Borobudur & Prambanan: Indonesia’s Soul

Yogyakarta (often called “Jogja or Yogya”) is a city on the island of Java known for its beyond visible traditional arts, cultural and intellectual heritage – hence being regarded as Indonesia’s “soul”.

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This special region of Indonesia is sternly independent and protecting of its customs, and still headed by its sultan, whose Kraton (a royal palace) remains the center of traditional life, despite Yogya being a large urban centre – making it one of Indonesia’s most liveable (and lovable) city!

What makes it more lovable? Yogyakarta is home to two of Indonesia’s most important archaeological sites, Borobudur and Prambanan!

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Set amongst dewy, forest-clad hills near the city of Yogyakarta is a structure built in about 800AD. Borobudur is regarded as one of the world’s most extraordinary temples. It is made up of 72 stupas — mound-like or hemispherical structure containing relics, typically the remains of Buddhist monks or nuns) each containing a Buddha figure. I have to say that this is the ultimate splendor of this important sacred monument.

A succession of five square bases is thriven by three circular terraces with the 72 stupas around it. It is said that these signifies the transcendent passage from the life of desire, by way of meditation to Enlightenment. If the temple is viewed from atop, it looks like a lotus flower. (Too bad I don’t have a drone camera to capture such).

Today, Borobudur whose landscape is dominated by the Gunung Merapi Volcano is a UNESCO-inscribed World Heritage Site.

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Aside from Borobudur, another noteworthy UNESCO World Heritage Site is the 9th and 10th century Hindu complex of Prambanan. Prambanan is a temple devoted to Vishnu, Shiva, and Brahma.

The main temple of Prambanan measures over 150 feet tall. Its towers appear to be neck crane-like with very elaborate reliefs. Some tourists say that Prambanan is reminiscent of Angkor Wat in Cambodia (which I have yet to see). Being one of the largest Hindu temples in the entire Southeast Asia, this temple is a must-see. And if you will ask me which between Borobudur and Prambanan I like better, I’d say – the later.

Things to take note of:
• Borobudur is open 6am-5pm, admission 75,000 Rp, but you can gain earlier access with a “sunrise ticket”, available through your hotel or a package tour.
• You may or may not have a local guide within the temple (costs around Rp75,000).
• Prambanan is also open 6am-5pm, admission is same with Borobudur.
• Make sure to wear something decent.

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Don’t be a wasted soul, be “juan”derlust. take it easy ebri’juan’…

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