Today I saw Prambanan temple:
And Sewu temple:
They are only 800 meters apart within the same ticketed tourist attraction/UNESCO world heritage site. The whole thing is not far from Yogyakarta, so I didn’t have much of an adventure getting out there. I did get there around dawn, but the complex didn’t open until later. It was hazy anyway so the photos wouldn’t have been great.
Both structures are enormous – the main building at Prambanan is 48 meters tall. Like Borobudur, Prambanan was ‘rediscovered’ during the brief British rule of Java in the early 19th century. I assume it’s they same with Sewu since they are so close together. They were in ruins when they were discovered, and no one did much to rebuild or protect the temples for the next 100 years or so. By the time they did, a lot was missing. Wikipedia says that the westerners liked to take statues for garden ornaments and locals reused temple stones for building materials. The restoration effort is ongoing today, although so much building material is missing that lots of the smaller outlying buildings will remain broken down. I like it that way – The jumble of stone is a good reminder of how old the place is.
Borobudur, Sewu, and Prambanan were built and operated at about the same time, in the 800s CE.
There were tourists from all over the world at the temple. I spoke with Italians, Malaysians, other Americans, and of course Indonesians. The Malaysians were an ethnic Chinese family and asked me to take a photo of them in front of Prambanan. Afterward, the man told me he was a chief of police in Kuala Lampur, gave me his number, and told me to give him a call if I ever visit.
Now lots of photos. First Prambanan: