The city of Yogyakarta or Jogjakarta is very rich in history and culture. It was once a melting pot and the center of Buddhism. It is evident in the ruins of the great civilization that was once existed in this city. In particular, temple of Borobudur is one of the proofs that a great civilization flourished in this place. It is the single biggest Buddhist structure in the whole world at the same time it is a UNESCO heritage site.
It is a colossal monument, a nine-tier, with four stairways on each side that lead to the top. It has an area of 15, 129 square meters, 42 meters high and consist of 72 stupas.
I decided to do a DIY Borobudur trip because I want to experience public transportation and interact with the local.
From your hotel, go to the nearest transjogja bus stop. Then, tell the driver you are going to Borobudur via Jombor. All buses go to the Jombor bus station. After all, the Transjogja is reliable transportation in Jogjakarta.
From Jombor bus station, take the bus going to the Borobudur temple.
Get off at the Magelang bus station. From the station, you can walk to the entrance of the complex around 1 km. Another choice is a rickshaw or a horse carriage that will bring you to the biggest Buddhist temple in a single structure..
Upon arrival, I noticed that the entrance for local and foreigner is different. They are very strict with this, they will ask for your passport and IC card for locals. As a tourist, I proceeded to the international entrance. I bought a combo ticket ( Borobudur and Prambanan) which cost 40 USD. If you bought it separately, it cost 25 USD each. The sunrise price is different and as of this writing, the price for the sunrise via Manohara Resort is 450,000 IDR.
Drone is strictly prohibited in the Borobudur complex. You will pass a security check, and check your bag for a drone.
After the security check, I follow the sign going to the temple. I availed the shuttle service which cost 7000 IDR (including water) they will bring you to the foot of the temple.
After a five-minute ride, this is the moment of truth. I can now witness the grandeur of this temple.
Upon the entering the temple’s entrance, I was told to wear a sarong because I wore shorts. The lady assisted me, she wrapped around the sarong and tied it.
It was a weekend when I visited the temple, as a result, the temple was packed with people. It is very crowded. A lot of students from far areas visited the place on weekend. It is not advisable to visit on weekend.
At first sight, the temple has a pyramid base and it looks like a honeycomb because of the stupas.
Let me give you the highlight of this temple.
The main temple is a stupa built in three tiers around a hill which were a natural centre: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,520 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.
The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology. It is believed that the universe is divided into three superimposing spheres, kamadhatu, rupadhatu, and arupadhatu, representing respectively the sphere of desires where we are bound to our desires, the sphere of forms where we abandon our desires but are still bound to name and form, and the sphere of formlessness where there is no longer either name or form.
At Borobudur Temple, the kamadhatu is represented by the base, the rupadhatu by the five square terraces, and the arupadhatu by the three circular platforms as well as the big stupa. The whole structure shows a unique blending of the very central ideas of ancestor worship, related to the idea of a terraced mountain, combined with the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana. (www.wh.unesco.org)
The temple is really impressive, what stands out in my mind is the amount of artwork that is carved on the walls. The artwork is startling, it is very spectacular. While walking around the temple, I keep on asking myself, how the people those times, created this masterpiece without sophisticated tools.
Truly, Borobudur is a masterpiece of the ancient civilization.
After a couple of hours, I went down and walked to the exit gate. The way to the exit is filled with souvenir shops. I walked my way to the bus terminal to catch the bus going back to the Jombor bus station. I really planned to visit the Prambanan temple but the weather was not cooperative. I do not want to waste my 20 USD entrance fee.
I have decided to visit Prambanan the following day. Anyway, the ticket is valid for 2 days (maximum).