The aura of Borobudur

The nice part about Souvik’s touring job is that I have an opportunity to tag along, and do my own thing while he works. Last week it was Yogyakarta, where I chilled out at Dusun Jogja Village Inn, interspersed with some unsatisfying shopping, but the highlight of that trip was the sunrise visit to Borobudur. We had friends, Jaya & Prabha, in a conference at Jogja, and the Delhi girls were dragged out of their hostel at an unearthly hour of 3.30 am on an hour-long drive to Borobudur. Ever since we moved to Vietnam, we were keen on visiting Borobudur, but after the tour of Angkor, we were quite ‘templed out’, and put Borobudur on a back burner, until now.

So here we were, driving up to Manohara Hotel for the sunrise tour, all of us having to drape ‘sarongs’ over our regular clothes as appropriate temple wear. The cloud cover didn’t deter us, especially as the moon was clearly visible.

The sun took its time to peek out from above a cloud, though when it did it was worth the wait. The gradual ‘unveiling’ of the monument as the sun came out gave us a huge spiritual fix, but we were brought down to earth with a thud when one unimpressed lady remarked that she could see the sunrise from her window everyday, and what was the big deal. UGH.

Before long, the daytime tourists started to arrive, and there was some jarring jazz music to be heard unnecessarily, but nothing detracted from the grandeur that was Borobudur. From the bottom, looking up, you can hardly tell what sort of structure to expect, so after the short climb to the top, when you spot the bell-shaped ‘stupas’, it is an absolute WOW moment.

 

 

 

 

We material girls did our best monk-like serene smiles:

Comparisons with Angkor were inevitable after this visit. While Angkor dazzles by its sheer size, I have to say that Borobudur, though just a single structure, is a shade more elegant.

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