I’d always wanted to go to Borobudur. It could be true, I said so myself.
The real truth is, I hadn’t thought of visiting Borobudur at all. Then one fine day as I was flipping through magazines, I came across a travel piece on Yogyakarta. It mentioned that Borobudur was in real danger of being wrecked by volcano ash, and one should make the trip sooner than later.
Something clicked in my mind and we booked the trip. Or something like that; it’s been two years, one’s memories may be muddled.
We dropped some money to stay at the Manohara Hotel, the only lodging right next to the Borobudur temple. As hotel guests, we get discounted rates (now it’s Rp250K, less than RM80 each) to join the sunrise tour. Well, more like a ‘come along’ rather than tour. Once you’re gathered at 4.30am and received a sarong to wear, you’re silently led to the temple where you walk up the stairs and are left to your own devices.
It seems like a hefty price to pay, especially if you’re not sure if the sunrise would be clear or not. There are some who found out how to enjoy the same view without paying the sunrise package price. Feel free to google for those resources.
Personally I felt the extra price was worth it, for sanity of not having to rush around like a mad person. The sun generally rises around 5.30am, and the temple is open to public at 6am. I’d say you get the temple to yourself for about 40 minutes. When you see the morning crowd come rushing in, you’d appreciate the brief moments of solitude to enjoy the temple.
You could see by now that it was a cloudy morning when we were there. No visible view of the sun rising. Some people were visibly disappointed, but whaddya know, nature.
I thought it was AMAZING, the cool air accompanied by small gusts of wind, and us standing on this ancient hand-me-down overlooking the morning fog cottoning the feet of mountains.
My uncle who visited in 1973 probably thought so too, hah!
I was on a mega project to scan old family photos when I came across these. My uncle worked in Indonesia for a few years, that was probably when he went exploring the country. Cool, eh?
You would have figured out by now that this post is not an authority on Borobudur, the 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple. There are other great on-line resources for that.
I knew that each wall relief told a tale, some I could recognise such as Gautama Buddha’s life story. Others, not so much.
I saw this image in the photo below… uhm, well I *did* take the photo. But I didn’t know it was famous until I got back, and learned it was the image of a Borobudur ship.
There are books that tell you stories of each wall relief. The mega price they cost and my interest in the subject do not match.
Stairs are bad for the knees, thankfully they installed steel railings. It took away the feel of authenticity, but safety first!
The morning crowd, then it starts to get busy. I probably wouldn’t have enjoyed it as much if I were surrounded by so many other people #introvertproblems
It was a lovely visit, though I did not get the ‘feeling’ as I did at Candi Sewu. But it was not my intention to go to Yogyakarta for a spiritual awakening, so that was okay.
Follow the entire Yogyakarta trip here: Yogyakarta 2014