We left for our holidays with trepidation on Saturday morning, very early. I had started to feel sick on Friday afternoon and we were a bit concerned that the whole holiday of climbing and exploring a few of the good temples around Yogyakarta would be unachievable while trying to keep my stomach contents down. Luckily by the time we arrived, Otto and I had a nap and were feeling much better. Sadly the same couldn't be said for Han who needed the afternoon in bed. After that disastrous start things could only get better, and they did.
Sunday we headed to Borobudur shrine, the largest Buddhist shrine in Indonesia. It was built between the 7th and 8th century and it actually isn't the shape of a temple but of a stupa. From what I could gather from our guide who spoke in heavily accented English was that the basic principle of Buddhism is the belief that everyone passes through a series of reincarnations. To be free from this cycle of life and death you need to understand the four pillars of truth. Some googling later and I found them.
- Life is misery
- The root of misery is lust and desire
- The elimination of misery is possible
- To avoid misery, one should observe the eight main paths (Hasta Arya Marga).
These themes were depicted on the walls (reliefs) on the lower levels of the temple.
I was so interested in this, a lot of the reliefs were covered over for protection from acid rain which while understandable was also disappointing. I was also struggling with the hordes of people that wouldn't leave us alone. I have touched on the photo taking here before, but it reached epic proportions this time. We were there with a lot of school trips and everyone wanted to touch or take a photo of Otto and I, which is fine up to a point. By the time the 20th person (no joke) interrupted us our friendly guide stepped in and created a shield which was nice but it was so strange to have people reaching over to touch Otto's face while he was on my back.
We continued to climb (hello gluteal muscles!) and reached the top of the shrine called the Stupa's. There were three layers of round plain bell like stupa's encircling the main Stupa which depicted the spiritual world.
There were small Buddhas placed within the small Stupa's and a few of them were left uncovered to show the public.
Inside the Borobudur shrine there are 504 Buddha statues in either sitting or standing positions, some of them have perished due to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions or lightening strikes.
I still find it amazing that the Stupa's of Borobudur have watched the sun rise and fall now for centuries, our guide said something that stuck with me, "The faithful witness of the eras". History is amazing!
It was a fun day for the whole family, once we got down from the shrine which was stinking hot, we walked around the grounds, which was so calm. Otto even got really lucky and was able to pat and have a ride on a horse which is his favourite new animal, we can't go anywhere without his miniature horse!
We also listened to some of the musicians play outside the museum.
Exhausted and hot we headed to the car and the air con which was a welcome relief, sadly Otto only thought to give us a 10 minute nap that day and we were glad of the great pool and grounds back at the hotel, having some R&R before tackling more of the sights the next day.