When I was in school, Borobudur Temple was considered one of the 7 wonders of the world. Some say this ancient site is no longer in the new 7 wonders of the world’s list. As a child learning history of Southeast Asia back then, I was awed but never thought that one day, I would have the chance to walk this holy grounds.
I ran into “problems” countless times during this overseas outing but the kindness shown by those I travelled with made it a humbling and grateful experience. I would like to take the opportunity to say THANK YOU to everyone in this trip!
“Borobudur is built on a natural hill and is built as a single large stupa and, when viewed from above, takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind. The original foundation is a square, approximately 118 metres (387 ft) on each side. It has nine platforms, of which the lower six are square and the upper three are circular. The upper platform features seventy-two small stupas surrounding one large central stupa. Each stupa is bell-shaped and pierced by numerous decorative openings. Statues of the Buddha sit inside the pierced enclosures.” – Wikipedia
We arrived Borobudur compound at about 4.30am and spread out to “chope” (reserve) our locations in anticipation for and hopefully an epic sunrise to appear. I had trouble focusing in the dark. Those around came to my help. Later that afternoon, I hurt my knee. Everyone showed their care and concern – helping to carry my gears, holding me to lighten the weight off my leg and getting caught in the rain as I had to walk slowly because of the strain, offered oinment, bringing me to a clinic, etc… etc… Simple gestures but genuine kindness! I felt like I am traveling with family members. Indeed, these awesome unselfish bunch of people are my photography family, if not forever, at least for this trip!
One of the terrace walls showcasing bas-relief sculptures etched on the lower outer wall relating the history of the Sailendra dynasty.
“Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Borobudur attracted attention in 1885, when Yzerman, the Chairman of the Archaeological Society in Yogyakarta, made a discovery about the hidden foot. In 1885, a hidden structure under the base was accidentally discovered. The “hidden footing” contains reliefs, 160 of which are narratives describing the real Kāmadhātu. The remaining reliefs are panels with short inscriptions that apparently provide instructions for the sculptors, illustrating the scenes to be carved. The real base is hidden by an encasement base, the purpose of which remains a mystery. It was first thought that the real base had to be covered to prevent a disastrous subsidence of the monument into the hill. There is another theory that the encasement base was added because the original hidden footing was incorrectly designed, according to Vastu Shastra, the Indian ancient book about architecture and town planning. Regardless of why it was commissioned, the encasement base was built with detailed and meticulous design and with aesthetic and religious consideration.” – Wikipedia
The whole trip was plagued with bad weather but our spirits were not dampened! We had a great time eating, shooting and mingling.
Happy traveling and bonding 😀
Date of visit: 7th March 2015 (second day of trip)
Read detailed information of Borobudur here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borobudur