Borobudur, Magelang, Central Java

by cedhausen

Don’t forget, this is a paired post with the previous one! Not that they’re related in any way, but read the introductory paragraph on the previous one and you’ll understand why I’m doing this the way I’m doing this.

So, without further ado, here’s today’s Photo of the Day:

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Yellow pants for the win. I’m so glad I packed them for the trip. No colour pops better around ancient ruins than yellow or orange, which explains my slight disappointment at the absence of Buddhist monks in bright kasayas… though I suppose I have to visit Angkor Wat for that one. This picture was of course taken at the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Candi (“Temple”) Borobudur. My parents have been talking about this place for ages and since my Instagram feed was saturated with images of Angkor Wat, I thought I’d visit someplace else first. It was basically down to this or Bagan, Myanmar. Since I was travelling with family I thought Central Java would be more family friendly.

Here, have a picture of my parents:

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This was taken with my GoPro at the precise moment all the other photographers decided to move away from the frame… miraculously. The bell-shaped stupas are unique to the temple, and each contains a Buddha statue seated in the lotus position within them.


We arrived here at the Manohara Hotel at about 5AM to catch the sunrise, which cost us a whopping US$30 per person just to watch it atop Borobudur. The price tag was a little steep, almost doubling the price for the regular entry ticket after 6AM, but it was one we willingly paid and one we didn’t regret either. Now, my mother is a petite person with rather short legs, and she did have a little trouble climbing the precipitous steps, stopping a few times to catch her breath. At one point, she told me to go on up without her, which was about when my inner-Asian kicked in and went all “we didn’t pay your ticket for nuttin’!”

But when we arrived at the highest level to join this brethren of amateur photographers–some with Canons, some with Nikons, all with camera phones–then turned around to look at the horizon stretching into this fog that enveloped the Earth, we were dumbstruck. All the pain my mom felt in her joints vanished at the sight that slumbered before her. And then, there was the sun, gently lifting the light veil blanketing the trees as it ascended higher and higher, enticing all the photographers to aim towards its amber glow. I’m ashamed to say this but I had to remind myself to experience that moment without looking at a screen. Far too frequently, we try to capture something within a frame that we forget to truly appreciate the now as it happens. A different kind of YOLO, as it were.

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That’s my parents admiring the bas-relief surrounding the complex. Highly intricate and undeniably beautiful, the reliefs chronicled daily life in 8th-century Java.

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Look at that. How could anyone not fall in love with a sight like that?

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Peek-a-boo shot! The temple is so photogenic…

Yes, I am rushing through this a little as I’m nodding my head off already. I’ll probably expound more on this adventure in tomorrow’s first post.