Borobudur, Jungles of Java

Everything is nothing, nothing is everything! This is what our guide said about the Borobudur temple. Borobudur temple has 13 levels and all the way up the steps, there are carvings of Buddhist culture and history with a tiny bit of Hindu culture. There are war sagas and legendary beauties all the way from level four till level nine. Now, these are not equally spaced levels. From ground level to level four might have been around 20 steps. But upwards happens to get more steeper. After listening to the Buddhist history on level four, we pondered. 

Took a moment to enjoy the cool morning breeze and looked around. Coming to Borobudur for the famous sunrise had been worth the ride. Fortyfive minutes from the city of Yogyakarta in Indonesia, in the middle of nowhere, temperate climate and yet really close to a beach. Everything was around the temple. This was Borobudur, within the beautiful jungles Java.  In distance was the active volcano Mt. Merapi. Hot and blazing up smoke.  So the nothing around this temple is indeed Everything.

 Why is the Borobudur sunrise so famous? When you walk up the levels of the temple and look east, what you see is the sun rising behind this active volcano. The sight of  hot gases and smoke rising up as sunrays slowly emerge behind Merapi is amazing. It first felt like see a hot cup of coffee with steam against it and a beautiful sunrise. Magnify that hot cup but two million times and that is Merapi for you. Active and scary, the local guides have actually stopped mountain treks to Merapi which were a hit with visitors till a few years ago.

As we walked up the levels ten to thirteen, the last four levels mostly have Stupas. Each of the Stupas is supposed to have a Buddha inside who is seeing the world through the square holes. Restoration of the temple is in progress and some Buddhas can be spotted sitting inside the Stupa with a little teasing smile.

The topmost level was under restoration when I visited in August 2011. But all it housed was another Buddha. Another Buddha looking through the square holes of the Stupa and smiling at the world. That’s the nucleus, the everything. Nothing really!
When everything is around you, why do you care about nothing inside?
This is my article published in Club Mahindra website


  1. Beautiful captures.

  2. Isn't there any bigger Buddha statue?

  3. Very nice post with some lovely pictures!

  4. The images are beautiful Sneha...I would love to see the sunrise there too!


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