During the Lebaran holidays, Asnate and I took advantage of our time off and we had the biggest day trip of our lives. On September 14th (my mom’s birthday!), we left at 4am, and didn’t get back until midnight. Our destinations: Borobudur, and Dieng. We were with friends Dres and Gilang, Indonesians, and Marta, Goesha, and Damien, Polish dude/dudettes who happened to be travelling through this part of Java. Here’s the Borobudur experience for Part 1.
First stop, we wanted to catch the sunrise at 5:30am at Borobudur. Alas, we found out when we arrived that you had to be part of a special organized tour, and pay each Rupiah to enjoy the sun rising around this ancient Buddhist temple. So we enjoyed the sunrise by the ticket gate, and stood in line for the gate to open at 6am. At least we got free coffee/tea with our entry!
Borobudur is around 1200 years old, and it is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It’s like a kind of pyramid; but there is no ‘inside’. We wandered around the 3 different sections, admiring the minute details on the reliefs and the sheer immensity of it all. Gilang, who had been here already twice that week, and probably a dozen times in his life, showed us lots of interesting details on the reliefs. He pointed out one cool relief that depicted a boat. He said that the model of these boats were thought to be the ones that sailed all the way to Madagascar.
Each level gets higher and higher to reaching Nirvana. The first levels, “Kamadhatu”, are for the common people. The second section, “Rupadhatu”, tells about all the Buddhist teachings, and here, you learn how to lead the best Buddhist life in order to attain Nirvana. At each level, there are less and less detailed reliefs, and more “Stupa” are found. “Stupa”, according to the pamphlet I got, is a “replica of universe”…”in accordance with Buddhism concept”.
Other fun facts about Borobudur that I learned from the pamphlet:
– There is a park around the temple; “Function of this park is silencer”.
– “Buildings in the park is constructed with traditional architecture pattern, and so is the landscaping with various scanty trees, all of these are expected to be one beautiful and grandiose combination, with an impression of quiet and historic natural atmosphere.” (Jordan, you should incorporate this in your next landscape architecture assignment.)
– Among the facilities found in the park, there is a “play ground arena for children and Elephants” as well as “some…toilettes spread in the park”.
And some things I learned about Buddha, also from this informative pamphlet:
– When he left the palace, he saw “blind people, people who were just got sick, died people and a pastor.”
– After living as a hermit and attaining the highest knowledge, “Prince Sidharta finally realized of how useless was the hermitage, that he started to eat again the food given by uruwilwa girls.”