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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Borobodur, Yogjakarta

I heard about it for the first time during my history class when I was in form...1 or 2? Sorry, I don't remember. At that time my conclusion was, the people of that region accepted Buddhist as their religion during that period. Well, now at last I made it here. This is the proof, before my eyes. Thanks to Sir Stamford Raffles who rediscovered the Borobodur after its ruin. Four stages, five hundred plus 'stupas', this temple is regarded as the biggest OR one of the biggest temple ever built and still remains erected on earth. It is believed that this monument was built by Mataram Kingdom (Srivijaya) rulers between 700 and 800. I don't have the exact date as there are many sources and predictions by researchers. However, during that period, the Mataram Kingdom of Central Java was ruled by Sailendra Dynasty, one of the powerful reign in the Great Nusantara (Malay Archipelago) history.

Borobodur Temple is located about 7km form Magelang, Java, Indonesia and approximately 40km from Yogjakarta City. I came here from Malioboro Street, Yogja by car and it took around 45 minutes drive. There are many car rental services from Malioboro, even your hotel could find for you. The rent rate is around IDR 300,000 to IDR 500,000 depend on your route and how you deal with your driver (supir). Oh yea, absolutely the price is including the fees for the driver. Basically with that price, they will take you at least to these three places;
  • Borobodur, Parmbanan & Sewu, Ratu Boko                                   OR
  • Borobodur, Merapi Volcano Mountain, Prambanan & Sewu          OR
  • Borobodur, Prambanan & Sewu, Taman Sari                                  OR
  • Prambanan & Sewu, Ratu Boko, Kota Gede

 Fourth Tier in panoramic view

 The yellow arrow shows the entrance gate

However, bear in mind that journey from Borobodur to Prambanan area would take approximately 1 hour because of the traffic condition especially peak time lunch hour. Hence, plan carefully or otherwise you'll miss one of the visiting location. Entrance fees? During my visit, it was IDR 190,000 for an adult non-Indonesians but I got discount because I was a student - Hahah. You'll be given a sarong cloth and a bottle of mineral water. More information about the latest price can be obtained here. There are also two museums in the compound and for additional activity, there is 'Elephant Ride' which is near the entrance. For precautions, please bring cap, umbrella and sunglasses - just in case for raining or a bright shiny days. Depend on your luck, search for weather forecast fist before you plan to go there.

 I got this price - TQ...

 Fortunately nice weather, but fog shrouded the Merapi Mountain

 The biggest stupa on the top. So this is the 'Nirvana Level' ya?

 Anybody want to ride an elephant? If you go to Pahang, Malaysia you can bath with elephant calf

 One of the tiles that depicts story

Purpose of my visit? Nothing to do with belief.  Just want to see the Javanese culture, structure design and tracking the history of the Great Nusantara. Great Srivijaya Empire ruled most of the nowadays Indonesian land including most of the Malays States in the Malay peninsular (excluding the Langkasuka: Kedah+Pattani+Kelantan+Singgora). Thats means my great-great ancestors were also live under the rule of this kingdom. Srivijaya was a great maritime power and their capital moves from one place to another. There are few questions come into my mind about this place.
First: The rock is a soft, dull volcanic rock. Dark grey in colour and it seems very brittle. How can they arrange it to become a big structure? There is no concrete or cement to bind the brittle blocks. Furthermore, they need to treat the rock so they can easily carved or cut it into certain geometry.
Second: Who are the engineers and architects? Were they local peoples or hired experts. If hired, from where? India? Europe? China? If it was the locals, then the people of the Nusantara especially in the Java island was actually very outstanding in mathematics, physics, material science and structure design + plus art. What a complete package.
Third: At the time Stamford Raffles found it, Borobodur was totally ruined and covered with bush and thick volcanic ash (refer to the fact in the museum). Disordered and abandoned. Just like the Pyramid and Old Temple of Mayan and Aztechs. Look at the Stonehenge in England too. Should this place is a blessed place, why it had been demolished and abandoned? Who did it? Plague? Outsiders raid? Volcano eruption?  Earthquake? Till now there many blocks of the dark grey rocks that became the missing puzzle.Why and why?

 How they arrange the blocks to rebuild the structure? No binder indeed

 Unidentified blocks - the mismatch puzzles

 Ships - no boeing or airbus at that time but this is a proof of trade and foreign affairs between kingdoms

 Another tiles shows a ship

If the anticipated construction time is true, then this Borobodur was erected at the time of Tang Dynasty ruled China, Umayyad Caliphate ruled the middle east and Roman Empire ruled the southern Europe. That's mean the technology at that time was quite remarkable and no wonder they able to built such a massive and complex monument. Besides, there were connections and trade with the outside world - proven by few carved tiles on the walls that show sailing ships with their sailors. So, the last quest is still remaining a mystery - why it ruined and left demolished? Was there any warning? Let's check what Allah told us in Surah Al Imran, verse 137 (Tafsr Ibn Kathir);

Though the few verses before and after this verse explains how Allah instructs and states to the Muslims after their loss in the Uhud Battle, in the 137th verse Allah asks the Muslims to travel around the world so they could see what happen to the earlier people who disbelieve. It is the same feeling when you visit the Stonehenge, Pyramids, Angkor Wat, Mayan Ziggurat and Petra, Jordan. Great structures but left behind. Hopefully we can learn something here. Was there any sign or warning given to the Srivijayan people at that time? I'm not sure about that. Fortunately Islam shines and blossoms in Indonesia now and we should grateful about it. There is always wisdom when one thing happen. Allahu'alam.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nusantaranian,

    I really impressed on how you reflect your perspective.
    I really love the way you portrays the culture.
    and how you narrated the story.

    Thank you for the wonderful write up as i can rely for my reference. i will be your no 1 fan and waiting for your story since today.

    Miss Anggerik Desa