Travelogue: Borobudur

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.
Borobudur - landscape portrait 2 Borobudur - stupas portrait

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.

Contrasted with Prambanan, which is a collection of buildings, Borobudur is one giant structure. Viewed from afar, it’s quite impressive.
Borobudur - landscape 1 landscape portrait 1

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:

Someone apparently enjoys beheading Buddha statues:
Borobudur - beheaded Buddha

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.
Borobudur - view from Borobudur 1 Borobudur - view from Borobudur 2

There’s a lot of stairs, but you eventually reach the top. One set of large Americans were huffing and puffing by the time they reached summit!
Boro budur - stairs 1 Boro budur - stairs 2

Once you get to the top, you see… bells. Bell-shaped stupas. One giant bell-shaped stupa, surrounded by lots of smaller stupas:

And inside each stupa, you have a Buddha! Kind of like those capsule toys.
Borobudur - stupa with Buddha

The view from the top is pretty amazing. It must be absolutely epic in the sunrise:

Light and darkness:
Borobudur - silhouette 1 Borobudur - silhouette 2

You can sort of see how Borobudur might be “lost” from records, like a Mayan temple lost in the forest:
Borobudur - lost from records 1 Borobudur - lost from records 2

Spare pieces (and yet-to-be-fit-in pieces) from the reconstruction.  Good luck figuring out where these pieces go!
Boro budur - reconstruction 1 Boro budur- reconstruction 2

Bits and bobs:
They’re making… maple syrup? pine oil? This is at the park near the site:
tree sap

There’s only one exit from Borobudur, and it exits into a solid kilometer of vendors trying to sell you souvenirs:
exit market

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