ruins of two world-famous temples - Prambanan, the ninth-century Hindu temple, and Borobudur, the largest Buddhist structure on earth.

But there is more to Yogyakarta, the capital city of the Yogyakarta Special Region in Central Java, Indonesia, than it may seem at first.

For culture vultures

In Yogyakarta, culture is at the top of every traveller's mind. There is an abundance of ancient temples and cultural sites in and around the city, but Prambanan and Borobudur are must-dos on the travel itinerary.

Built to showcase the triumph of Hinduism, Prambanan is situated just 18km east of Yogyakarta. With 240 temples, it is the largest Hindu temple complex in South-east Asia and designated as a Unesco World Heritage Site. The best way to soak in the architectural splendours is to walk through the three main temples of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiv - the three symbols of Trimurti (trinity) in Hindu belief. Overlooking Prambanan temple complex on a hillside plateau, there are the remains of a former grand palace known as Ratu Boko.

Together with Sewu Temple, the second largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia after Borobudur, Prambanan and Ratu Boko are connected by the legend of cursed Princess Jonggrang, who was said to have turned into stone after she spurned a prince's affections.

At nightfall, most travellers make time to catch the Ramayana Ballet here. Set on an open-air stage against the stunning backdrop of Prambanan, this cultural dance performance brings the Hindu epic to life.

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