Sewu temple is located just several hundret meters north east of Prambanan temple. It is a large and vast Buddhist temple including several other small temples like Lumbung, Asu, Bubrah and Lor Kulon temple.
Sewu Temple complex located in the area of Prambanan Temple Park, about 800 meters to the north of Rara Jongrang Temples. Sewu Temple is the second largest Buddhist temple in central Java after Borobudur. The fact that this temple was built near Prambanan Temple, which is a Hindu temple, indicated that the Hindus and Buddhists lived in harmony.
It is believed to be a royal temple and was one of the religious activity centers in the past. Based on the inscription dated back to 792 AD which was found in 1960, the name of the temple complex was probably “Manjus’rigrha” (The House of Manjusri). Manjusri is one of Boddhisatva in Buddhist teaching. Sewu Temple was probably built in the 8th century at the end of Rakai Panangkaran administration. Rakai Panangkaran (746 AD – 784 AD) was a popular king from the old Mataram kingdom.The temple was studied firstly by HC Cornellius in 1807. The first archeological study was done by NJ Krom in 1923.
The massive restoration was carried out from April 1, 1983 to 1993 costed 3 billion rupiah. Sewu Temple complex has 249 temples, consists of one main temple, 8 “Apit” temples and 240 “Perwara” temples. The main temple forms a polygon of 20 corners with 29 meters diameter and 30 meters high. Most of the structures were made up of andesit stone.
The main temple has 1 main room and 4 small rooms of which are doorways to the temple. The east door serves as main door to the main room. That way, the main temple faces to the east. The structure has 9 ‘roofs’, each of them forms a stupa on the top