Finding Plaosan

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Somewhere in 2009, my friend Rachma Safitri uploaded a picture of a twin temple to her facebook account. Never had I seen the temple before. It was so magnificent to me that I felt like leaping to that place right away. Fitri told me that it was Plaosan temple, sited not so far from Prambanan temple.

When I returned from Ijen crater in April 2010, I didn’t get a bus ticket to Solo. It was sold out in the long weekend. The only transportation available then was a mini bus to Yogyakarta that departed from Surabaya at night and would arrive in the morning. I thought that was great. I could see the twin temple.

I was lucky. The mini bus stopped at Pasar Prambanan (a traditional market, located across the Prambanan temple) at around six in the morning. The sky was bright and the light was perfect. I took an ojek (motor taxi) to reach Plaosan that cost me ten thousand rupiah. It took less than five minutes to get there.

Seeing the temple for the first time had made me completely speechless. Sited in the middle of a rice field and surrounded by the morning mist, the temple was astonishing. Somehow I could figure what it was like to be in the past when the temple was still a Buddhist sanctuary.

At the time I got in there, the temple was still closed for a visitor. I came to the security post and asked them whether they could let me in for taking some pictures, and they did. I was a bit surprised that they didn’t give me a ticket. All I got to do was writing down my name in a guest book. I later found out that the temple was not yet managed or run by any organizer.

Standing closer to the temple, I realized how grand the building was. I took some pictures, trying to capture the details, ruins, and also to link the temple with the Mount Merapi visually. Thanks to the bright sky, the mountain could be clearly seen that morning. There was one popular theory that said that the ancient civilization there was naturally demolished by its eruption.

Having taken enough pictures inside the temple complex, I got out and walked around the rice field, just to get another point of view of the temple. On the other part of the field, farmers were harvesting the rice. They allowed me to take their pictures. It was interesting to capture them working with the temple as the background. Somehow, I promised my self to return to this place.

Five months later, during the long vacation I had the change to revisit this temple. This time I came with Rachma Safitri. We decided to go there early in the morning to capture the sunrise. The sky was not as bright as on the other day. But I was happy however to see the herd of ducks, pastured by a shepherd who didn’t seem to please with my coming, passing by in front of me while I was taking a picture of the temple. This time, I didn’t get inside the complex. So I just took some pictures from outside. 

The last time I went to this temple was on Christmas last year. It was cloudy and the light was bad. And yet, the temple was still marvelous. No matter how many times I have been to this temple, I always feel like going back, over and over again as there’s something that keeps calling me back. It’s the past.

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