February 23rd, 2023
I have been wanting to go to the famous Buddhist temple of Borobudur and the Hindu temple of Prambanan since my backpacking days. I have seen the temples in Bagan, Burma, and Angkor Wat in Cambodia and this was the last piece to the 3 sacred, must-see, sights of South East Asia. Needless to say, I was not disappointed!
Wandering around Prambanan I was like a kid in a candy store. I started off in the furthest, least impressive temple. It is my philosophy when seeing temples to always start at the least impressive first and build your way to the most impressive. This way you don’t start off with amazing and then just get disappointed with seeing everything else. (I think the reverse is true with food. I always start with the best and work my way to the worst). I love the feeling of an abandoned ruin. Walking alone up the steps and through the narrow temple doors you feel like you are the first person to step foot into the temple for the past 500 years, Marco Polo made a discovery for the world. It is an amazing feeling that only lasts until some tourist in sneakers comes into your picture frame when you are looking for that perfect shot! But the feeling is there…you are an explorer!
I am a huge Pink Floyd fan. They have a famous live recording of them playing in the ruins of Pompei, Italy. Walking around Prambanan that first day I had the soundtrack to this playing in my mind…..I could literally hear Richard Wright belting out the crescendo in the epic song, Echoes as I climbed over the rocks and surveyed the temple!
The next day I woke up at 4 am to catch the sunrise peak over the horizon and bask in its light on the Buddhist temple of Borobudur. It was amazing! The whole complex is set up like a mandala (a Buddhist depiction of the universe) with a huge stupa in the middle with 18 huge stupas surrounding it. The stupas were enormous and impressive, each containing a Buddha statue inside the stupa. There were 4 levels to the temple, each containing a story from either the Buddha’s life or the Ramayana epic. The carvings were all absolute masterpieces.
It is an amazing thing when you get to experience something that you have been waiting for for over 25 years! It is good to know that there is still some adventure out there, you just have to get out there and discover it!