Yesterday through the hotel we had booked a tour to see both of the main religious buildings that are reasonably close to Yogya – Borobudur and Prambanan. First up, was sunrise over Borobudur, so a very early start (hooray!) but when we awoke it was raining intermittently so our hopes were not high as to what we would see. The idea was that we would get to a vantage point – Punthuk Setumbu close to Borobudur – and then climb so that we reached the viewing area as the sun started to rise – seemed easy enough but the way up was somewhat treacherous with all the rain. When we reached the top it was reasonably dry but also the vista in front of us was simply a big pile of mist with extra mist on top – the Sun came up but this did not cut any ice with the mist which to my eyes simply intensified – the Sun did not get a look in! The way back down saw a couple of slips and a faller but we all returned safe if somewhat unfulfilled.
On to the actual temple itself and walking up we had no idea what we would see but it was well worth the trip – very impressive. It is a the world’s biggest Buddhist monument and built between AD780 and 840 – okay I looked these facts up but it was still was a most excellent walk around. It is 9 levels high, the last three being circular with a stupa looking thing on top. There were quite a few people around and this was in part because there was a Buddhist celebration taking place and a ‘priest’ with a big following of what I would call ‘followers’ and they were walking around the temple – 3 times – which is no easy thing to do as it is quite huge and every now and again they all stopped for a quick chanting and a blessing. We stopped to watch the last one and as a prequel this also involved the priest giving a nearby sweeper some money and having a go at sweeping himself but this all seemed a bit too theatrical to me! I am sure the ’crowd’ loved it but it was a bit like something a practised politician would do, even Liz – somewhat buddhist in spirit – found it all a bit sickly but this could not detract from the monument itself which is a fine piece of work.
One of the things that was a strange laugh was the numbers of young people wanting to take our photos – possibly nothing to do with us being so photogenic – maybe we looked enlightened!
Next stop, the challenger, a lovely looking temple from the Hindu stable – Prambanan – constructed around AD850 so roughly the same age as the title holder this was an entirely different temple – more lean and tall rather than squat and fat, the build of the broader opposition. Seriously though, Prambanan was different but equally impressive – it is set on extensive grounds and has been partly damaged by an earthquake but each of the individual buildings that make up the temple are huge. I am not really sure what we were doing in Britain at the same time both temples were built – probably just started eating mud! – but these are serious buildings so we treat them with some solemnity. I walked with my hands behind my back, a sure sign that I am appreciating great works and taking in their detail. Overall the visit to both temples had been a great success if I had to judge the outcome of them going head-to-head it would have to be a points decision in favour of Prambanan – controversial but the introduction of the Buddhist priest was a shabby underhand move by Borobudur … lol!
Back home (at the Digs) after the trip we even partook in a beer or two but downpours were occurring too frequently even for us. As our day tomorrow was to include a lot of travelling to get to the digs for the trip to Mount Bromo – we needed supplies so I bought some Pisang Cokolat not really sure what this would taste like what hoping it to be more Chocolatey than Cockolatey – but then tomorrow was another day!