Dedicated to the Hindu god Shiva, Prambanan, 11 miles (18km) east of Yogyakarta, was constructed in the mid 850s AD, but deserted only a couple of generations later – probably because of volcanic activity in the area, which covered the site under a pall of ash, sand and later, jungle. Only in the early 19th century was the complex rediscovered by British colonial officials. Substantially reconstructed, its crowning glory and jaw-dropping centrepiece remains the elaborately carved, 47m tall sanctuary tower, surmounting the site’s central shrine. The spectacle of this extraordinary behemoth soaring above the palm canopy, swathed in smoke from village fires, ranks among the most memorable Southeast Asia has to offer.
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