Loro Jonggrang

“This folklore is about a famous temple called Prambanan in Jogjakarta, a big traditional city in Indonesia. By the way, Prambanan is a famous Hindu temple in Jogjakarta. The story is called Loro Jonggrang and it’s about how the temple was formed. It was said that there was a princess named Loro Jonggrang who was very beautiful and was the daughter of a cruel king in a great kingdom. In a neighboring kingdom, there was a prince named Bandung Bondowoso. The two kingdoms fought, and this prince killed the cruel king, the father of Loro Jonggrang. As he saw the princess, he was stunned by her beauty and proposed to her, the enemy of his kingdom. When she found out that he’s actually the murderer of her dad she rejected him. Because he was so persistent, and would not give up, she gave him a condition, which was to build her a thousand temples in one night. Of course, she thought that he would not be able to actually build these temples; it is normally an impossible task. But Bandung was a powerful guy, who could use his power to command dark forces and genies. So he did. When Loro Jonggrang saw that he had nearly finished building all those temples, she cheated out of fear. She asked all the people in the villages to grind the rice padi. The cocks thought that morning had come because of the all the noise. So they also made their crowing sound. The dark forces and genies became scared when they heard the cocks because of the noise and they thought it was morning.. So they abandoned the temples. The prince learned about this cheating, and he became very angry. He used his powers to curse Loro Jonggrang, turning her into a statue. Her statue is now an important feature of Prambanan, since it completed the temple.”

My informant first heard about this legend from a friend when she went to visit this temple. She thought it was very interesting, and a way to add to the temple and its history. It helped to connect the temple to the land and its folklore, and probably came from a true story in which a supernatural variation came about because of the beauty of the temple and is religious context.

This story was entertaining to hear, as I had never really heard folklore from Indonesia before. I thought it was interesting that they used supernatural explanations with dark magic and romance to explain a religious temple. I found it funny that the dark magical creatures became scared once they heard the crowing of the roosters, although perhaps it was because they may be vulnerable to the day.


Santoso, Suwito, Fendi Siregar, and Kestity Pringgoharjono. The Centhini Story: The Javanese Journey of Life : Based on the Original Serat Centhini. Singapore: Marshall Cavendish Editions, 2006. Print.