Located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world, comprising thousands of islands. A melting pot of ethnic groups, languages, and religions, Indonesia is a fascinating tapestry of cultural richness. The arrival of Hinduism in Indonesia can be traced back to the early centuries of the Common Era when Indian traders and Brahmin priests voyaged to the Indonesian archipelago. Over time, Hinduism blended with existing indigenous beliefs and cultural practices, giving rise to a unique amalgamation known as “Hindu-Buddhism.” Despite the subsequent introduction of Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism continued to flourish, leaving an indelible mark on Indonesia’s cultural fabric.
Dedicated to the Trimurti, the Hindu trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located near Yogyakarta in Central Java. Built-in the 9th century, this colossal complex boasts towering spires and intricate reliefs depicting epic Hindu narratives. Prambanan Temple stands amidst lush greenery, with the imposing Mount Merapi as its backdrop.
Although primarily a Buddhist temple, Borobudur in Central Java showcases the harmonious coexistence of Hindu and Buddhist influences. Built-in the 9th century, it is the world’s largest Buddhist temple. The intricate stone carvings on its walls depict scenes from Hindu epics like the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Nestled amidst a serene landscape of volcanoes and verdant fields, Borobudur is a symbol of Indonesia’s multicultural heritage.
Tanah Lot Temple
Perched on a rocky outcrop along Bali’s western coastline, Tanah Lot Temple is a picture-perfect Hindu shrine dedicated to the sea deity Dewa Baruna. Its unique location, with crashing waves surrounding it during high tide, makes it a favourable site. Visitors can also enjoy beautiful sunsets and stunning panoramic views of the ocean from this sacred site.
Sitting atop a towering cliff on Bali’s southern coast, Uluwatu Temple is dedicated to Lord Rudra, an incarnation of Shiva. This iconic temple, built in the 11th century, offers vast ocean views. The temple is renowned for its stone carvings and serves as a venue for the captivating Kecak dance performances that narrate stories from the Ramayana.
Goa Gajah Temple
Also known as the Elephant Cave Temple, Goa Gajah is located near Ubud in Bali. Dating back to the 9th century, this temple features a cave entrance adorned with intricate stone carvings, including a meditating Shiva and Ganesh. The surrounding lush greenery and sacred bathing pools add to the beauty of this site.