Borodudur has been calling me for a long time since I started traveling more than 2 decades ago. Looking at those photos of the 7 man-made wonders of the world then, I always wondered why have I been to see so many wonders of the world but still not Borobudur which is the closest to Malaysia. I guess because it is so close, I tend to want to go furthest first.
So, I was counting the places I have left my footprints and noted the following world wonders :
- Leaning Tower of Pisa
- Great Wall of China
- Eiffel Tower of Paris
- Angkor Wat of Cambodia
- The Pyramids of Giza
- Taj Mahal of India
Then, there is the Garden of Babylon which is no more in existence. And finallly, there is Borobudur. There are, however, many ancient monuments that are not listed but they are as magnificence in the way they are built as those listed ones. They have always left for us subtle messages about our universe. The deep emotional feelings you will get when you close your eyes and open your hearts, you will definitely feel the presence of unconditional love.
Borobudur emits the same effects of unconditional love as you climb through its 10-level of symbolic enlightenment passages. As you would circumambulate the galleries and terraces at every level, you will feel without doubt the peace within.
There are not a lot of guest houses within walking distance from the Borobudur complex. There is a Manohara Hotel which has rooms from Rp400,000 onwards (RM140), but you get to walk into Borobudur anytime during opening hours and a special permission for house guests to also include a sunrise walkabout. If you stay in the resort-like hotel, you get to go into Borobudur compound without having to pay extra for the entrance ticket.
The entrance ticket (or you may call it the conservation fund) is USD11 per person for 1-day pass. I can use the ticket to go in at 6am when it opens and stay throughout the day until 5pm or I can re-enter anytime.
I checked into a Lotus I guest house with room costs only Rp60,000 (RM15) with a fan, a Queen-size bed with an attached bath. If there are 2 of us, we can share the cost. Very affordable, shoe-string budget traveling at its best!
No written record that can confirm how old is Borobudur but many claim that it dates back to the 8th century, almost the same time as Angkor Wat. It is a very fascinating structure with 1,460 bas-reliefs on its walls depicting cause and effects at the lowest level, Jataka tales (stories which Gautama told the people after he gained enlightenment as the Buddha) at the middle levels, and the highest few levels are in circular design, going round without beginning and end. Isn't that what life is? It never ends, just got to repeat all the stuff and issues until we learnt it, I guess that is what enlightenment means.
I got myself a bicycle and I rode to visit other places in the vicinity while I also enjoyed the foods with such delicacies like barbecued duck, soto nasi (rice) with chicken and a cup of 3-in-1 chocolate - all for Rp9,500 (RM2.50). Well, great food at a fraction of what we can get in KL.