Moonlight over Borobudur (and how a PWD climbed up to the top)

June 24, 2014 ASEAN Backpacking

The moonlight over
 Borobudur temple

 a vision of the cosmos in stone

a world
by actions

of passion and desire

the glorious past
 is celebrated 6
with ships 
dancing girls
 warriors and kings

the pilgrim's walk 
prepares us for the practice of

Look out across the valley

ponder upon Nothingness

Reaching through the stupa

to touch the finger or foot
 of the Buddha
inside will surely direct
 our thoughts 
and motivate us
to take steps
 away from conflict

Up to the time we landed in Indonesia, I was set on seeing Borobudur from afar.  I didn’t want to put so much pressure on my left leg.  I had an accident six months before that trip that severely fractured my left leg and I was still using crutches to walk. I still was not fit for stressful travel so I was taking everything slow but I just really had to join our annual ASEAN backpacking trip.

Journey to Borobudur

Our first stop was Jakarta.  After a day of gallivanting in Jakarta, we took a train to Yogyakarta.  It was an 8-hour trip.  We stayed at Edu Hostel and spent our first night in Yogyakarta fitting traditional Indonesian costumes. 

We wanted to make it a tradition to have our photos taken donning or posing with traditional costumes.  We did that at Siem Reap in Cambodia in 2012 and Wat Arun in Thailand in 2013.  Anyway, too much excitement and not enough coordination caused us to divert a lot from our itinerary. 

We initially planned a visit of Prabanan but we had to forego and we had to rush to Borobudur.

After Sunset

We reached Burobudur after sunset and we got our sunset pass for 380,000 Indonesian Rupiah.  We were given less than an hour to see the temple. 

Borobudur is the world’s largest and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments.  It consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, with a main dome at the center of the top platform.  The most enchanting are the 72 stupas that surround the main dome.  This is located 35 meters or 115 feet above ground level.

The fee included rental of sarong and flashlights. It was supposed to also include some refreshments and souvenirs but we were not able to get those because our driver got cranky. 

Anyway, seeing my condition, the receptionists were kind enough to allow our van to take us to the gate and the guide allowed me to back ride in his motorcycle up to the temple grounds.

When I reached the temple grounds, my friends were already having their photos taken with Borobudor as the background.  It was spectacular and we just had to have our photos taken, especially with the waxing moon over the temple.

Reaching the Main Dome

A few of my friends were already making their way up the temple while my photograph was taken.  I didn’t think and started making my way up.  Maybe it was all the adrenaline or the glow of the moonlight or the desire to see what was up there.  I focused on climbing.

The steps were high.  There were handrails and these helped me a lot.  But, a lot of times, I had to use both my hands to help me up.  It was difficult but I made it on top, of course, with my friends’ assistance. The guide didn’t think I could but I did. 

The stupas were stunning and I spent a moment alone admiring each one. The light from the moon was not enough to emphasize the details of the temple but it was enough for us to appreciate its magnitude and splendor.

Yes, we missed the sunset but we had a beautiful waxing moon. Yes, it was also magical.  Yes, I was happy I exerted effort to climb up.

Leaving Borobudor

After a solo shot beside a stupa, we started our descent. Going down was as difficult but it came with the happy feeling of knowing we were able to see what we came there for.  It also came with a hope that we can all come back and experience Borobudor once more.

Hope to see you again Borobudur!

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