Borobudur Temple, listed in UNESCO’s World Heritage, is one of the most interesting Buddhist Temples in the world. It’s in fact, the largest Buddhist monument in the world measuring 35 meters high with a dimension of 123 meters by 123 meters.
Setting foot on Borobudur and knowing its history is one of the reasons why I visited Yogyakarta (pronounced as Jogjakarta) as part of my 57-hour backpacking in Southeast Asia. It took us an hour from Yogyakarta before we reached the Borobudur temple, which is 40 kilometers northwest of Jogja.
Our driver Andi parked the vehicle and directed us to the entrance of the Visitor Assistance Center, where we paid the entrance fee of $15 or 120,000 IDR (~Php 567.00) per person back in 2012. UPDATE of rate this 2013, according to the official website of Borobudur, entrance fee for for foreigners is at 190,000 IDR.
Tour Guide isn’t free. So we got the services of Maki, who’s also from the office of the Borobudur National Park. I just forgot how much but we shared the fee among four of us including the Belgians, Ohelie and Junio.
After paying the fees, Maki handed out the Indonesian traditional cloth, batik that we should wrap around our waists. It’s their way of showing their culture and also as a sign of respect since we’re entering a temple, considered as a sacred place.
Maki began telling us that the Borobudur Temple has been built in the 8th century. What’s more interesting to note, it took Indonesians 80 years to build the temple made of volcanic stones called endesite. The stones were believed to have come from Mt. Merapi, one of the most active volcanoes in Indonesia. It’s just 27 kilometers from where the temple is.
We entered the temple in the east entrance. Maki said that Buddhists pray and meditate by walking in the temple in a clockwise direction.
Stone carvings of Buddha’s story of reincarnation can be seen on the walls of the temple. Imagine, he underwent 500 reincarnations?! The carvings were so intricate showing the artistry of the ancient times.
The first and second levels of the temple showed stories about desire while the last level is about reaching nirvana, the highest state. According to Maki, there are 504 buddhas in the temple but only 200 has complete heads while the others were stolen.
From the highest point in Borobudur, we saw other tourists waiting for the sunset. From that viewpoint, Mt. Merapi and Mt. Merbabu can be seen.
While waiting for the sunset, it was fun to watch and observe other people. Teenage locals were fond of the Caucasians. The Caucasians were like celebrities as the locals had their photographs taken with the Caucasian tourists. Indonesians and Filipinos were similar in this aspect. I was reminded of some teenage Filipinos back home who also act the same when they see their idols.
As the sun begins to set, I imitated the hand sign called abaya mudra. It meant, “Don’t be afraid.”
- Due to lack of time, we went to Borobudur for the sunset but they said that it’s better to go there during sunrise.
- Read more about Borobudur here: http://www.borobudurpark.com/temple/borobudurTemple
- Rate for driver and vehicle: 70,000 IDR
Read the Southeast Asia Series:
- The 57-hour Challenge: Why I only had 57 hours
- CLARK: The challenge starts here
- 17 hours in KL
- Transit to Yogyakarta
- Walk and Shoot in Candi Prambanan
- Finding Setia Kawan Losmen- Accommodation in Jogja