Sunrise at Borobudur Temple

Borobudur Temple, Central Java, never fails to reap admiration from both domestic and international visitors as the center of many points of interests. From architectural side, the temple was built in 9th century as a single complex that represent Buddhist cosmology, with 72 Buddha statues seated in the perforated stupa and spread around its circular upper platforms. From religious side, Borobudur is the center of annual gathering during the full moon in May or June, where the Buddhists in Indonesia observe Vesak, the day when Siddharta Gautama attained the wisdom to become the Buddha. These are some of the reasons why it is listed in the UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Among many ways available to explore the temple, it is best to see at dawn where the sun is still favorable and the place is not too overcrowded with tourists. Borobudur is officially open at around 7 AM. For earlier visit, there are two spots to experience the sunrise. First, is from the upper location such as from Amanjiwo Resort and Stumbu Hills, Karangrejo Village, 2.5 km from southwest Borobudur where the entire complex of this gorgeous monument will be visible gradually among the mist. The other one is from Manohara Hotel that is located inside the complex.

To see the sunrise, visitors must come to Manohara Hotel lobby at around 4.30 AM. Bring along a warm jacket and comfortable footwear for this trip. After checking in at the lobby, each guest will be given a flashlight to climb up Borobudur until the top of Arupadhatu. Do not be discouraged after climbing in dark and find only blackness. Find the best spot to view the sunrise and wait for some minutes. Then, the dramatic and exotic view of the sun rising and peeping through Merapi Mountain, shining on the stupas of the temple, will surely take your breath away. After a while, go around the temple on its each four sides to view different kinds of landscapes. Enjoy the morning sunlight while taking a closer look at the dewy historical sculptures and statues. The unique tranquility of the temple at the early hours may also be used for meditation. These are indeed luxury most people will not have during official opening hours due to the crammed tourists and hot daylight.

The experience of visiting Borobudur at sunrise will surely give visitors more insight and appreciation for this world heritage, left by our ancestors centuries ago.

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Dwi Rahardiani

Duy is a connoisseur of life through traveling and writing. She spends her days as a development worker focusing on environment issues where she fortunately gets the chance of visiting beautiful places in Indonesia. Her dream is to visit all small islands in the world before they get drowned, and share their pictures plus stories over a cup of coffee.
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