Friday, 15 August 2014


Wat Arun...Ayutthaya...Angkor Wat...Kek Lok Si... At this point in our trip, Angela and I have been to so many bloody temples that it really takes something special to impress us now. Fortunately, there are still some adequately spectacular ruins out there for us to see, as we discovered on the tail end of our visit to Yogyakarta, when we took a tour of Indonesia's most famous temple, Borobudur.

The temple is located about an hour from Yogyakarta, and we left at a godawful hour in the morning so we could catch it during sunrise.
At the main entrance. 
Our first view of Borobudur. Evidence suggests that this Buddhist temple was built in the 9th century, but was largely abandoned and forgotten following Java's conversion to Islam around the 14th century. In 1814, local Indonesians reported its existence to their colonial British overseers, and the then ruler of Java, Stamford Raffles (who, incidentally, is also famous as the founder of Singapore), spread the news worldwide. 
Built from several million tons of lava-stone carried from a nearby volcano, Borobudur is a colossus of a temple, its nine decorated platforms ascending to the sky like the summit of a coal-black mountain. Its creators fashioned it to represent a Buddhist vision of the cosmos, starting at the lower platforms with base human forms, working their way up to more supernatural entities, before transcending to nirvana at the very top of the temple. In this way, the monument guides visitors upwards via corridors and stairways that are engraved with mysterious narrative reliefs, inscriptions and statuettes.

There are some great views from the temple, which only become more breathtaking the higher up you go.

On our first set of stairs. 
Wandering corridors of ashen rock engraved with spiritual motifs.

Getting higher and higher, and closer to Nirvana.

Almost at the top!

At the top of the temple are these large bell-shaped stupas.
Hidden inside them are statues of Buddha.

Admiring the view.

Passing more engravings on our way down.

Let us lay one last look upon ye, oh mighty temple.
We also visited Mendut, another 9th century Buddhist temple, which is spiritually linked with Borobudur.

That was the end of yet another temple tour. It wasn't the first, it probably won't be the last, but it was definitely one of the more impressive temple tours we've been on, and it was almost the highlight of our time in Java. I say almost, because our next destination was even more incredible. Coming up next: the mighty Mount Bromo.

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