Jogja - Day 2 (Borobudur Temple)

There was one fine afternoon, as I was sitting alone enjoying the ample of time in my hands by the hostel’s balcony looking over different tourists with different accents and different features passing by, now a good friend who’s working in that hotel sat next to me and started chatting up with me about Sabah. As I was telling him all the ground info and rules he should know before coming over, I cut it short by asking him to pay us Sabahans a visit and he shyly nodded.

The main reason why I cut him short on Sabah was because I wanted to continue our conversation on his beautiful home Jogja instead. I was ready with all my question, a little too inquisitive that way. The information from this paragraph is derived purely from our conversation so please forgive any misinterpretations. He told me that Buddhism and Hinduism were the oldest “religions” in Indonesia, mainly populating in Central Java of Indonesia. As the years passed by, where Arabic traders wheezed through all sorts of openings from Malaya even, most of the natives in Central Java have converted to Muslims, by marriage, by culture, for work and the list goes on. Slowly but surely, Islam became the main religion.  Having been the secondary religions in Central Java after the migration of the Muslims, the Buddhists and the Hindus finally migrated to… Bali. Being one of the oldest Buddhism-Hinduism dynasty in Central Java, they have built numerous temples around and Borobudur is just one out of many.

The Buddhist migration from Jogja to Bali 
Picture source:

This might sound super shallow, but I discovered the wonders that is Borobudur from my favourite reality TV show, The Amazing Race Asia. I was having dinner with mum while watching it last year and their next destination was "Borobudur". Watched the whole show in curiosity,  waiting to discover what this foreign place called "Borobudur" is - only to have my heart stolen away by the enchanting temple by the end of the show. It was so... mesmerizing, like magical! I was completely bought over, then and there I decided that I must visit this mystical temple next year (2013). And guess what folks, I did! :)  

Borobudur Temple
According to Borobudur Park (2012), Borobudur Temple was built by the Sailendra dynasty an influential Indonesian dynasty that emerged between 750 and 842 AD and a strong promoter of Buddhism in the 9th Century in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. They were apprehended to be the influential race at the moment. That basically means in terms of world wide religious structures, Borobudur was probably one of the oldest temple or religious temple in the world, built some 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat was even constructed, and even 400 years before papers were even working on the great European cathedral during the reign of one of the Salendra's kings. 

Actually, Fatah told us a rather a sad story about his family on Borobudur as he was growing up. Decades back before a whole lot of restructuring, all arounds Borobudur were actually houses, villages to be specific. His family's house was one of them. Government decided to compensate the locals with lands and job opportunities in exchange of their lands to build a massive park around Borobudur eventually coining it as a tourist landmark.

The villagers fought hard for their lands. They refused to budge for years and years, until I was told that the government took the matters a little more sternly by cutting off some of the basic necessities of the village.

Upon this on them, the villagers felt defenseless and eventually give in.

It was told that there were also carvings on the base of this temple but it was covered probably due to to its erotic messages
Borobudur Temple is about 40 - 45 minutes away from the city (from Sosrowijayan Wetan; where I stayed) which is why everyone would recommend you to take a tour package (like Mt. Kinabalu, or Perhentian for example). Most tour packages for Borobudur start from 5AM so I was awake and ready by about 4.30AM already (thank heavens for the early night before), and I went through my own hostel for the tour package.

It is situated at Magelang, northeast most of Yogyakarta after passing by numerous paddy fields along the way. The journey to Magelang / Borobudur itself is simply breathtaking let alone heading to Borobudur. Some people like to take their own sweet time at Borobudur, if you like, just let the tour guide know of your intentions and expect to look for your own transportation going back to the city (or wherever you're staying).

Like others, I got my Borobudur package inclusive of transportation (70, 000RP), entrance fee (170, 000) and tour guide (100, 000 shared by 6) all arranged the day before and on that day itself. which in total cost me about MYR 79.00. I figured it was still really cheap, so I had no issues paying most of it.

Before entering Borobudur they would usually ask you whether you'd like to have a tour guide. I was quite hesitant at first but after knowing that I could share it with 5 other people for just 100, 000 (MYR 31.00)  I immediately jumped in to it. Slowly, the rest agreed to. And he was right, without the guide, the temple would probably just look like any other stones. I was really glad we asked ours (Fatah), because he has to be the most educated, most humble guide I've ever met and his description of some of the carvings were amazing. I was beyond humbled.

I remembered tweeting about the stupas (a sanskrit word), and these are basically what stupas are in case you're wondering what holes I was talking about. Their bell-like resemblance is a representation of a spiritual tradition, from balance to action and right up to nirvana; a state in your life that you are content with life that you no longer long for any worldly desires as I have learned from Fatah.

"We are like stupas. The holes are like our desires. We think life is complete when we finally have all our desires. But we will always have desires, and that means we will always have these voids to fill in us. Try and eliminate our worldly desires, expectations." - Fatah, Jogja. 
The legendary Borobudur icon
Just recently too, Borobudur imposed a rule that all visitors must wear this Sarong. Initially to cover up those who wear anything above knee length out of respect and humility, now began a tradition which I think is excellent, sometimes I figured the modern society is lack of tradition which I don't blame anyone really, some just like to stay afloat with modernism.

Fatah told us about some of the prominent stories on Borobudur so calmly and humbly. He was never rushing, neither was he ever uncertain, he seemed to know the beautiful temple like the back of his hand. How can he not, he used to stay just right behind the temple, having to play it as a hide and seek maze when he was a kid and even to have hid somewhere in it from his parents when he had done something wrong, Borobudur was literally his playground and was a place he hold so close to heart.

