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Photo by Celia Mitchell (2015/16 Semester Photo Contest Entry), Indonesia Semester.

Archeology in action.

We went to Prambanan temple for our second excursion day in Jogja and I’m so glad i didn’t miss this one. The main temples are so tall and are covered in incredible carvings. Some of them even tell fables and mythes from Hindu mythology. After exploring Shiva’s temple Rita invited me to come with her to see the other three temples sights in the complex. The others were smaller and had far more incomplete buildings. They were also Buddhist instead of Hindu.

Rita told me that apparently the prince and princess who completed the building were Hindu and Buddhist respectively. So in a way, the Prambanan temple complex symbolizes a time in the local history when the two religions coexisted side by side – literally.

The whole trip was amazing, but the best experience I had there was when Rita and I got to speak to a team that was rebuilding one of the many collapsed side temples at Candi Sewu, one of the Buddhist sites at Prambanan. They didn’t really speak english, but Rita was willing to translate for us. I got to ask them about how they did what they did. How they could take a bunch of scattered old rocks and transform it into something incredible? I mean it looked like humpty-dumpty times 200!

They showed us how they marked the stones to know where they go and how they have grooves that allow them to lock in with other rocks. It’s one thing to look at old temples and realize how much work it must have been to make, it’s something else to actually witness that work yourself. I will never forget that visit.