About 500 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, so in the year -500, a boy named Siddahrtha, now known by everyone as Buddha, was born in northern India near the current border with Nepal. The story of his childhood, his youth actually the story of his entire life, is reproduced in sculptured reliefs on the walls of the world’s largest Buddhist temple, located on the Java island of Indonesia. Borobudur Temple.
It took several days of persuasion from my husband to convince me to visit this monument located almost in the middle of the Java Island, because I did not know anything about it so far and how to get there.
But at least the curiosity and the desire to see something absolutely unique in the world overwhelmed me. After 10 perfect days spent in Bali, we were on our way to Java.
And because there was no other flying company between Denpasar / Bali airport and Yogyakarta airport / the airport near the temple, we flew Garuda Indonesia – a local company that until last year was on the blacklist airlines and forbidden to land in Europe. So, maximum excitement – or which proved to be superfluous – the airline, made me a very good and serious impression on the spot.
We arrived in the evening and the first impression was wow! a colossal temple bathes in the last rays of the sun and even from a distance looks fantastic. We put the luggage in the room and we headed for a quick visit toward him.
The square-shaped pyramid temple was built between 750 and 842 b.c., 300 years ago before the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia and about 400 years before the major European cathedrals were built. There are only few informations about the history of the temple, except that a huge army of workers has worked for decades to carve the 60,000 cubic meters of stone. At the beginning of the 11th century, due to the political situation in Central Java, Borobudur Temple was completely neglected and began to decay. Above all, after a nearby volcanic eruption, it was completely covered by volcanic ash. The temple was only rediscovered in the nineteenth century. A UNESCO-backed restoration campaign between 1973-1982 gave this pyramid its form and greatness back.
The temple is built on six square terraces, placed on the pyramid, the length of the base measuring 118 m, and over there are three circular terraces leading to the top. So totally 9 terraces.
Next morning in a tropical heat even it was before the sunrise we started climbing the very high and almost vertical steps of the pyramid. The first three terraces represent the life on earth the inscriptions in stone, giving birth to the earthly life dominated by passion and desires. Dozens of images, reveal always the same – good people are rewarded with reincarnation in higher life forms, and the wicked are punished by taking inferior, demonic shapes.
The walls that surround these floors are much taller than a man giving the impression of a labyrinth in which you are locked and from which you can escape only by climbing higher and higher. Because there are three levels of “purgatory” on the walls of which the Buddha invariation is represented, leading to the sphere of perfection, illumination to Buddhist Nirvana.
As we descend the stairs still in the trance, the sun climbs up higher in the sky when suddenly the official gate of the temple opens and hundreds of children came in.
And as they see me almost jump on me screaming”Please, missis, photo, photo” and join left and right as a bunch while other kids make uninterrupted pictures … I do not know who they thought we are but the next day I heard from the local media that even Richard Gere was here for a few days to meditate in the shadow of the 504 statues of the Buddha …