Prambanam Temple is a complex on the Indonesian island of Java. And it's incredibly beautiful. The architecture was completely new to me, and it was amazing to see the graceful style and the significance and meaning with which each and every stone is imbued. It really felt like stepping back in time and discovering a lost city.
The approach to the temples has a real sense of grandeur, and the pointed dome shape soon became a readily-recognised feature. Monuments of different sizes spoke of relative importance, and we explored the site fully.
Also, our hotel gave us umbrellas to use for the day, against the chance of inclement weather, and they made brilliant photo props. For pointing, and unfurling and so on. I felt like Amelia Peabody. And while sorely tempted, we did return the delightful brollies afterwards.
And if you've not come across Amelia Peabody, you need to read the series of novels by Elizabeth Peters, because I love her. Who wouldn't love an independent-travelling-Victorian-feminist-archeologist-detective who excavates pyramids by day, and catches criminals by night?
Sadly, Java has suffered under huge earthquakes, and some of the temples are no longer standing. Piles of rubble are testament to what was once a hugely significant and important site. Now tourists pay fleeting visits (and I'm glad that we can) but you can't help but feel a little melancholic, imagining the pomp-and-circumstance of a now-forgotten way of life.
P.S. I really loved seeing places that are so different to the classic European architecture with which I'm familiar. With any luck, I will return to South-East Asia one day and explore further.