THE BIGGEST BUDDHA SHRINE IN THE WORLD: BOROBUDUR TEMPLE
Who doesn’t know about Bali?
I met many foreigners who thought Bali and Indonesia were different countries. Well…who could blame them since Bali is more popular than Indonesia. Likewise, I have never met anyone who knows about Borobudur. Especially knowing Yogyakarta or Prambanan Temple.
That was why I surprised when a group of tourists from South Africa said that they went to Borobudur. Never before had a stranger asked me or told me about this magnificent temple. Not only that, they traveled overland to several cities around Central Java.
The last time I went to Borobudur Temple when our family joined a tour group from my father’s office. At that time I was 7 years old. Several decades later I revisited Borobudur with my sister.
We rented a car and drove from Yogyakarta.
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple complex dating from the 8th century. In addition to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Borobudur ranks as one of the largest cultural icons in Southeast Asia.
Borobudur on a very fertile volcanic plain between the twin mountains of Mount Sumbing and Mount Sundoro in the west, and Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi in the east. As a result of the eruption of Mount Merapi in 2010, Borobudur damaged with volcanic ash falling on the temple complex. The upper level closed to the public until September 2011.
The weather was scorching. We rented umbrellas from vendors inside the complex. Vendors outside the complex or around the parking lot told us that this was the last chance to rent an umbrella. They liars. We rented from vendors in the complex at half the price. Big umbrella with the same color.
We walked slowly to reach the top of the stairs. Fortunately, many visitors did not get to the top, so we had plenty of opportunities to take many photos. The stinging sunlight balanced by the blue sky. The perfect background for gray and black stupas.
We walked for two hours walking around the temple. On one occasion we searched for a stupa where visitors allowed to touch the Buddha statue inside. Unfortunately, according to a security official, it is not permissible anymore since visitors damaged the stupa supporting stones.
Then we discuss things about Borobudur with the officer. He suggested coming before sunrise. Although tickets are expensive, visitors can enjoy the dazzling sunrise. He showed fantastic photos like the shots of the professional photographer even though only from a smart phone.
Soon we returned to our car and drove back to city of Yogyakarta.
This post is also available in: Indonesian