Let’s say that you haven’t visited Yogyakarta if you haven’t been to one of its most attracting spot, the Borobudur Temple, which is also one of the UNESCO world heritage for your information. This majestic temple was a Buddhist temple build more than 1000 years ago. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. On the walls carved relics of stories which I’ll tell you later in this writing.
So! You need to put more efforts to visit this temple. From the city of Yogyakarta, take the trans Jogja bus and go to the last terminal. From there take another bus that shall take you to Magelang regency, the closest place to Borobudur temple. From the bus terminal in Magelang, it’s still quite far to reach Borobudur. In the surrounding areas there are other small temples to visit, so if you are up to look around, hop in to one of the Delman (a horse carriage) and hire them to take you around.
I used to pay around 5 USD (2010) for the ride. With that amount, the driver took us to Pawon Temple and Mendut Temple before taking us to Borobudur Temple which is quite far from one another. All three temples are Buddist temple and located in one straight line. It said that people visit Mendut, Pawon and then Borobudur last.
Mendut Temple was built around early ninth century AD, Mendut is the oldest of the three temples including Pawon and Borobudur.
The temple from the front
Inside the temple
Some carving on the wall
Pawon Temple was built around the 9th century as well. Pawon literally means “kitchen” in Javanese language. The connection to the word “dust” also suggests that this temple was probably built as a tomb or mortuary temple for a king. In the contemporary era during the full moon in May or June, Buddhists in Indonesia observe Vesak annual ritual by walking from Mendut passing through Pawon and ends at Borobudur. Anyway, they held a lantern festival during Vesak celebration in Borobudur, so check the date and the event if you are up to see hundreds of lantern floating to the sky at night in Borobudur.
The temple was gorgeous! It was already noon when we were there and it was pretty hot. I suggest you to bring sunglasses or a hat to avoid heat stroke. There were many tourists local and international while we were there. There was a sign on how to enjoy the temple in the right way. Firstly, enter the compound from the east entrance. Proceed to the east gate of the temple and go up the stairs clockwise every level. After reaching to the top, go down through the west, south or north gate of the temple, and exit the temple from the north gate.
The monument of Borobudur is a model of the universe which was built as a holy place to respect Buddha as well as a pilgrim place to guide human from seculerism to the enlightment of the Buddist teaching. The pilgrims enter from the east side of the temple and start a ritual at the foot of the temple by walking around the temple clockwise, while proceeding to the top through 3 level of cosmology according to Buddist teaching. The 3 levels are Kamadhatu (the field of lust), Rupadhatu (the tangible field) and Arupadhatu (intangible field). During the pilgrimage, pilgrims walk through a series of tunnels and stairs to witness no less than 1460 panel of beautiful relief carved on the walls of the temple.
Illustration of Borobudur
The question is, did we do as suggested by the sign? Nope. We did it all wrong! We didn’t enter through the east gate and didn’t follow the instructions. In fact, we just found out about the sign after we finished sightseeing the temple as we please. I regreted it. But anyway we got to enjoy the gorgeous temple and its carvings.
On our way out from the compound, there were many peddlers selling souvenirs of Borobudur. Some of them offer their goods to us which we rejected politely. There were these miniature of Borobudur and other temples made of rocks that catch my eyes. The price was Rp 25.000 each (app. 2 USD). I thought to buy one as souvenir for myself but decided to buy it later at the end of the aisle of the souvenirs shops. However, as I walked to the end of the aisle, I noticed that the price of the souvenirs were going down without I have to bargain. The peddlers offer the souvenir to us and they lower the price themselves. In the end I couldn’t resist the tempation and ended up buying 10 set of the miniature since the price has gone as low as Rp 5.000 each (less than 50 cent) only to find out that other peddlers at the exit were selling it at the price of Rp 2.500 each. Geez! What’s the matter with these people!? I wonder how much the production cost was. Anyway, I also bought 10 pairs of shorts for Rp 5.000 each -_- What was I thinking!? I bought them just because the price was cheap and I thought I could give them away as souvenirs for my friends. But later I realized bringing 10 set of rocks and shorts in my backpack only bring me pain in the back. I barely able to put on my own backpack because of the weight of the rocks! Later that day, I had to exchange my backpack with my brother’s because I almost fall on my back while putting on my backpack due to the weight of the rocks!
Before dark, we started the trip back to Yogyakarta. On our way back to the hostel, we ate at an Angkringan (street vendors) in Malioboro streets (right after you pass Tugu Jogja to the busy Malioboro street) that sells Nasi Kucing (literally translated as “Cat’s rice” but it’s just rice in a very small portion and a little bit of side dish on top of it).
Coffee with charcoal
If you visit Yogyakarta, you MUST try to eat at an Angkringan. They sell various types of Nasi Kucing and its side dish at a very cheap price. And it tasted good as well! I and my brother only spend Rp 20.000 (app. 1,5 USD) for everything that we ate and drink there. As a Jakartan, I was impressed at how cheap they could sell good food and realized how expensive Jakarta was.
Tugu Jogja (our last view of the city)
After dinner, we went back to our hostel and pack our things and then proceed to the train station for our next destination : Malang! (npa)