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roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Borobudur

(another installment – probably the second to last – of travel adventures and pictures from our just-completed winter break)

Borobudur is Java’s largest Buddhist temple. Historians think it was constructed before Prambanan during a time when Hinduism and Buddhism co-existed peacefully on the island of Java. According to our LP, when viewed from the air, the structure resembles a colossal three-dimensional tantric mandala. While we can’t speak to that, we sure agree that it looks very much like the thanka we got in Dharamsala!

The temple is visible from all around the surrounding farmlandMist in the Borobudur valley as the sun rises

We woke up at 4:30 one morning to watch the sunrise over Borobudur.  While the clouds hid much of the sun, we still enjoyed the peaceful landscape, rice paddies, lush jungle walk and misty valley. After wake-up drinks, we headed down to the site to beat the real heat of the day.

Before the sun came up, the temple site was shrouded in the morning fog

Morning mistThe Stutz family enjoys the early morning above Borodubur

There are four entrances to the temple – one on each side – and three layers. The first layer represents the human experience. The 2nd level has panels that reveal the life of the Buddha and lessons from Buddhism. The 3rd layer represents enlightenment. The first two layers are square and the top is circular with stupas that have Buddhas on the inside.  A pilgrim (or tourist) can walk clockwise around the entire monument – a total of almost 5 kilometers.

We were true rock stars at the temple - everyone wanted pictures with us!Dave and the girlsThree out of the four Stutz's pose with Buddha and the volcanoA Buddha statue with a new friend...

The sculptures are incredible. There are 2 million stone blocks, 1460 narrative panels, 1212 decorative panels, and over 500 Buddha statues. We marveled over and over that there was such detail left after 1,000 years of rain, earthquakes, and volcanic ash inundations.

The Borodubur stupas look down over the valley belowThe rows of carvings and stupas are silhouetted against the skyFabulous views from on top of the templeFaces in the wall

We noted there were several figures that actually faced into the monument – so the carvings were of the back of the head. This is highly unusual – we’d never seen that in Buddhist sculpture before. There were several scenes of a boat – representing the sea trade between West Africa and Java many hundreds of years ago. There was a museum dedicated to this same boat, as some rich guy from England took it upon himself to build it and re-create the sea voyage!

Boy - were we ready for some cold drinks after traipsing around!!We had to dodge the hordes of hat sellers

Fancy hats

One of the old ladies who sold us the hatsBorodubur at sunset, as seen from our hotel's rooftop

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