On my last trip to Indonesia I was lucky enough to visit so many interesting places, as my trip has been organized by the Indonesian Embassy in Athens. I felt pretty secure concerning the locations and the points of interest, as I knew I would get to know new places and places pretty pure, not the touristy ones (only).
While the touristy areas of Bali is a safe choice for most people, we decided they are is so much to explore so Java came first on the list. This seemed like a great opportunity to see a new place!
My favourite part of this Java trip was exploring the cities of Yogyakarta and Megelang.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT YOGYAKARTA
The nation-state of Indonesia is the world’s largest island country with more than 17,000 officially listed islands within the territory. One of those islands is Java, the world’s most populous island, as it’s home to more than half of the country’s population – more than 145 million people – 56.7% of Indonesia’s population.
The capital city of Java island is Jakarta, which is the second-most populous urban area in the world. Although Jakarta is Java’s financial and industrial powerhouse, Yogyakarta is its soul. As the only Indonesian royal city still ruled by a monarchy, Yogyakarta is regarded as an important center of classical folk arts and culture, such as ballet, batik, textile, drama, literature, music, visual arts, poetry, wayang puppetry, silversmithing and fine arts.
Yogyakarta is the Java’s artistic and intellectual heritage center, where the arts and traditions shine bright and it maintains the artistic and spiritual heritage of the island alive. Furthermore, the city perfectly manages to preserve visible the arts and traditions of the Indonesian culture.
The city has its own international airport so it can easily be reached by other cities in Indonesia or Asia, so Yogyakarta should definitely be on your list for your next trip to Indonesia! From there, you can reach the city of Megelang only in one hour from Yogyakarta. Like that, you can combine those two cities together in one visit.
SUNRISE AT BOROBUDUR TEMPLE IN MEGELANG
Borobudur Temple is a 9th century Buddhist temple and is the first and most important reason to visit the city of Megelang. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple as well as one of the most important Buddhist monuments in the world. It has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and it is considered as one of the wonders of the world.
If you follow me on INSTAGRAM you have probably seen that I had to wake up at 02:30 in the morning in order to visit the temple just in time for a perfect sunrise. I arrived at Borobudur at 4:00 in the morning with a local guide and all the necessary equipment, just to enjoy the sunrise from the highest point of the temple.
Enjoying the sunrise from the Borobudur Temple was one of the most powerful experiences of my life.
You can see all the videos from Borobudur at HIGHLIGHT INDONESIA on my Instagram account.
The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. Climbing up those nine levels, will give you the breath-taking view from the top! The pilgrim journey begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument, ascending to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology: Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rūpadhātu (the world of forms) and Arūpadhātu (the world of formlessness).
The temple is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. Such a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by those statues!
From the lower level to the top, the Buddha Statues depict him in six different postures: meditation, courage, teaching and learning, rotating the Dharma wheel, contacting the earth and the posture of offering and helping.
A FEW THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE VISITING BOROBUDUR
You can tour the temple on your own, however I would recommend booking a local guide who will give you all necessary information concerning the history of the temple. If you book a guided tour in advance, the entrance ticket will already be included in the cost. But you can also get your ticket at the temple entrance.
The monument is visited by thousands of tourists every week and it is important to be well prepared: arriving on time, climbing to the top safely, respecting the serenity during sunrise and, most importantly, educating yourself in advance about the temple and it’s importance.
As in any place with a religious influence, I would recommend to be properly dressed. It is extremely important to respect the local culture, morals, customs and religious traditions. It is one of the most important Buddhist temples in the world, so respect is necessary.
After the tour, you can stroll around the monument and have breakfast or lunch at the local restaurant. Local flavors and Indonesian coffee are served, overlooking the Borobudur Temple!
Trust me, the Sunrise at Borobudur will be a highly memorable experience in your life!
Disclaimer: I would like to thank the Indonesian Embassy in Athens for inviting me to explore wonderful Indonesia and meet in person the treasures of this land! All opinions are personal.
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