"Haunting Past" Borobudur by Assenczo

Borobudur Travel Guide: 191 reviews and 643 photos

Borobudur is certainly living up to its reputation. This gracious palace built on a hill presiding over the surrounding valley of tropical Java is a sight worthy of many superlatives. It has the scale of proportions and intricacy of detail to turn into the legend which it unquestionably is. Despite the fact that it has undergone a major restoration, it still has the power of conviction and draws the crowds accordingly. The whole second tier has been demolished, stuffed with concrete and put back together. While the knowledge of this fact dims the excitement of corresponding with the past directly it surely shores it up against the many tremors of the nearby volcanoes and other unpleasant surprises that nature might offer. The lack of monks is something that points out the artificiality of the situation ? no coincidence in Muslim majority neighbourhood. As if to make up for the loss, the authorities are making the wearing of a sarong a compulsory activity- why not since the visitors are most likely to be infidels anyway; so no skin off their pious majesties, Allah followers. Here is probably the best time to mention that local Muslim tradition in its most outwardly aspect is quite different from the original Arab version. Locals seem to be unable to part with their Buddhist past and the calls to prayer and the prayers themselves sound more like chanting than the Muslim drawn-out recitatives. A peculiar feeling is provided by a walk at night on the grounds of one of the major Buddhist temples in the world accompanied by the chanting choir of the neighbouring mosques as if to underline that in essence nothing much has changed around here.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Great introduction to past influences on Java
  • Cons:A bit too perfect to be true
  • In a nutshell:Startling revelation of Indian culture venturing south-east
  • Last visit to Borobudur: Aug 2011
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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“Myths Annihilated”

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