Published: July 8th 2012July 9th 2012
Borobudur& Prambanan is easy tourism. Fly to Yogyakarta (Jogja, the cultural capital of Indonesia), take a cab to respective temples an hour each from the city & voila!
Another note to self was supposed to be "do not forget your indonesian I card" cuz the diff between entrance fees for residents vs foreigner is 30,000 rp vs 180,000 rp! Oh boy, that was sheer stupidity! After a few snarls from the husband (who WAS carrying his "KTP") shelling out money for one cheap and one expensive ticket, we entered the gates are 6.30 am. There were plans to take the sunrise tour, ie land there at 4.30 am & be one of the few to be allowed inside before the gates officially open at 6 am, but those plans went down the drain after a "pleasant" delay in the Lion Air flight the previous night. Delays aren't a big deal, really. BUT they ARE when you are travelling with a 7 month old - who hates being carried around for 7 hours straight! So although he didn't whine too much, it needed some EXTRA effort to keep him entertained & of course EXTRA strength to carry 8.5 kilos all
Borobudur is probably the largest Buddhist temple & stupa complex in the world & Prambanan is a massive mass of Hindu temples (originally 240! Only!) - in a Muslim country - who knew! It's traced back to the 800 AD ,built in temple stone by the Sailendra & Mataram dynasties respectively. They were deserted & hidden for centuries due to volcanic eruptions. Amongst the 4 big ones, Mt Merapi, ie the "mountain of fire" alone has erupted some 68 times since 1548, & was largely responsible for the downfall of the Hindu kingdoms & desertion of temples. Who unearthed it ? A British officer - in Indonesia! out of all people- imagine! After full blown restoration by UNESCO, it became open to public in the 1990s. Then again they faced the wrath of the 2006 earthquake & the Mt Merapi eruption in 2010... But here they are, standing tall & absolutely mesmerising! A must see indeed.
Arriving at 6.30 am meant the sun had already risen, and on our way itself we took beautiful shots of the sun rising behind the mighty, smouldering Mt Merapi. we missed the sun rise at AT Borobudur or
not we know not, cuz we were busy being in awe of the effect of gentle soothing sun light on the huge vast garden & sheer greenery around the temple & softness it brought to the temple stones. 100s of snaps will probably not be able to capture the sheer beauty of this setting ! There are 6 square & 3 circular platforms (with steep steps requiring plenty of stamina) with supposedly 504 buddha statues of various types. ( supposed to have sanskrit inscriptions too, but we didn't find any!)
We visited Prambanan later in the day - as it is just 15 mins away from the airport - in the harsh sun, armed with sunscreen, sun glasses, hat & ESP my Indonesian I-card (hence ticket @ 30,000 rp only!). There are concentrically arranged shrines & temples. The main "Trimurti" temples are of: the Lords Shiva, Vishnu & Brahma, & the "Vahana" temples are of: Nandi, Garuda & Hamsa.
Prambanan is smaller in scale (also prob cuz most shrines are destroyed) with jagged vertical structures vs Borobudur's more awe inspiring horizontal mass. No shorts /skirts above knees allowed in BB (you can borrow batik cloth to
tie around yr waist, avail at the gate), though no such restriction in Pram.
There are plenty of things to do in Jogja, but we needed to leave the very same day by the 4 pm Air Asia flight. This month is school vacation as well as pre-lebran time = not booking a hotel well in advance meant we were stuck in a useless hotel that was newly opened, with no hot water, no fridge, no cupboards & no baby crib- although they were sweet as hell & offered plenty of freebies as apologies! As travelling with baby entails unavoidable necessities (which calls for a separate blog altogether),we just had to cut the trip short.
But inspite of the whirlwind trip, we did tick mark some must dos: Eat freshly prepared yummy "Bakpia" (a traditional Jogja sweet), buy a pretty oleh-oleh (souvenirs) such as a mini Buddha enclosed in the perforated stupa, batik kiddy wear & necklaces.
There are more photos below