Borobudur is the biggest and one of the greatest Buddhist monument in the world and also houses the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhism relief. It was built in the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana or the state of perfect happiness. The levels of the temple have carvings, which is symbolic to Buddhism’s cosmology to the path of enlightenment. The first level has carvings, which symbolizes the world of desire, the second level as the world of forms and finally the last level that has depictions of the world of formlessness.
Going to Borobudur during Ramadan is one of the most scariest trip I’ve experienced to date (Read more about that here –> Smoke Fest and a Dead Nail) Our misadventures continued for a little bit when we got there. As soon as we got to our hotel all I could think of was to get out of there as soon as possible. I tried looking for a flight back to Bali but unfortunately the prices have skyrocketed which was beyond our budget. The thought of travelling back to Bali by Bus “lucid” (LOL) after our experience was beyond horrifying for me. I told my sister that the only way I’m going through that again is if I’m as high as a kite or in a slight sleep coma.
We went to the market nearby the hotel to look for a pharmacy and buy a sleeping pill or any pill that has a drowsy effect. I figured if I was asleep the entire ride then I wouldn’t see the horror. Expectedly that didn’t go well. The pharmacist did not speak English and after 20 frustrating minutes of showing him sleeping gestures and other sleeping sign language he finally gave me a choice of cough syrup, a fever pill and a diarrhea tablet. It was a lost cause, I said thank you just bought the diarrhea tablets. That is in case we run in on an emergency and also because I panicked, the pharmacist looked upset after realizing that we are not buying anything after all the trouble. As we were walking back to the hotel, we heard this loud explosion nearby. I seriously thought that it might be a terrorist attack; turns out it was just a car backfire. After that I was done with the place. I didn’t even want to see the temple anymore. My sister on the other hand seemed unfazed with everything that had happened to us. She was determined to be enlightened in our journey. She almost dragged me by the hair to go wandering around the temple as soon as we got back.
When I saw Borobudur though I instantly forgot my paranoia and my stressful trip to get there. It is beautiful. The temple is huge and very impressive.There were a lot of giant stupas at the top of the temple. They`re massive! It`ll make you wonder how they got there.
As we were walking around the temple I can’t help but imagine how it was built in the time where there were no technology yet. All the walls were intricately carved. In Buddhism the highest form that humans can achieve if they reach Nirvana, or total bliss. So most Buddhist spend their life in search for it. To reach Nirvana though you have to go through several stages first and understand what each stage means. All the carving on the wall of of Borobudur tells the story of each stages before reaching absolute bliss.
The sun was about to set and we immediately looked for a good spot to sit in. Looking over the Indo horizon at the top of Borobudur was just so surreal. It took all my worries away. I was beyond stoked and felt very very lucky to be there. I almost forgot that I still have to endure a horrific bus ride back to Bali.
Our experience in Borobudur didn’t get off on a good start, but it ended quite amazingly. It was an awesome experience that I’ll always remember. I’m glad my sister stayed positive and kept an open mind the whole trip. I guess Buddha blessed us for visiting his temple, because on the way back to Bali, we were able to book an incredible luxury bus which was way more comfortable than the first bus we that we rode in. We left Borobodur a little enlightened. We didn’t really see nirvana but the awesome bus ride back to Bali and definitely the amazing sunrise and sunset at the temple gave us a glimpse of it.