Borobudur, a Buddhist temple built a bit more than a millenia ago in central Java near Yogyakarta, is a UNESCO world heritage site and a massive tourist attraction, so of course I had to go take a look.
Much like Prambanan, Borobudur was forgotten and “lost” from records a couple of centuries after it was built, and remained hidden in the jungle growth for centuries, until it was re-discovered along with Prambanan by an explorer commissioned by Sir Raffles (is there anything he can’t do?). And now, like Prambanan, archaeologists are working to restore the temple.
You’re not supposed to just climb directly up to the top of Borobudur. Instead, you’re supposed to climb up one level, walk around the structure clockwise, climb up another level, and repeat until you reach the top. I have no idea why you’re supposed to do so, but the signs the site said so. Unfortunately, the signs explaining why you’re supposed to do so, were not translated into English. In total, it was a good 5km walk.
Inscribed on the walls of are all these murals:
The views from the lower levels is pretty good, since Borobudur is surrounded by forests and mountains. The sunrise view is supposedly amazing, but I couldn’t bring myself to wake up yet again at 3am for yet another sunrise tour.
Once you get to the top, you see… bells. Bell-shaped stupas. One giant bell-shaped stupa, surrounded by lots of smaller stupas:
The view from the top is pretty amazing. It must be absolutely epic in the sunrise: