Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Jogja & Solo Revisited I - Borobudur

Indonesian cities hit you in the face, by the sheer density of people, vehicles and buildings, followed by the cacophony of human and mechanical sounds coming at you as soon as you step off the plane. Acclimatisation should be swift otherwise you will never find your feet. With a total population in excess of 245 million and growing, (10 million in Jarkarta; 5 million in Jogja & Solo), happily, the institution of marriage still seems a popular option unlike in more liberal societies. This one being held at the Karaton (Palace) in Jogja with colourful wedding announcements. The main hall decked out for the wedding in traditional style . . .
. . . and even the Royal horse drawn carriage for the bride and groom.
Local fertility symbols.
The Royal Gamelan Orchestra
Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument, built in the 9th century took 100 years to complete (824-924). The silhouette cuts an impressive image with stupas reaching skyward.2672 relief panels and 504 Buddha effigies ten terraces high, depict the teachings of Buddha, and can be followed sequentially in a clockwise fashion from the base.Buddhist philosophy is epitomised in each level of this candi or temple.

The Base, Kamadhatu, depicts human beings who are still bound by lust.

Restored reliefs tell the story of daily life of royals, tradesmen, and adventurers. Topics like gossip to murder, with their corresponding punishments are also covered.
The upper 4 stories, Rupadhatu, symbolise freedom of lust but still bound to appearance and shape; Buddha effigies are placed in the open. Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the then British ruler of Java, rediscovered Borobudur. His wife died in 1814 unable to withstand the harsh conditions and Raffles, heartbroken, returned to England. Soon after the Dutch regained control of Java.Over the centuries, the shrine had been slowly but surely desecrated by treasure hunters. A major restoration project from 1975-1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO listed Borobudur as World heritage site.
The upper 3 stories, Arupadhatu, symbolise human beings free of lust, shape and appearance.
At this level, Buddha effigies are confined in stupas.
The top of the Candi, Arupa, symbolises nirvana, where Buddha resides.

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