Photographs from the Ratu Boko Complex at Prambanan

The last group of photographs from my recent trip to Java come from the Ratu Boko complex which is on the Prambanan Plain, not far from Yogyakarta.

I had not photographed this complex before, always believing it to be simply an old Palace, but recent readings had convinced me that though it may have been converted into a fortified Palace at some point, it probably began life as a monastery.

Not only a monastery, but seemingly a very important one, with close connections with the Abhayagiri monastery in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka, and also connected to missionary activities in China.

The source for this information comes largely from the very important research of Jeffrey Sundberg (see pdfs here and here, and follow up from there).

So I put aside a day to go to the site and for rephotographing the Candi Sewu temple, and early in the morning we set off, arriving just as they opened the site to visitors. After the constant streaming of tourists through Borobudur nothing could have been more different. There were a few local people there, mainly young boys, and no tourists at all.

The site is set in a very large area, approx 2 hectares, in an almost idyllic setting on top of a small hill, isolated from the hussle and bustle of the other major sites nearby, and includes numerous buildings, many of which are only foundational remains of the buildings that once would have stood there.

Although nowhere near as important as some of the other sites I visited it does have man-made caves, palaces, bathing areas, gates, archways and other places of interest around, and I had a very enjoyable couple of hours walking round and photographing the place.

This now concludes the photographs from the last trip to Java. I hope that many people will be able to come to know more about the great Buddhist civilisations that flourished in Indonesia from this work.





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