It was a little overcast when our plane finally landed at Adisucipto International Airport but at least it was no longer raining. After a quick check through immigration ( my friend and I did not need a visa as we are Filipinos), we exited the airport and looked for transportation to the hotel. You will find many taxis and private cars in Yogyakarta and you can hire most of them for as little as $40 a day.
It was a great thing to finally be in Yogyakarta; however, luck was not with me during my recent trip. A nearby volcano, Mt. Kelud, had just recently erupted and most of the place was covered in ash. I was disheartened to hear over breakfast on our second day that only up to level 2 of the temple would be accessible to tourists as they were still cleaning. I was disappointed but I was already in Yogyakarta and I was not going to pass up the chance to finally see Borobudur. Bring on the ash!
One thing I noticed when I went there was that there were a group of Caucasians (Europeans as our guide pointed out) who were going around the temple several times, chanting and following a Caucasian monk. According to our guide these people wanted to convert to Buddhism and must learn from the monk. They were listening to his lessons and once every 5 minutes or so they would chant.
Although much of the temple was closed, there were still a lot of people who came to marvel at the famous site. I saw a lot of Europeans, Americans, Koreans and Indonesians. It is a testament to the temple’s popularity. Borobudur happens to be the second most visited place in Indonesia after Bali.
For those who do not know, Borobudur is a 9th century temple located in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The temple has six platforms topped by three circular platforms. It is decorated with more than 2,500 relief panels and exactly 504 Buddha statues. There is a main dome located at the center of the top platform, which I sadly did not get to reach.
Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and certainly one of the most popular and most beautiful. I have certainly not had my fill of the temple, partly because I was not able to see the Buddhas inside the perforated stupas but I was still happy to have seen the temple and yes, I will be back very soon.