Borobudur

Borobudur Sunrise
Watching the temple unfold around us as the sun rose

During my travels with Doug, we always seem to have a theme. In Argentina, it was the animals, Croatia was full of sunsets, and I think for Indonesia it will be about the sunrises. We woke up at 3am for our trip to Borobudur, one of the largest Buddhist temples in the world. We took a private car and driver from our hotel and drove about 45 minutes to the Manohara hotel, the access point for sunrise tours. We waited in the pitch dark until about 4:30am, had a confusing experience where we thought we’d have a guide but really ended up having a person just unlock the gates for us, and then were left to our own devices to explore, with only a flashlight. We followed a group up a steep flight of steps 8 levels up to the top of the temple, where the first rays of sunlight began to illuminate our surroundings at around 5am. Unfortunately, our spiritual sunrise experience was shared with about 30 other people, so it was oftentimes hard to get a good shot, but really cool to witness nonetheless. Once the sun had completely come up, we wandered through the temple, reading about its history and symbolism. It was hard to figure out how to get a guide, but we finally found one to hire. He was an interesting fellow – decent English and liked to borrow some western culture to bring his tour to life, with attempts to dance like Michael Jackson and “don’t worry be happy” all while laughing at his own jokes. It was interesting getting his interpretation of the various mural reliefs of Buddhist/Hindu teachings, every level rising to the top a “graduation” in one’s maturity of the teachings, through the first 6 levels and culminating in the 3 top terraces with Buddhas enclosed inside each stupa. We learned that the number 8 was important, with the number of stupas per level being a multiple of 8, and that there were 7 different positions of Buddha (harmony, wisdom, “don’t worry be happy” among the few we recalled), and that the temple incorporated many aspects of the 3 gods of Hinduism (Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva). At the top, our guide read our fortune by asking us our favorite number and looking at our palms and fists. Apparently I am not friendly but have a “high focus,” while Doug is friendly and not romantic. Ha. I guess there is some truth to that matter. The ticket included breakfast, so we relaxed with some banana fritters and banana cake with a great view of the temple before meeting our driver to head back.

Doug Sarong
Doug showing off his latest fashion find, as we await our sunrise entrance
Borobudur Night
We only had our flashlights to explore the temple with for our first hour
Borobudur Pre-Dawn
Early rays of sun gave us a sneak peek
Chilling Atop Borobudur
Making ourselves right at home
Buddha
Buddha on one of the top terraces
Borobudur Base
Base of the temple
Outside temple
Outside Borobudur, sun in full force

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