Borobudur – Yogyakarta

Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, yet its immense size is not detrimental to its ethereal presence. This ninth-century temple and UNESCO World Heritage Site boasts of 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. It has nine platforms, the lower six of which are square and the remaining three are circular. It is made of andesite stones, some of which are adorned with very detailed bas reliefs.

Virg and I signed up for a trip called “Borobudur Exotic Sunrise at Setumbu Hill and Prambanan” the night before. A very big vehicle courtesy of Kresna Tourist Service picked us up at 330am at The Wayang Homestay (I woke up at 210am). We picked up our six companions for this very early trip, even with nine people (including the driver), we were very comfortable. I slept through the entire 1.5 hour trip. I woke up when we stopped at the foot of Setumbu Hill, gathered my wits and hiked to the top of the hill to watch the sun rise over Borobudur. I am not the most physically-fit person, and with a bottle of water, DLSR camera, bread, Thai skirt and other feminine stuff inside my bag, I was gasping for air halfway through the hike. It was by no means a difficult climb. I just had more than enough nasi goreng in Bali.

We arrived at the top at 515am, and stared at a distance where my eyes had a hard time adjusting to the vastness of clouds that covered the area where Borobudur was supposedly located.

Borobudur Exotic Sunrise at Setumbu Hill. The clump of dark matter on the left side of the photo is Borobudur. In reality, it was a nice view, I was not able to capture it on film.

Borobudur Exotic Sunrise at Setumbu Hill. The clump of dark matter on the right side of the photo is Borobudur. In reality, it was a nice view; I was not able to capture it on film.ย 

After 30 minutes, the clouds were still hovering over the general area of Borobudur. By this time, we had several attempts at taking a decent photo, so we decided to trek back to the car to proceed to Borobudur itself.

The road up Setumbu Hill

The road up Setumbu Hill. Photos were taken on the way down. It was too dark to see what we were stepping on on the way up.

This house is at the foot of Setumbu Hill, across the house where visitors pay the entrance ticket.

This house is at the foot of Setumbu Hill, across the other house where visitors pay the entrance ticket.

Within five minutes of arriving in our car, our other companions arrived. We had an almost 60-minute drive to Borobudur. Of course, I slept again. We arrived in Borobudur a little before 7am and had breakfast: strawberry toast and tea.

Virg and I bought the tickets for Borobudur and Prambanan at Borobudur’s gates and got a huge discount. Instead of paying IDR 250,000 (US $19.35) for Borobudur and an additional IDR 230,000 (US $17.80) for Prambanan or a total of IDR 480,000 (US $37.14), we paid only IDR 375,000 (US $29.02) for both temples. The staff of Wayang Homestay told us about this. ๐Ÿ™‚ Each ticket comes with a free 300-ml bottle of water, a cup of coffee or a cup of tea. I chose the first because it was too hot outside. They provided sarong for those who were not dressed appropriately.

Our driver gave us 1.5 hours to explore the area. It was far from being sufficient to go up and down the stairs of Borobudur and admire its magnificence so we walked faster. The area is well-kept; there was a cleaning crew on the grounds. The air was fresh and everything was green or gray.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site marker welcomes the visitors at Borobudur.

This UNESCO World Heritage Site marker welcomes the visitors at Borobudur.

Virg and I near the UNESCO World Heritage marker with the Borobudur temple in the background

Virg and I near the UNESCO World Heritage Site marker with Borobudur temple in the background

A vendor approached us and told us to go to the left side of the temple to take photos from a different angle and to capture Borobudur in almost its entirety, so we did. And he is correct. Thank you, kuya.

A clear view of Borobudur temple from the left side.

A clear view of Borobudur temple from the left side.

Virg and I from the left side of Borobudur temple.

Virg and I from the left side of Borobudur temple.

After the vanity shots, we proceeded to the main road and made our way to the top of the nine-story temple. It looked daunting, but after my Angkor Wat experience, my fear of stairs has abated.

The front of Borobudur temple. It is intimidating.

The front of Borobudur temple. It looks intimidating.

