Monday, January 30, 2012
Borobudur, Java, Indonesia
The Lonely Planets lists Borobudur among the top three sites in S.E. Asia, along with Angok Wat, in Cambodia, and Bagan, Myanmar. I was only in Myanmar for 30 minutes and didn't make it passed the guy selling fake Viagra so I don't have much to say about Bagan, but Angkor Wat remains one of the most amazing places I've been, which must say a lot for Borobudur.
I decided to go for the higher end Manohara Hotel, even though I usually go budget, but for only about $30, it's the nicest place I've ever spent the night, resting on the grounds of Borobudur.
I got up at sunrise and rushed to the temple, a massive, three dimensional mandala built over a hill, and ascended the steps up the levels of enlightenment, until reaching the central stupa, representing nirvana. Circling the upper levels are many cage-like, stone stupas with Buddhas sitting peacefully inside. One of the stupas has been opened, revealing the seated Buddha.
The scene was breathtaking, as the morning light fought its way through the mist and clouds, rising amongst smoking volcanoes.
After a couple of hours, the temple became quite busy, and noticed it was a popular activity for local teens to reach their arms in and try to touch the Buddha, perhaps for good luck?
I walked back to the hotel for breakfast, where my friend was already eating, then we returned together. It wasn't long before the massive white clouds that had appeared turned dark, though, and as the rain in the distance approached, we started back to the hotel, but it only took a few minutes before the downpour was on top of us. It wasn't a long run to the cover of the restaurant, but I was soaked! And so ended a quick visit to Borobudur. We packed up, checked out, and as the rain diminished, we caught a bus back to Jogjakarta.