THE LEGEND OF BANDUNG BONDOWOSO
Once upon a time, there was a vicious King by the name King Baka, who liked to sacrifice humans everyday. He had a preference for killing young people. This behavior caused the people to be always in panic, but they could not do anything because the King was so powerful. So everyday he sent his soldiers to find people suitable to be killed. These soldiers looked as vicious as their master. But the soldiers were also afraid of King Baka, because if they failed to find the victim, they became the victim instead.
So, from day to day people became more worried and many of them fled to the neighboring places to find safety away from the vicious King. Fortunately, a neighboring kingdom was headed by a very wise King, the King of Pengging. He always took care his people and protected them against any threat. He heard about the vicious King, and he tried to find ways to kill King Baka. He knew that one day the vicious King might attack his Kingdom. The wise King had a son called Bandung Bondowoso, his only son whom he loved so much. Bandung Bondowoso grew up to be a young man whom his father expected to take over the kingdom at a later time. One day Bandung Bondowoso asked his father if he might go to meditate in faraway place in order to improve his spiritual strength. His father was very pleased with his son's idea. So the King ordered his soldiers to accompany his son on his journey to a place for meditation. Bandung Bondowoso was committed to a period of meditation after he got a blessing from God . At last he finished his meditation after 15 years in a dense wood. So Bandung Bondowoso became a powerful young man, invulnerable to injury because of his powerful spiritual strength. He returned to his father's palace. All the people were very happyto see Bandung Bondowoso returned home, especially his father, the King. The people of Pengging Kingdom expected Bandung now to be able to kill the neighboring vicious King Baka. His father told Bandung Bondowoso to be prepared for a battle with King Baka.
Up to that time, no one had been able to defeat King Baka, and many countries had been brought under his authority and had to pay their tribute to him. So one night, Bandung Bondowoso stayed awake praying to God, asking him for His Blessing in the coming fight against King Baka. The next morning, Bandung Bondowoso and his soldiers marched to King Baka's Palace. His arrival was unexpected. The battle could not be avoided. There now followed more than 1 0 days of fighting, many casualties resulted on both sides. The air stank with the smell of the dead bodies of the soldiers. Then King Baka realized that Bandung Bondowoso was strong enough to kill all of his soldiers. So he decided to face Bandung Bondowoso by himself, one to one, in battle to avoid more casualties among the soldiers.
The anger of King Baka was no longer in control. He raced down into the battle area to confront Prince Bandung Bondowoso. The soldiers of King Baka hailed him loudly. Both King Baka and Prince Bandung Bondowoso used their full strength and skill against each other. But in time the younger Prince Bandung Bondowoso was able to defeat King Baka, and finally with his last blow, Bandung Bondowoso killed King Baka. King Baka's soldiers ran away, fleeing from the battle ground for safety.
Then the victorious Prince Bandung Bondowoso and his soldiers marched into King Baka's Palace. He went through every part of the palace, and finally he met a very beautiful girl inside the royal park. Bandung Bondowoso was stunned by the beautiful girl in front of him. He had no idea at all who she was. He approached the girl and asked her softly who she was. But the girl was so frightened that she could not answer him. Calmly he looked at his soldiers, waiting for an explanation. Then one of his soldiers explained him that she was the daughter of King Baka, Princess Lorojonggrang. He was once again surprised that the vicious King Baka had such a beautiful daughter. He wanted to hear from the girl herself that she was the daughter of King Baka. He asked the princess, " Is it true that you are the daughter of King Baka ?". Gently she whisper to him that she was. In his heart Prince Bandung Bondowoso admired the princess' beauty. If he had known that King Baka had a beautiful daughter, he would not have killed the King . Bandung Bondowoso felt pity for Lorojonggrang but he could not undo the killing of her father.
