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Published: June 26th 2017
Geo: -7.6, 110.217
Today we went back into Indonesian history to visit the World Heritage listed site of Borobudur. This is rated second only to Angkor Wat in terms of ancient Hindu temples. It was built in the 10th century and was rediscovered by Sir Thomas Raffles, covered with undergrowth, in 1812. What a find that would be! It was a one and a half hour drive from Jogja along always busy, but narrow roads.
Ferdi picked us up at 8am and we first went to see the Sultan's Palace, but being told that didn't open until 9am we decided to head straight to Borobudur. After the long drive it was a relief to get out of the car into the very warm sunshine. This was the best day for weather since I have been here, with blue skies, low humidity and a cooling breeze.There were crowds of people here, especially being a Saturday, many local and school groups too.This is an impressive single temple with many storeys and impressive stupas. All around the sides the carvings tell the story of the Ramanaya, one of the most important legends in Hindu mythology. It is amazing to see the delicate carvings, mainly still sharp
in their reliefs after 1,000 years. We gradually climbed higher.. Around the top of the temple, apart from the large central stupa there are many others with square openings in them. Inside each one is a statue of Buddha. The view from the top is spectacular with very attractive countryside against a backdrop of mountains. The struggle to descend took a while as they restrict going down to one entrance so it is narrow and packed with people. Fletcher's knees stood up pretty well. We had to stop several times for him to rest them though.
Once at the bottom it was a long walk back with a compulsory, "Exit through the gift shop" this being miles and miles of souvenir stalls. We stopped for a rest and a beer at one of the stalls and then, refreshed, continued. The lady at the food stall showed us a short cut.
Back at the hotel we ordered Room Service (which was very ordinary) and watched the last quarter of the AFL Grand Final on Australian TV here. Well done Sydney! An exciting game. As Fletcher had a touch of the runs we rested in the room until 6-30 when Ferdi picked us up.
Tonight Ria had bought tickets for the Prambanan Ramanayan Ballet out at Prambanan Temple. This was to be really special.
The ballet tells the whole Ramanayan story in spectacular fashion. It is, of course, traditional Indian movement, all done in bare feet. We were in this large outdoor theatre with good seats for a spectacular view. There were at least 50 dancers and more than 30 musicians playing traditional gamelan instruments and singing. The highlight was the ending of the first half when the white monkey, Hanuman, burns down the enemy palace. No lighting effects here. He set fire to a whole fence of brush set up at the top of the stage!! OH&S would love that in Adelaide!!
After a great performance, the highlight of the trip, we adjourned to the local Pizza Hut for a late meal and met Ria's oldest daughter, Oza. Ria insisted on paying again. Muslim Hospitality is awesome!! An excellent day.
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