The QiRanger Adventures


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Borobodur Temple - Jogjakarta, Indonesia (Central Java)

My alarm went off at 2am.

Yes, 2am.

This was especially annoying since Jo and I had just gone to bed four hours earlier. However, it was a necessary evil that needed to be performed if we were going to be successful and be ready for the day’s pick-up at 4am.

Yes, 4am.

This morning, Jo and I were scheduled to make an hour’s drive to one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sights: Borobodur. It’s the largest Buddhist temple in the world and we were slated to see the sun rise from the top. That event was to take place around 6am and it was going to be at least an hour’s drive to temple. After traveling so far from South Korea, we were not going to miss this event. Thankfully, we had hired a car and driver, so we were able to get some additional rest on the trip out there.

Upon arrival, we secured our tickets and flashlights and then proceeded to the upper-most level and sat. Scores of additional people came as well, but since we were there early, Jo and I were able to pick out an unobstructed view for the magic that was about to happen.

As the morning approached, we each attempted to position our cameras and get some great shots (and video). In the image to the right, you can see the smoke from an active volcano. While most people were quiet and took in the sunrise, there was one Chinese tour group that periodically spoke as if they were the only ones present and ruined the event for some.

Borobodur is over 1000 years old and forms a perfect square. Viewed from above, it’s said to resemble a tantric mandala and Buddhist cosmology. The entire structure was built from over 2,000,000 volcanic stones and pieced together without any type of cement. The structure was built on a mountain and constructed from the top down. Since we were there for sunrise (at the top), this was how we walked through the temple.

Reaching for luck...Along the lower levels of the temple, there are over 2,500 reliefs depicting Buddhist teachings and Javanese history. However, only a quarter have been deciphered. Also on the lower levels are over 500 Buddha statues. The hand position varies on each statue dependent on its location. On the upper most level are 72 Buddha statues inside honeycombed stupas.

It’s said that if you can reach through the opening and touch the hand of one Buddha (facing the morning sun) you’ll receive good luck. As you can see to the left, Jo gave it a shot.

In all, we spent a good 4 hours walking nearly every inch of the temple. I think I took well over one hour of video (and I have just now begun to edit). Equally memorable about this visit was the reception Jo and I had. Since this is such a massive and important site, several school groups make the trip out there. As we were walking around the temple grounds, it was very common for Jo and I to be stopped and asked to join in school photos. On one occasion, a university class interviewed me (you’ll be able to see some of that in the upcoming video – BTW the interviewer loves Korea’s SS501).

It’s an incredible place to visit and I highly recommend it. Be there for sunrise. You won’t regret it! Here are some photos to wet your appetite for the video.


Written by Steve Miller

June 9, 2010 at 8:23 am

4 Responses

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  1. Wow, from the photo it looks like the sunrise was very well worth the incredibly early rising! Amazing! That photo sure is a keeper.


    June 9, 2010 at 12:47 pm

  2. I totally agree with Maurice. The pics are true keepers. I am so inspired to one day make my way there. Thanks for sharing.


    June 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    • Thanks Bill! I hope you can make it. The sight of the sun rising in the distance between the volcano and mountainous valley will move you!


      June 9, 2010 at 3:52 pm

  3. can’t wait for the videos.


    June 9, 2010 at 5:42 pm

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