"Borobudur illustrates the patronage which the arts and sciences must have received, and the inexhaustible wealth and resources which the Javanese must have possessed at one time." Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles
Do you know that Sir Stamford Raffles, the founder of modern Singapore, is also credited for re-discovering Borobudur? This is a little known fact, even amongst Singaporeans. Well, way before he discovered Singapore in 1819, Raffles led an expedition to rediscover and restore Borobudur. Sadly prior to this, the glory of Java had faded, and no one could remember when or why Borobudur had been built....
Afternote: Borobudur wasn't the only ancient monument that Sir Raffles saved, he also stopped the demolition of an ancient fort in Melaka. Guess this chap was really into archaelogy and history..
Click open to an old English line drawing of "Boro Bodo".
"The natives have long ceased to respect the temples and idols of former worship though they still view the ruins with superstitious reverence."
(Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore and Governor of Java, 1814)
The construction of Borobodur started in 775AD under the great kings of the Sanjaya and the Sailendra dynasty. And like many great kings, they recruited thousands of their own native men to be builders and artists . Sadly, these native sods did not live to see the monument completed as the contruction took a long time and to make things doubly worse, Borobudur was abandoned shortly after it was completed. Yup, a combination of volcanic eruptions and political wars (the Sailendra dynasty was overthrown by the Hindus) led to its abandonement and like Angkor Wat , it was consumed by vegetation for a long time...
I don't know that you would call this a custom but when you buy your entrance ticket you can also pay extra to get a guide.
It is well worth the few extra ringgit.
In fact we lucked out and got two guides. One was in training and went along with us.
She was very helpful and held an umbrella over me most all the time.
They were honored that we wanted to take their picture.
You probably be approached by some students from the local university during your visit to borobudur. Just say hello to them. All they want is practice their English.
Do ask about the borobudur if you've any queries.
Your visit to the Borobudur might take long. Especially on a sunny day you will get thirsty. So grab a drink from outside at the stalls near the entrance or exit.
I did, on my way back to Jogja. It was an Indonesian classic favorite drink, the teh botol! It is sweetened jasmine tea with a bit of ‘old’ taste..
Teh botol literally translated is bottled tea.
You should try! :)
From Yogya you can do the day trip to Borobudur, a Buddhist Temple, the most famous attraction in Indonesia and maybe in Asia. It is 40 Km far from Yogya. Go early in de morning because if you are lucky and it is not very cloudy you have nice sunrice from there. The Temple is surrounded by nice gardens and other Temples. Buy one day excursion in your Hotel.
It was something really weird and funny at the beggining, a lot of people ask us to be with them in their pictures, we did the same and took also pictures of them; but finally it was annoying, and we ended being a little rude, saying "no pictures".
Indonesians love siesta and most probably have a word of their own to qualify it. What the most interesting twist is the fact that siesta is taken seriously even during work hours. Now, that is something that deft employers worldwide have to consider in order to improve motivation and productivity in one go; much unlike the situation at my workplace where one of my poor colleagues who despite the union environment was pushed aside when officially exposed. He, originally from South East China, must have been disgusted considering the deeply rooted love for siesta on the job flowing in his veins and left for new pastures. No fear of similar calamities in Borobudur though!
Buddha is one of these Christ-like wonder creatures who were born with out-of-this-world qualities (walking straight after being squished out of his mother’s womb is one of the many examples) that astounded the surrounding commons and made them believe unquestionably in his every word and deed. Having this in mind it is easy to understand the love of Buddha for the lions. Considering that this animal is endemic to Africa and not to Asia makes it an unlikely choice for a spiritual sovereign but at the same time the fact that it looks like a tiger and at the same time it is not one must have turned it into a Buddha favourite. The details of lions ending up in Asia are not known but transcontinental journeys have been made often even into what seems like a remote and illiterate past to provide rich people with lovely toys among other things. So the god-fearing multitudes must have been awed by the sight of this creature roaring about in the presence of the guru of all gurus and have submitted accordingly.