The glorious Borobudur Temple 

The reason why I was so humbled by the visit to Borobudur was because of the immaculate carvings. Not the regal temple as it is, probably could be seen from miles away, but because of the carvings, that were individually crafted into so many life lessons as humans that I believe I could spend the entire day or even more just paying Fatah to tell me exactly what each and every drawing meant. But I couldn't afford the time, so I did what a normal tourist would do. Followed him, expecting him to pick the best lessons of all and share it with us. But there were no best lessons of all, as they all build Borobodur as it is today, and how can I choose they were all so beautiful each and everytime Fatah told us of one, I am enlightened.

Carving 1 - 

I posted this on my timeline, but just in case you missed this out I'm posting it here again. This particular carving tells us the story of a beautiful tree. No one knew exactly what the tree was, not the humans not even the animals. But the fruits harvested from the tree were so tasty that all the monkeys and other animals and even all the humans loved it so much. In fact maybe a little too much. Decided to have the tree and its fruits all to themselves, the humans decided to attack and kill the monkeys and other animals to repel them away. 

As so it is when it comes to greedy humans. We ignore cosmic harmony, we assault on other vulnerable people or other creatures to have it all even if it’s not ours in the first place.

One by one the monkeys were attacked. The monkey leader was blessed with a gift. He was born with a really long tail. Rightfully, he used his tail to save his friends by bridging them with one tree to another to escape. He became very weary from saving each and everyone of his friends that by the end of it all, this sacrificial act has caused him to fall and die in the hands of the greedy humans while his friends flee and survived.

Like you and I, we are all gifted with a talent or even talents given by god, may it be in problem solving, helping people, articulating, drawing, calculating anything even when we don’t know it yet but we are gifted with something, a reason in this world; it is what differentiates between you and me – and these talents when rightfully used, will help a lot of people.

Sometimes the most inspiring friends are natural born leaders. They have best use so much of their talents in order to help others with or without realizing it, and it may be you.

Carving 2 - 

The second carving tells us of the traditional matrimonial custom, for Prince Sidharta. There were so many ladies who wanted to be Prince Sidharta's wife (hence the queue), upon the announcement that Sidharta was ready for marriage. I (Fatah) was told of two stories, of which I'd like to believe on the latter. The first story tells us that the last lady that came forth to Sidharta chosen to be his wife because every single lady that came forth was given a gift from Sidharta, and by the end of it all, Sidharta had nothing else but a family ring which was his mother's. Even the oldest custom tells us that once a young man gives a family ring to a lady, it means that he is ready for a marriage or that the lady is a very special person to him. 

The second story tells us that of all the ladies that came forth to Sidharta, all did not looked at Sidharta in the eyes, except for one. It was believed that all the other ladies had too many dark secrets and were not willing to come clean with them to Sidharta except for one who were the purest and because she was the most honest. She was perfect for Sidharta for marriage. 

Firstly, we all know that the eyes are the windows to our soul. This shows that if have always been genuine and kind in life, we will always be at peace and it will show in our day to day life even in our expression, in our eyes and in our body language. And if we haven't, we will always be inferior of (to) ourselves. Especially to the people that we are going to commit to, as we need to tell them who we really are, or who we were. - Fatah. 

After Borobudur, we had a stopover at Mendut Village also called the bamboo forest most usually packaged together with Borobudur, a village with beautiful temples also erected during the Sailendra's dynasty a kingdom by now you should know renown for their preach in Mahayana Buddhism, like churches or mosques for healing and prayers.

As you can see from the picture below, there were still some houses nearby so Mendut Villagers still enjoy a vast amount of beautiful lands and space.

Right next to Mendut Village was a beautiful garden; had a short visit around it looking at all these landscapes and architectures that I was sure I could not get to see back home again.

After Borobudur I decided to catch some sleep. After all, I could afford to (and holidays are amazing when you could afford some free time). Reached my hostel at about 10am and I crashed till just in time for lunch. This was Bistik Daging, I wasn't quite sure what it was but it came looking like this and I enjoyed it, and I think it might be as similar as mixed veggies with beef.

[Quite frankly, I'm really bad at taking photos of my food, not quite sure how I'd take and describe them and I don't usually do it but when I'm travelling, I make it a point to show at least some of the food that I had :)]

And right after, I decided to get some MASSAGE. Seems like almost wherever I go (especially countries with exotic massage offerings), I would spend some time on rest and relax and that includes some loosening up my muscles. Even though it was just my second day, I didn't want to lose out on massages should my other days get occupied much faster.

Right at the end of the Sosrowijayan Wetan street was this quaint little massage parlour that I sneaked in and ordered for a Jasmine Oil massage (I LOVE JASMINE OMG) for 2 hours, for MYR 52.00. It was really cheap so I was more than wiling to pay for it.

Whatever that drink was next to my bad it was the shiznit - tasted a bit like ginger
It was almost evening when I finished my leisure massage, so I decided to check on some local night market that was ongoing for a couple of days now just around the corner of Kraton. Hop myself on some local bike, paid the rider over and I scotch around the market looking at all the interesting things that were on sale. 

Ample of clothes
Indonesians are huge in Taufus

This is a strange companion / toy
It seemed like a typical night market, with its loosely chained ferris wheels, carnivale food, screaming kids and unique items on sale. Was there for about an hour or so and rode "becak" back and it took the guy less than 10 minutes to reach my destination. 

If you haven't known, becak is like a trishaw. It is not illegal in Indonesia (evidently) while they are in some parts of Malaysia. Very convenient in short distance journey and especially during the rain. 

After the night market I went to Malioboro Shopping Mall and twirl around the area to check out what their malls are like. Clean, decent and pretty much just like any other malls - I'll show you more later in my posts :) 

So that's all folks, talk to you soon on Day 3.


Jacqueline Rowena @ Jacqkie.


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