Borobudur stupas from the upper levels

Borobudur stupas from the upper levels

Perforated stupas at Borobudur temple. The one in the middle is the largest stupa found in the ninth level of the temple.

Perforated stupas at Borobudur temple. The one in the middle is the main dome, found on the ninth level of the temple.

More perforated stupa. From the upper levels of Borobudur temple, the hills  and the verdant surrounding are visible.

More perforated stupas. From the upper levels of Borobudur temple, the hills and the verdant surroundings are visible.

Closer look at the perforated stupa

Closer look at the perforated stupa

How tall (or short) am I compared to the stupa?

How tall (or short) am I compared to the stupa?

Because one photo with the stupa is not enough.

Because one photo with the stupa is not enough.

Virg and the stupa

Virg and the stupa

View from the upper level of Borobudur temple

View from the upper level of Borobudur temple

View from the top of Borobudur temple

View from the top of Borobudur temple

Virg and I at the top of Borobudur temple

Virg and I at the top of Borobudur temple

Borobudur is a highly-detailed temple. Its hundreds of bas-reliefs showcase the flora and fauna in ancient Java region, scenes from daily life and images of people from all walks of life–from the powerful king to the lowly commoner. The designs that were made in situ (on site/premises) centuries ago are very much well-preserved.

Decorative archway at Borobudur temple

Decorative archway at Borobudur temple

Bas-reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Bas-reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Bas-reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Bas-reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Borobudur has hundreds of Buddha statues, one of them is pictured here.

Borobudur has hundreds of Buddha statues, one of them is pictured here.

A closer look at a Buddha statue

A closer look at a Buddha statue

The back of the head of a Buddha statue

The back of the head of an exposed Buddha statue

Reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Reliefs on the walls of Borobudur temple

Gate guardian, found, where else but beside a gate

Gate guardian, found, where else but beside a gate

The view of Buddha statues and other details of Borobudur temple as seen from outside the temple

The view of Buddha statues and other details of Borobudur temple as seen from outside the temple

The view of Buddha statues and other details of Borobudur temple as seen from outside the temple

The view of Buddha statues and other details of Borobudur temple as seen from outside the temple. Some of the Buddhas are headless.

Panoramic view of the Borobudur temple

Panoramic view of the Borobudur temple

The road towards the main exit at Borobudur temple is filled with stalls and roaming vendors that sell overpriced items. Just keep on walking.

Some of the stalls that dot the road towards the exit of Borobudur temple

Some of the stalls that dot the road towards the exit of Borobudur temple

Some of the items found in the stalls

Some of the items found in the stalls

 

 

 

 

 

6 thoughts on “Borobudur – Yogyakarta

  1. ยฟComo estas? Walang kupas pa rin ang trademark pose ni Mama Rose… hahahaha.. ๐Ÿ˜€ Nagstop-over ba kyo sa Jakarta when you went to Yogya?

    1. ยกHola, Emee! Estoy bien, gracias. ยฟY tu? Juvy, my heir apparent, was not in the trip so I monopolized the Rose pose. ๐Ÿ™‚ We went to Jakarta after Yogyakarta. I will post additional entries about the rest of our trip in Yogyakarta and in Jakarta. Kumusta ang pag-aaral ng Chinese?

    1. Go na, Juvs. ๐Ÿ™‚ Understandably, Borobudur is Yogyakarta’s main attraction, but the place offers more than that. You will also enjoy its warm people who will smile back even though they do not understand you and will smile even wider when you try to act things out. ๐Ÿ™‚ The food in Yogyakarta is another thing I enjoyed. And its streets are alive but not as chaotic as Metro Manila.

    1. Yes, it is a sight to behold. ๐Ÿ™‚ One can visit it as the sun rises over it or as the sun sets. As I gazed at it, I thought how hard it must have been to construct it centuries ago without the technology that we have now. Eleanor Roosevelt must have thought of the builders when she said, “el mundo pertenece a las personas que creen en la belleza de sus sueรฑos“. – Ma-connect lang ang lesson sa Spanish. ๐Ÿ™‚

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