Ratu Boko is located roughly three kilometers from Prambanan. Many people, including some locals, think that Ratu Boko is an old Buddhist temple. They are half right as Ratu Boko is actually a royal palace with a temple within its complex built around the 8th century.
Ratu Boko is popular for its magnificent sunset view. The complex is large but the buildings are not as grand as the neighboring Prambanan or Borobudur. However, the general scenery here are no less wonderful and the history behind the complex is also quite important. Here are some of the most important sections in Ratu Boko.
Kaputren Ancient Bath
Kaputren is a part of the palace dedicated to the royal princesses, it usually has a bathing site with several pools, fountain, and showers. In Ratu Boko, Kaputren is divided by a stone wall into two sections. The first section has three square pools and the other section has eight circle pools. In the old days, men were strictly prohibited from entering or even seeing inside Kaputren.
Paseban is the royal court where people meet the kings, usually for those who are summoned by the king himself. The Paseban in this site faces north and south with the stair on the west side. Today, the Paseban is only a raised platform made from stones. However, the foundations found around it suggest that in its heyday, this Paseban was actually a closed structure.
The Gate (Gapura) is the most photographed structure in Ratu Boko. It is extremely instagrammable, especially during the sunsets. There are actually two gates; the inner and outer gates, each located 15 meters from each other. There are actually five gates with various size in each part. Many people waiting for the sunsets here during the clear day to take pictures or just enjoy the marvelous sight.
Just as the name suggests, Pembakaran Temple is an ancient crematorium. The two-tiered platform is located about 45 meters from the gate. The platform is made with granite rocks. In the middle of the platform, there is a small niche structure to burn a corpse. In one of the corners of Pembakaran, there is an old well, the source of holy water used during a sacred ritual.
In Javanese, Pendapa means a pavilion located in front of the main house, usually used for guests. In this complex, the pendapa is located inside walls three meters high with three gapuras to enter. Inside these walls, there is also running waterways called Jalawadra. Outside the walls, there are Hindu worship shrines.
In term of tourism, Ratu Boko is nowhere near as popular as neighboring Prambanan or Borobudur. However, this royal palace complex holds an important role in understanding the royal life of the ancient Javanese kingdom.