Ancient Buddhist temples in bewildering Borobudur

Trip Start Aug 09, 2010
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Trip End Feb 01, 2012


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Where I stayed
Lotus 2 Guest House
What I did
Tried to find my innerself

Flag of Indonesia  , Java,
Saturday, September 24, 2011

Hello all!

Our next destination was Borobudur to see the ancient temple with the same name, the biggest single temple in Asia. It’s name alone elicited exotic images in my head. 
Whilst a visit to Borobudur is an easy day trip from Yogyakarta we decided to spend a couple of nights in the actual town. As soon as we got to our guesthouse, the Lotus 2, we were very happy we did. Our room was ginormous, with two double beds that had mosquito nets draped over them creating a rather romantic setting. Our porch outside overlooked green fields full of healthy tobacco plants, with a blue mosque right in the middle. The call to prayer in the afternoon was the cherry on a very exotic cake. It was just wonderful! 
In the late afternoon we decided to do a different kind of tour. We were driven on motorbikes to one of the most important monasteries in Indonesia. It’s importance due to one of Buddha’s bones being buried there under a giant stupa. Our activity for the evening was to spend an hour chanting with the monks. The monastery itself is a real haven. Gorgeous manicured grounds, loads of shrines and statues and a copy of a famous row of stupas in Sri Lanka had us enthralled. 
At 7 o’clock we entered the ‘chanting room’ and found 4 monks dressed in their typical orange robes sitting cross legged in front of a statue of Buddha. We picked up two golden coloured cushions and sat down behind them. One of them led the chanting by uttering the first words and then the other monks followed. We closed our eyes, tried to quieten our minds and let the chanting take us into a trance. I got pins and needles in every single part of my legs, this cross legged business was VERY uncomfortable. At times I’d sneak a peak at Paul who seemed to have found his own spot of Zen whilst clearly I needed a bit more practice. Having said that I was still taken by surprise when a monk got up to leave and I looked at the clock on the wall, a whole hour had passed since we’d sat down. Amazing!
Feeling quite blissed out we floated out of the temple and onto our motorbikes. This time we were too chilled out to panic when our drivers, who were both very keen to chat , would hold the bike with one hand so they could gesticulate with the other whilst looking back at us. All is cool maaaaan! 

 The following morning we woke up bright and early to go and see Borobudur. As our guesthouse was close it was just a short walk up the road. As we paid to enter we were given a piece of cloth to wrap around us. The lady said it was a sarong but my particular garment looked more like a leopard skin mini skirt! See the resulting photos for further reference! 


Before walking up to the monument we decided to watch the short film about the place to give us more perspective. If you are ever here I would highly recommend watching it as you will really appreciate the workmanship that has gone into the site. Bizarrely we were the only two people who decided to watch the film so we had front row seats! 

On the way up we came across a traditional Javanese dance that was highly animated and energetic, apart from some guy who was sitting meditating at the front of the stage. I still don't know if he was part of the show or some guy who needed a rest!

We left the dancing to go and see what we came for: Borobudur. As Karen mentioned it is an ancient Buddhist temple / site that was re-discovered around 150 years ago. It is an impressive sight. It is full of stupas (bell shaped structures) all around the monument with a Buddha in each one.On the outer walls are inscriptions chiseled into the stone of Buddhas life. As you know we have seen a lot of impressive ancient ruins on this trip and Borobudur is equally impressive. Yes, there are lots of tourists both local and foreign alike but that did not ruin it for me and anyhow with an ever increasing world population we are all going to have to get used to sharing places of wonder. In fact the locals were a delight. How many times have we said that in Indonesia? I can't even imagine the amount of "hello's" and "can we take your photo"? we received. It was great to see locals appreciating what they have in their own country too. The surrounding countryside is equally impressive. The ancients loved a place with a view that's for sure! 

Talking of views, our next stop is Mount Bromo. An active volcano! See you on the crater rim.

All our love as always,
Paul & Karen xxx
 
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Comments

mom on

Another good read and lovely pictures x

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