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A sprawling complex of over 250 religious structures, Sewu Temple, or Candi Sewu, is the second largest of Java’s Buddhist temples. Although it’s beaten by the Borobudur temple complex in terms of scale, its beauty and detail is on the same level. Come here to feel dwarfed by ancient statues and imagine the Javanese people of many centuries ago wandering among these structures.
Sewu Temple is even older than the neighboring Hindu temple of Prambanan. Thought to date from the 8th century, Sewu Temple has survived at least two major earthquakes, in the 10th century and in 2006. Remnants of these disasters are scattered around in the form of fallen stones. Restoration and conservation work on the site is ongoing. Due to its vast size, Sewu Temple was likely one of the most important Javanese places of Buddhist worship in its day, and was likely built for royalty.
Approach any of Sewu Temple’s four gates and look up at the huge statues that guard the entrance. These foreboding guardians, armed with clubs, are among the many particularly memorable features of the site. Pass them and head onwards to see the main structure, a towering temple that looms above the countryside like a mountain with nine different peaks. These peaks are in fact ornate pointed roofs. Come closer and admire the rich intricacy of the carvings that cover them and the rest of the building.
Take the time to admire the dozens of smaller shrines scattered around the complex. Each of these is as wonderfully detailed as the main structure.
It’s impossible to process all there is to see at this fascinating site. Spend as long as you need to appreciate the magical atmosphere here, then head to one of the neighboring historic temples. These include the famous Hindu temple Prambanan and the smaller Buddhist temples Lumbung and Bubrah.
Wear modest clothes for your visit. Take a taxi from Yogyakarta and get to the Prambanan temple area, where Sewu Temple is located, in under an hour. The hectic Java traffic will only make the spiritual calm of this ancient site seem all the more powerful.
Make the most of your visit to Sewu Temple. Here's a list of some of the top activities:
Why not think about purchasing a Private A Day in Yogyakarta Tour? It's one of the most interesting activities on offer here.
For even more things to do, check out our Prambanan things to do page.
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Ramayana Ballet and Prambanan Temple. Plaosan Temple and Ratu Boko Palace are also within 2 mi (3 km).
Located in the heart of Prambanan, this hotel is 0.3 mi (0.5 km) from Ratu Boko Palace and 1.5 mi (2.4 km) from Prambanan Temple. Sojiwan Temple and Ramayana Ballet are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Situated in Kalasan, this bed & breakfast is 1.2 mi (1.9 km) from Candi Sari and 2.6 mi (4.1 km) from Prambanan Temple. Kalasan Temple and Candi Kalasan are also within 2 miles (3 km).
Situated in Klaten, this hotel is 2.1 mi (3.4 km) from Plaosan Temple and 2.7 mi (4.4 km) from Prambanan Temple. Sojiwan Temple and Lumbung Temple are also within 3 miles (5 km).
Situated in Kalasan, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.2 km) from Kalasan Temple and 2 mi (3.2 km) from Prambanan Temple. Candi Kalasan and Candi Sari are also within 15 minutes.
Situated in Kalasan, this hotel is 0.2 mi (0.3 km) from Kalasan Temple and 2 mi (3.3 km) from Prambanan Temple. Candi Kalasan and Candi Sari are also within 15 minutes.
Situated near the airport, this guesthouse is within 2 mi (3 km) of Sambisari Temple, Kalasan Temple, and Candi Kalasan. Candi Sari and Adisucipto Golf Course are also within 3 mi (5 km).
Situated near the airport, this hotel is within 3 miles (5 km) of TransMart Studio Mini, Sambisari Temple and Maguwoharjo Stadium. Jogja Bay and Museum Dirgantara are also within 3 miles (5 km).