Rode motorbikes (well one of those scooters anyway) to Borobodur today from Yogyakarta. We got up at 4.30am to be there for sunrise but took a wrong turn and missed it. Above is a picture of what we imagined it was like. Even though we missed sunrise it was still a fantastic place to visit. We spoke to Indonesian kids there all morning who were there as part of their english course talking to foreigners. We had too many photos taken of us. Us ‘whiteys’ are pretty intriguing to the locals outside the big tourist blocks.
Interesting that in a largely Muslim island two of the biggest tourist attractions are Buddhist and Hindu temples. As we have talked to people in our travels it is evident that pluralism, nominalism and synctretism are alive and well in Indonesia.
Borobodur is a ninth century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome is located at the center of the top platform, and is surrounded by seventy-two Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.
The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path circumambulating the monument while ascending to the top through the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, namely, Kamadhatu (the world of desire); Rupadhatu (the world of forms); and Arupadhatu (the world of formless). During the journey, the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades.