The Borobudur Temple complex is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most visited attractions in Indonesia, it was built in the 8th-Century. A marvel of Buddhist architecture, with multiple platforms stacked on each other, the temple is capped off with a magnificent dome peering down on top of them. The temple is also adorned with hundreds of relief panels and statues of the Buddha in multiple meditative postures, most of which are still intact today. The temple itself is located just 45 minutes away from the thriving metropolis of Yogyakarta.
A temple of the 10th century, The Prambanan Temple is the largest temple devoted to Lord Shiva in Indonesia. The temple houses numerous portrayals of the Ramayana with references to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma, the three great Hindu deities, along with three temples devoted to the animals that were believed to serve them.
Located on a beautiful offshore rock in Tabanan regency, Bali, Tanah Lot or 'Land on the Sea' is a Hindu shrine believed to be about 500 years old. An amalgamation of Balinese and Hindu mythology, the base of the temple is carved with sea snakes and offers a natural source of holy water, providing visitors with an aesthetic and spiritual experience unlike any other.
Situated west of Lake Bratan in Bedugul, Pura Ulun Danu Bratan is a 17th-century temple dedicated to the Hindu trinity of Brahma-Vishnu-Shiva. Surrounded by the lake which gives it a 'floating' appearance, the temple is constructed in traditional Balinese style with tiered shrines to honour the Hindu gods. The backdrop of the Bedugul mountains makes this a picturesque site of religious worship.
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The second-largest temple complex in Indonesia after the Borobudur Temple Complex, The Sewu Temple Complex is built upon Buddhist principles and sensibilities. It is located about 17km away from the main city of Yogyakarta and is among its foremost structures along with the Prambanan and Borobudur temples. The construction of the temple complex was started way back in the 8th- Century by the Matram Kings, although it was discovered only in the 1960s. This was because the debris of the temple was buried under the deluge of the explosion of Mount Merapi Volcano.
One of Bali's most magnificent temples, Pura Luhur Uluwatu is located in Uluwatu. While the surf break is down a dirt road from the Jalan Labuan Sait main road, the temple requires a left diversion much before the dirt path. It is one of nine directional temples in Bali. Locals believe that the temple blesses surfers at Uluwatu because of the divine waves, and protects the island against all evil.
A few kilometres from Ubud, Indonesia, Goa Gajah or the "elephant cave" is a spiritual and cultural attraction filled with Buddhist and Shaivite relics and carvings. A wide-eyed demon-like structure welcomes you at the cave entrance, which further leads to a serene pool inside. The intricate stonework makes this a must-visit for anyone looking for a glimpse into Indonesian architecture and heritage.
Known as Bali's 'Mother Temple', Pura Besakih is a majestic Hindu temple complex perched on the slopes of Mount Agung in Bali. The complex houses 23 separate temples and is believed to be atleast 2000 yearso old. Surrounded by stream and rice paddies, the primary deities of this beautiful temple are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu.
Considered as the mother temple of the former Bangli kingdom, the Pura Kehen or Kehen temple is a majestic structure in eastern Bali, dedicated to the God of Fire. Known for the massive Banyan tree inside the complex, the temple's inner sanctum is intricately carved with various Hindu gods and goddesses. Feasts to honour deities are still held here, making it an important site of religious worship.
Located in Tanjung Benoa in Bali, Pura Dalem Ning Lan Taman Beji is a beautiful Hindu temple famous for it's intricately carved gateways. Made of white sandstone, three gateways frame the gold-painted wooden doors which have reliefs and motifs carved on them. The temple is believed to be used for cleansing the sandalwood statues, and is mostly open for religious ceremonies only.
One of the most fascinating shrines in Bali, Pura Goa Lawah is famous for being built around a cave inhabited by bats. The 11th-century temple was built by Mpu Kuturan, one of the first pioneers of Hinduism in Bali and is designed in traditional Balinese style featuring three sanctums. Believed to be a place of meditation, the temple is imbued with local legends and historical significance.
Pura Lempuyang Luhur is a Balinese Hindu temple located on the slopes of Mount Lempuyang in Karangsem. Lying 1175m above sea level, reaching the temple requires a steep climb of over 1700 steps. However, one can stop along the way to take some beautiful pictures of the panoramic Mount Agung and the candi bentar gate.
2 km away from Senggigi lies this hindu temple which is popular among the Balinese community. In recent times the temple has become popular as also a sunset point for travellers looking to experience local hindu culture.
One of the few ancient religious places in Seminyak, Pura Petitenget is a 16th century Hindu temple constructed of beautiful red brick and sandstone. It is one of the series of sea temples that guard the island and has many small pavilions and shrines in its complex.
Built-in 1634 by the Raja of Mengwi dynasty to honour his noble ancestors, Pura Taman Ayun or the beautiful garden is an ancient temple in Mengwi, Bali. The ornamented gateway of the temple leads to a fountain spouting water through nine jets to represent the nine gods of Hinduism. The old-world charm and architectural marvel of this temple draw visitors here throughout the year.
Arjuna Temple is one of the most popular attractions in Central Java. One of the five structures in the temple complex, it is an architectural marvel. This embodiment of Hindu heritage can be explored by hiring a horse ride around the complex. Frequented by foreigners and locals alike, the open green spaces make it a great place to bring children.
Having been featured in Microsoft’s Age of Empires II, the Kalasan Temple, one of the oldest Buddhist temples on the island, has become a must visit for tourists visiting Indonesia for the first time. While the ride to Kalasan Temple through the countryside is a sight to behold, the temple itself is truly a spiritual experience. In terms of accessibility, heritage and charm, the Kalasan Temple does not disappoint.
Also called Ratu Boko Palace, this archaeological site in Java is mounted on a picturesque plateau next to Prambanan Temple Complex. It is the remains of a palace built during the 8th century AD by the Buddhist Shailendra dynasty. Reinforced with limestone, there are five gurapas or worship places adorned with tendril ornaments, tropical courtyards, eight circle pools and caves.
Close to Yogyakarta, Candi Plaosan is an exquisite complex of mid-9th century Buddhist shrines erected by descendants of the Shailendra dynasty. The site is divided into two areas, one with a pair of restored Javanese temples and another boasting over a hundred palatial shrines and stupas. Candi Plaosan’s well-preserved Buddha carvings and architectural masterworks on stone walls emanate peace and spirituality.
How many of these architectural wonders have you been to? Let us know in the comments below!