A Visit to World’s Largest Buddhist Temple – Borobudur
Do you know world’s largest Buddhist Temple complex? If you know, it’s great and if you do not know then its fine because I also got to know six months before I visited it.
Borobudur Temple, located on the Island of Java in Indonesia is the world’s biggest Buddhist temple complex. It is declared a UNESCO World heritage site. The temple sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green fields and distant hills. It was built in the 9th century during the reign of the Shailendra dynasty. The temple’s design is inspired by Gupta style of architecture that reflects India’s influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. The monument is a marvel of design, decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The temple is decorated with stone carvings in bas-relief representing images from the life of Buddha.
The moment I saw the pictures of Borobudur Temple I made up my mind that I have to visit this masterpiece. I read enough information about it and few months later booked my much anticipated trip to world’s most populous Island – Java.
Now let me take you through virtual journey to this beautiful Island.
Day 01: I arrived at Adisutjipto International Airport in Yogyakarta in the afternoon. During my landing I could see full on green landscapes and plantations all around Airport which reminded me of my days in Carnicobar Island.
On arrival, I was met by my driver Agus who was a cheerful person and welcomed me with a big smile on his face. Soon after I realized he cannot speak English but that was no barrier between our communication and understanding.
Later we drove straight to Prambanan Temple for the afternoon sightseeing. Prambanan Temple is a UNESCO world heritage site and the largest Hindu temple in the world. On arrival in parking I bought the entrance ticket and met two young student girls who were volunteering free guiding to tourists. They were studying tourism in their college and were fluent in English. This really impressed me and without any second thought I agreed to the complimentary tour of site. They gave me a great insight into history and facts of the massive temple and how peacefully Hinduism, Buddhism & Islam religions coexist in Indonesia.
Prambanan Temple is a place of religious and archaeological significance. Built in the 10th century, this is the largest Hindu temple compound in Indonesia. Rising above the centre of the last of these concentric squares are three temples decorated with reliefs illustrating the epic of the Ramayana, dedicated to the three great Hindu divinities (Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma).
After finishing the tour I said goodbye to young students and wished them best of luck in tourism industry. Then we drove to city centre and now it was time to check in to my boutique Hotel called Delta Homestay. The property was clean, hygienic and comfortable which had a small yet cool swimming pool. I made sure to relax and swim in it for 30 minutes before having dinner and rest.
Day 02: Today I woke up at 0330 hrs for an early morning drive to see sunrise over Mount Merapi. After getting ready I departed with my driver Agus in the dark and we reached to the viewing point around 0530 hrs. As the sun rose behind the volcanoes the sky turned completely yellow & red. This was truly a magical experience.
Later I took a stroll around the nearby village to meet locals and visit their wooden & Bambo houses.
Then it was time to drive to much awaited Borobudur Temple through plantations and breathtaking countryside.
I arrived in parking before 0800 hrs with full on excitement and passion to see the largest temple. It was a pleasant early morning perfect to climb the steps and reach to the top tier of the temple. I was totally mesmerized by the sheer beauty of this temple; its architecture, stone carving, relief panels, numerous bell shaped Stupas with Buddha statues inside it and natural surroundings. The vistas from the top were quite overwhelming and unique in itself. The temple was overlooking green fields and surrounded by volcanoes. This was truly the best architectural and religious wonder I had ever seen in my life. I was told by locals that the stones used to build this temple were brought from the Riverbanks and I wondered how the hell people brought such heavy stones to the hilltop 1200 years ago. This was certainly an engineering marvel.
I made sure to took hundreds of photos and spend time in calmness admiring the beauty of it. After 02 hours I decided to leave the place and next on my list was to visit Mount Merapi as close as possible. I went to foot of the mount Merapi on a rented bike and this was an unexpected plan that I truly enjoyed. Although I was little unlucky as clouds hovered over Mount Merapi and the view were not clear still I was fulfilled with the whole experience.
Later in the afternoon I returned to my Hotel for some rest.
In the evening I explored the surroundings on a rickshaw ride. The roadside were full of shops, restaurants, bars, boutiques and Hotels. I was taken aback with the level charm and ambience of the town and wish I could spend some more time here. I also bought souvenirs and bags for memories.
Day 03: This early morning I said goodbye to my driver Agus & Java Island and took flight to Singapore. I want to honestly confess that till date Indonesia is my second favorite place to travel after India.
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