Borobudur

21 November 2013


BLESSED.  Coming to Yogyakarta, Indonesia was totally unexpected. I didn't picture one day I would be walking up the stairs of the great monument when I saw in magazines. It's quiet, calming and beyond beautiful.

Ahhh!!! It's quite an emotional moment for me to see it in real!!  


Borobudur was a Mahayana Buddhist temple built in the 9th century. Then it was abandoned for a long time until being rediscovered and made famous on early 19th century. Hypothetically volcano eruptions, growth of plants and mud had covered the entire building from being completely seen. 

I saw pictures of the monument before it was properly restored. In the early 20th century, all the stones were slanted, messy, and possibly collapse at any time. 

On the reliefs there were illustrations of the law of karma, the story of the Buddha and his teachings. 

The staircase up to the top tier. The steps look steep but trust me they are not. 
It's very easy to walk up.

Perhaps because I am a Buddhist myself I felt more attracted to it. I was amazed by how people incorporated religion, art and architecture in one masterpiece. 

There were over 500 statues of the Buddha and many stupa towers. Each relief panel on the wall represents a story. Each tier of the monument symbolizes something important in my religion.


It looked very old, very worn-out by weather and solemn in real life, which gives the monument a peaceful and calming ambience. If you're interested in history and art, this is a great place for you. 

Otherwise for some people this might be just another pile of rocks. A BIG pile of rocks. Well you know what I mean.

Some of the statues have lost their heads and I don't know why. 
Probably it's due to the weather, earthquake or other natural disasters.

Inside every stupa. a Buddha statue sits quietly within.



I walked on the corridors, trying to understand the reliefs and looking at the volcanoes on the opposite. Moments like this are quite emotional, my mind will get wild. I would start imagining how the Javanese carried large stones from a river nearby, where the craftmen sat when they were carving the stones and what happened to this place over the last one thousand two hundred over years? Surely it hadn't be easy.

And who built it?


Yogyakarta is still new to tourism, there were not many foreigners in the town yet. So when I was looking at the relics, many Indonesian students came to talk to me. I was thinking, "Leave me alone. Let me just look at these wonders quietly!" But they were so friendly, in fact they were trying to complete a test called 'Happy English'.  They were brought to Borobudur to practice English language with the foreigners.

Good idea! I like that learning method! Maybe we should apply it here in Malaysia.


Some people will go there at 4am to see the sunrise. Aww I would love to but the tour isn't cheap. 

Anyway, entry into Borobudur costs:
  • US$20/Rp 190,000 for adult non-Indonesians. (as of Jun. 2013)
  • US$10/Rp 95,000 for non-Indonesian registered students (proof, e.g. ISIC, is required).
  • Rp 30,000 for Indonesian adults or foreign holders of an Indonesian work permit (as of Aug. 2012).

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