Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bat Poop and Ballet: The Prambanan Experience

After rising with the sun at Borobudur, Martha and I headed to Prambanan (which you might remember from my travels with Meghan and Liz-  check out that link for more background on the temples and some of the local stories about their construction), a series of Hindu temples built around the same time period, for the sunset.

Here's me and Martha, sporting the layered look, in front of the main temples at Prambanan:

Martha in front of one of the complex's hundreds of small temples:

Some of Prambanan's cool carvings:

Martha and I got to rock some hard hats in order to enter the main temple, which was closed to the public when I went last year with Meghan and Liz due to structural issues stemming from recent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.  Now it's open, but only to a limited number of people and you have to wear the hard hats for safety.   

The main temple is dedicated to Shiva, the destroyer, and is encircled by carvings depicting the Ramayana, the Hindu epic.  Below is the Shiva statue inside the temple.  She's looking quite, um, arm-y:

Here's Rama, hunting the golden deer:

Me and Martha on the steep and uneven steps up the temple.  These steps, and all of the uneven, unstable, handrail-less steps and sidewalks across Indonesia, were the bane of her existence:

Tiny Martha, big Shiva temple:

After checking out the main temples at Prambanan, we rode around to a few other temples in the area, including the Buddhist Plaosan temple complex, set in the middle of the rice paddies:

This group is comprised of 2 main temples surrounded by hundreds of shrines, statues and stupas, many of which are currently just piles of rubble.  Inside the temples are three rooms, each with two Bodhisattva statues,(below).  I only noticed the statues by using my camera's flash, because, much to my dismay, these temples were also pitch black and full of bats that had just woken up (since it was dusk).  Creepy and very Indiana Jones-y feeling to be in there by myself (Martha opted not to climb the steep and uneven stairs, see above):

She did, however, pose for some shots in front of the many (headless) Buddha statues on the temple grounds:

Here we are with guardians of the temple, the Dvarapala, fearsome giants with a mace as a weapon:

After we were done with the temples, we had quick dinner and then headed back to Prambanan, specifically to the massive outdoor theater, the Tri Murti, for the Ramayana dance show (when I went with Meghan and Liz we also saw the dance performed, but at the indoor theater).  Lucky for us, some of the dancers were available for photo opps pre-show.  Martha was able to put some of her signature awkward hand poses into action!:

There was a small group of gamelan performers ushering us into the theater with some hot jams:

Ah, the beautiful temple at night:

The outdoor theater spectacle was pretty amazing...  with the temples as the backdrop, the full gamelan accompaniment, and over 200 dancers?  Pretty impressive.  My only complaint: the bats circling overhead.  Normally I wouldn't find them to be an issue, but that particular night I got pooped on by said bats not once, but twice.  Is bat poop considered good luck?  

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