Written by: Sri Lestari
If someone were to ask me about the best historical places to visit in Yogyakarta, Borobudur and Prambanan are certainly the first things that would come to mind. However, on my recent visit, I was enchanted by dozens of other places as well. One of the places I never thought of was King Boko ruins.
My actual plan was to see nearby attractions the first day I arrived. So, I thought Prambanan had to be a good choice as it only took 25 minutes to travel there from where I was staying. When trying to buy a ticket for my Prambanan adventure, the tourist office offered me a “combination” ticket, which allowed me to visit Ratu Boko (King Boko Palace ruins) as well. The ticket included a free shuttle that depart and arrive every 15 minutes between the two attractions.
Ratu Boko is located in the tranquil hills 3 kilometers from Prambanan. — it was shocking just how magnificent it was. Once arrived, I had to climb and climb the stairs and the first thing that caught my attention was a firm and sturdy stacked-stone gate which served as the palace gateway. The gate looked majestic on that sunny day, with bright skies adorning the landscape.
The site was built in the 8th century during the reign of Rakai Panangkaran. The place was initially built for spiritual purpose as evidenced by Abhayagiri inscriptions found in 792 CE, but later it was converted to a Keraton as the Mataram Kingdom took over.
Ascending the stairs, I realized that there were actually two sets of identical gates one must pass through to enter the palace ruins. The first gate has three entrances, while the second gate has five entrances. Once I passed through the second gate and reached the highest point of the palace, there was a Batukapur or limestone temple I was able to explore. Not far from there, I saw a square-shaped temple with two terraces. This square-shaped temple is called ‘Pembakaran temple’ (Cremation temple). As the name suggests, this temple was used in religious ceremonies to cremate bodies.
Apart from all the historical richness, this palace ruins is also a great place for relaxation. The site is huge open space and there are some gazebos and garden benches where you can sit and relax or take some pictures with a picturesque background.
So, when is the best time to visit?
Of all the people I asked the majority said that I visited the right place at the wrong time. However, after observing the view that overlooks Yogyakarta’s skyline, undoubtedly, Ratu Boko is the perfect location to appreciate any time of year.