Explore the Mysteries of Borobudur,
Info : Explore the Mysteries of Borobudur
Borobudur, situated an hour north of the cultural hub of Yogyakarta is a must see during any holiday to Java. A Buddhist temple built sometime between AD750-850 by the rulers of the Sailendra dynasty, it is situated on a forested plateau surrounded by dramatic volcanic peaks, including the highly active Gunung Merapi. The temple itself was constructed using two million individual bits of stone that were wrapped around a small hill and the resulting structure has six square terraces that lead up to three circular terraces on top. The square terraces are covered by delicately sculptured reliefs representing the life of Buddha and the Buddhist belief in kharma and reincarnation. The top three terraces are covered by 72 individual stupas all with holes built into their stone casings that present a partial view of a single statue of Buddha within.
Shortly after construction the spread of Islam in Java pushed the Buddhists east and when, not long after, Gunung Merapi erupted and unleashed its full force in 1006, the temple was buried, forgotten and untouched until the early 19th century. A long and costly restoration followed and now fully restored to its former glory, Borobudur is rightly established as a UNESCO world heritage site. The structure, delicate reliefs and stunning surroundings make it an unquestionable rival to Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Bagan in Bhurma for the title of the finest ancient structure in South East Asia.
The best time to visit the temple is at sunrise, when you can climb to the top and sit in awe as the sun illuminates the temple, the volcanoes and the trees that are often shrouded in mist below. While the major attraction is the temple itself, the light that the rising sun brings to the stunning surroundings is worth the early wake up call in itself. This is particularly so when in July and August, the sun rises majestically from in between the two volcanic peaks that tower over the eastern horizon.
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Six great and amazingly different hotels - we would happily recommend any of them. We had three excellent guides as well. And we lost track of the number of "Wow" moments. In addition to the obvious, including Paramban, Borobodur and Bromo, we would add our tour of the markets + rickshaw ride in Malang, and having coffee with Mr Rai at the Agung Rai Gallery in Bali. Our guide in Bali, Otok (?) was excellent at explaining local culture, and we left an offering at his family shrine.
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