So, Prince Bandung Bondowoso approached Princess Lorojonggrang once again saying that he did not know that King Baka had a beautiful daughter. She moved away frightened, looking at Prince Bandung Bondowoso, who appeared strong and well built, but his face was as ugly as a giant's. Princess Lorojonggrang kept silent. Then Prince Bandung Bondowoso asked her if she already had a husband. While she wiped the sweat from her frightened face she answered that she was still a maiden. She asked Bandung Bondowoso if he was the one who killed her father. The Prince answered that it was so. On hearing the Prince' answer, the princess felt a new hatred grow in her heart toward this man who had asked her to marry him. The Princess tried several times to avoid the question and moved further away from the Prince . Gently he approached her and whispered : "Will you marry me and be my only wife?", "Whatever you wish I will give anything you want", she responded. " Don't think to what has had happened. If your father were alive, I would extend my proposal to him. But things have been done and God has decided our fate, and we should accept whatever God has decided". The princess remained silent. In her mind she was trying to think how to stay alive and not anger Bandung Bondowoso . She decided that she would not marry an ugly man, whoever he was.
Softly she agreed to marry Bandung Bondowoso on one condition. She asked Bandung Bondowoso to make 1000 temples for her in one night. The Prince was surprised at the condition she proposed. He said, " Why must I build so many temples for you?". Princess Lorojonggrang answered, "Oh, I love the temples. They can be used to beautify our park and as ornaments for the ladies park. We can also use the temples for our honeymoon and besides they will be nice for our children to play in". The Prince was stunned for awhile, but his love to Lorojonggrang and his powerful spiritual strength helped him decide that he would make 1000 temples as proposed.
Before the sunset, he meditated and asked help from God, and from all the spirits to help him build the 1000 temples. Then the work started, With the Prince and his soldiers helped by all the Spirits and Demons, the work ran so fast that it worried Lorojonggrang She prayed to all the heavenly beings, saying that it was unfair for her to marry an ugly man like Bandung Bondowoso. She asked God to keep her from marrying this ugly man. Then God whispered to her what she must do. Very early in the morning, before the cock started crowing, she went out from the Palace heading toward the village.There she ordered all the villagers, mostly women, to bang the bamboo drum, creating a loud noise as a signal that sunrise was approaching. The first bamboo drum sounding encourages all to do likewise and soon all the people were sounding the bamboo drums. Suddenly, the cock crowed more and more, harder and harder, until all cocks in the village were crowing together: Everyone came out from the houses carrying their farm tools as if they were ready to work in the fields. In fact the day was still dark, no sign of sunrise. The heavenly beings, the ghosts and other spiritual souls, now hear the drumming and believe the morning sun will came out soon. People be starting their field work right away, and those ghost and spiritual souls, who were busy making the temples, were afraid of seeing people, So they fled. The princess had found a way to trick Bandung Bondowoso away from his work.
Suddenly, the sound from the working of the temples stopped . Bandung Bondowoso was surprised; why had the work stopped. He counted the number of temples which had been finished, ........ in all there were 999 temples. One more temple and he would be able to marry Lorojonggrang. He looked around trying to find what had stopped the work. Then he saw Lorojonggrang still banging on the bamboo drum, accompanied by the village girls. Now Bandung Bondowoso realized that it was Lorojonggrang who caused the work to stop. Bandung Bondowoso shouted at her angrily, "Lorojonggrang, now I know that you are a very treacherous woman, a liar, a vicious woman, damn you girl. I almost finished making the 1000 temples, why did you interrupt my work. One more temple and you become my wife." "Calm down my dear Prince, I love you because you are so strong and powerful" replied Lorojonggrang." It seems that God did not permit us to be husband and wife " continued Lorojonggrang. Prince Bandung Bondowoso's anger was no longer under control. "You are not worthy to live, may God curse you" yelled the Prince. "Since I need one more temple to finish the 1000 , I will make you the statue of Lorojonggrang to complete my 1000 temples" shouted the Prince, roaring like an angry tiger. At that at moment the world stood still, and the beautiful Princess Lorojonggrang became a stone statue. The Prince was silent, amazed that the Princess had really changed into a stony yet beautiful statue . Still in his remaining anger, he looked towards the village girls and said : "You, Prambanan girls, you will never marry anybody, you will be old maids."
It is said that among the statues in Lorojonggrang Temple, there is one statue that looks lonely. The story of Bandung Bondowoso is a tale reminding people, that excessive power can mislead one's wisdom, and turn one into a ruthless person whatever his or her position in the community, as happened with King Baka. On the other hand, Prince Bandung Bondowoso, who had shown his loyalty to his father and his people, when he became too strong, his own strength did not always lead to the satisfaction of all his desires. When he was unable to control himself during his anger, his only words brought tragedy upon him.