Yogyakarta and Borobodur

Like every good tourist who comes to Java I went to Yogyakarta (short Yogya) which is said to be the cultural capital of this island nation. Yogya itself is an autonomous region, where the Sultan who lives in his palace (the Kraton) in the city center apparently has much more influence than the country’s president.

Inside the "Kraton" (Sultan Palace)

I looked at the beautiful batik artworks displayed and sold everywhere and listened to the undefinable (strange but beautiful) sounds of Gamelan (a percussion orchestra?) while watching an even stranger shadow puppet show.

Shadow Puppet Show

"Behind the Scenes": Gamelan Orchestra

The main tourist attraction though is the temple of Borobodur, which is the largest Buddhist temple in Indonesia and has been compared to Bagan and Angkor Wat.

Borobodur Stupas

Me at Borobodur

It is about 90 minutes away from the city, and when I arrived there it was raining, which seemed to have washed away most of the tourists. For a couple of hours I was wandering around the numerous levels of the temple, trying to make sense of the reliefs, and sat on the top, looking out over the the beautiful mountains and small villages of central Java.

Reliefs at Borobodur

The temple was nice, yes, its reliefs maybe even impressive (considering their age and detail), but to compare it to Angkor Wat? That feels to me merely like a feeble attempt to inflate its importance, to attract tourists – there are worlds between these places!

Borobodur temple

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *