Borobudur & Prambanan - Day 182

Trip Start Jan 31, 2008
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Trip End Ongoing


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Where I stayed
Rejeki Homestay

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Last night I arranged some transport to two of the most impressive and important historical sites on the whole Indonesian archipelago, Borobudur and Prambanan. Both sites are around an hour drive from Yogyakarta and date back to the 8th and 9th centuries. I was joined by a miserable Indonesian sugar-daddy and his cute Indonesian wife who must of been at least 25 years his junior. First we drove to Borobudur which is multi-tiered pyramid like structure completely covered in Buddhist carvings telling the stories of Buddha's path to enlightenment. Over 1.6 million volcanic stone blocks were used in the build and it's an amazing piece of religious architecture on a truly massive scale. As a single structure it rivals some of the temples at Angkor, but of course what makes Angkor so special is sheer number of amazing pieces of architecture, at Borobudur there are only a hand full. This place is special for another reason too, the surrounding landscape of volcanoes, as I walked up the dozen or so tiers to the top of the temple I had an amazing 360 degree panorama of the landscape, I can completely understand why the temple was build in this beautiful location. At the top of the temple a party of teenage kids were on a school trip, and like on many occasions while I've been travelling in Indonesia, people want to have a photo taken with you, of course this doesn't just happen to me but with many westerners. So I posed for at least 10 individual shots with different kids as their friends took photos on cameras and mobile phones. Must of been a funny sight. You can't say no, anyway it's quite nice feeling like a rock star for a view minutes.

Then we moved onto the temples at Prambanan the largest Hindu complex in Java. The three biggest temples were build as a homage to the three most important Hindu gods, Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu. The Shiva temple is the biggest at 47 metres high and is decorated like Borobudur with fantastic stone carvings from blocks of volcanic rock. There are dozens of smaller temples surrounding the three main structures but after more than a millennium, numerous earthquakes and no restoration work they are effectively just piles of rumble. The site is impressive today but in the 9th century it must of been truly spellbinding.

Returned back to Yogyakarta mid-afternoon after an interesting and productive day of sightseeing.

There's not much of a nightlife in the city, so I've been going to my local restaurant, having something to eat, a large Bintang (Indonesian Beer) at happy hour and hitting the sack early. A complete contrast to my time on the Gili islands last week. Probably need to detox anyway.
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