Standing tall amidst the tropical greens of central Java, Candi Borobudur is not only a religious place, but also an architectural marvel!
Travelling has been on the back-burner for quite a while ever since baby L arrived. However, the travel bug hasn’t really stopped nagging us. Hence a short trip to Yogyakarta or more popularly known as Jogja was planned during the Chinese New Year holiday. For one it was a much needed break and secondly it was to review where we stand in terms of traveling with a baby. The latter can be a full blown write-up in itself that I shall shelve for now.
From Jogja to Borobudur
Jogja came into prominence when two historic temple sites – Prambanan and Borobudur were declared world heritage sites by UNESCO. Today, the city is thronged by many tourists to visit them.
Borobudur was built in the 9 century and is the world’s largest Buddhist Temple – located in the precincts of Magelang in Central Java – a good 1+ hour drive from Jogja city. The best time to visit the temple is early morning for its picturesque and famed sunrise. We didn’t opt for it for obvious reasons – nobody wakes up a sleeping baby that early. Hence a not so exciting mid-morning was chosen for our trip.
Upon reaching, we were escorted to the entrance by our driver, who advised us to be wary of pickpocketing, looking at the huge number of turnouts that day – well it was a weekend plus a public holiday! But thankfully, the temple has two separate entrances for locals and foreigners – which made it easier for us as the local queue was pretty long.
It’s about a 10 minute walk to the base of the temple from the entrance. The temple complex is pretty huge and I was pleasantly surprised how well maintained it was, especially its long stretches of well-manicured lawns. As we walked down the main pathway – we could get the first glimpses of the famed Borobudur. It’s huge and magnificent – just like I had imagined.
Grandeur of a Forgotten Era
Borobudur is built on nine stacked platforms – six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. It is an easy climb to the top. The central dome atop the temple along with its 72 Buddha statues – each seated inside a perforated stupa – is a sight to be etched in memory. Apparently, the temple boasts of 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. It’s awe-inspiring how this ancient structure has stood the test of time – wonder if any of our modern structures will live that long for later generations to witness.
It’s amazing how this structure this size was made in that age and time – when little technology and tools were available. It’s also incredible how this huge temple complex was hidden in the jungles for so many centuries! Borobudur, for the uninitiated, was only discovered in the last century and has been restored by the Indonesian government and UNESCO and later declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site!
Borobudur was the reason we went to Jogja – and it truly lived up to be a highlight of our trip! I would someday love to come back to experience the sunrise here – maybe with Baby L –when she is no longer a baby.
With that I sign off now. As always here are some of the tips before planning a trip to Borobudur!
- Carry plenty of sunscreen, light clothes, umbrellas and hats as the place has not shades. It is an open temple.
- Wear comfortable shoes.
- Carry water. Although the entrance ticket gives you complimentary water/ tea/ coffee.
- Try to avoid wearing short clothes as they are not allowed inside the temple compound. However, if you happen to wear short clothes, they will give you a complimentary sarong at the entrance.
- Purchase a combine Borobudur and Prambanan ticket as it is cost effective. However you need to use the combined ticket within 2 days. The cost of one combined ticket is USD 32. Children below 5 years are admitted free.
- Avoid Public Holidays and Weekends to escape huge crowds.
- Follow signage, when climbing the temple as we lost our way a few times.
- You can join a tour group as it is cheaper but not flexible. Alternatively you can hire a car with a driver and you can spend the day at your own pace. A car with a driver costs about IDR 450,000 for the entire day including fuel and driver charges. You pay extra for parking and tolls.
- Stay away from people hard selling souvenirs, hats and other knick-knacks around the temple.
- Be prepared to walk through alleys of shops once you exit. The walk from the exit to the parking is really long and it’s like a maze.