Andrew and I travel around together frequently, and I might have infected him with my ‘temple bug’. For those people who know me, you know I am a sucker for temples. Don’t mind whether they are Hindu, Egyptian, Mayan, Buddhist…I LOVE THEM ALL!!
So I convinced him we had to go to the magnificent Borobudur temple, located on the island of Java, Indonesia. This temple is the world’s largest Buddhist monument, an ancient site considered to be one of the seven world wonders. I sure think it is! The UNESCO World Heritage site sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green rice paddy fields and distant hills and active volcanoes.
Let me give you a little history lesson - the Borobudur was built in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, the design of the temple, in Gupta architecture, reflects India's influence – at the same time there are enough indigenous scenes and elements included to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. It covers a huge area, measuring 123 x 123 meters. The monument itself is a sight for sore eyes, decorated with stone carvings in bas-relief representing images from the life of Buddha. The architecture and stonework of this temple has no competition. It was built without using any kind of cement or mortar! It looks like interlocking Lego blocks.
The best way to explore this site is just walk. As you climb to the top of this magnificent temple you will marvel at the detailed stone carvings displayed on the walls. Walk in clockwise direction and gradually ascend, leading towards the centre and most elevated stupa. We visited the temple during sun rise and sunset as well and for me the sunset was the most spectacular. Especially because it was only 6 of us. Sunrise was too busy in my opinion and not as impressive. Words truly can’t describe this place … mysterious, magical, spiritual, they all come to mind.
We were there during Vesak Day. Vesak celebrates the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha. Also known as Waisak Day, it attracts a large congregation of Buddhist pilgrims and curious travellers who’ve come to witness its sacred proceedings. The highlight was the release of thousands of lanterns into the night sky. Goose bumps, chills and shivers!
If you do decide to visit Borobudur, try to splurge on your accommodation and stay at Amanjiwo. Amanjiwo (peaceful soul) overlooks Borobudur and provides spectacular views.
It was soooooo worth the splurge and time spend. It is amazing in every way!