Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Yogyakarta, Day 2

Day 2 started before dawn. We eagerly waited for our tour guide to pick us up at 430am to Borobudur. Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist temple in the ninth century and was completed way before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. Borobudur has 1460 relief panels and 504 Buddha effigies. 

We watched Mr Sunshine peeking from behind Mount Merapi and the mist begins to dissipate while eating our sandwiches.
The base of Borobudur, called Kamadhatu, symbolizes human being that are still bound by lust. The upper four stories are called Rupadhatu symbolizing human beings who have set themselves free from lust but are still bound to appearance and shape. On this terrace, Buddha effigies are placed in open space; while on the other upper three terraces, Buddha effigies are confined in domes with holes are called Arupadhatu, symbolizing human beings that have been free from lust, appearance and shape. The top part that is called Arupa symbolizes nirvana, where Buddha is residing.
I was awestruck by the structure. It was really a wonder on how they have built such a magnificent structure way back before civilization.
We were served breakfast with this delicious banana fritters with cheese.
For me, watching the sunrise in Borobudur is the highlight of the trip. It was just so calm and peaceful. We are lucky that there weren't many people at that time. 
Next, we proceeded to Candi Mendut (Mendut Temple) which is 3km eastward from Borobudur. It is a Buddhist temple, built in 824 A.D. Nearby is another Buddhist temple called Candi Pawon, westward from Mendut Temple and eastward from Borobudur. Pawon Temple is not a grave but a place to keep King Indra's weapon namely Vajranala. This temple was built with volcanic stones. Architecturally it is a blend of old Javanese Hindu and Indian art. 
By mid day, we were on our way to Dieng Plateau, a few hours drive from Yogya. Dieng Plateau is an upland volcanic plain, famous for its scenery and ancient Hindu temples.
Built in the middle of Dieng Plateau, Arjuna temple is one of the Asia's most mysterious temples because there are not many reliefs and inscriptions about the temple. 
Next stop is Sikidang Crater. We were greeted by a strong odour as soon as we arrived at Sikidang Crater. The smell of sulphur can be a nuisance at first but I guess we kind of get used to it by the time we leave the place. The place is still popular for brimstone mining. Despite the strong odour, the steam contains sulfur that is believed to smooth the skin and eliminate acne. Hmmm...
A short distance away is Telaga Warna (the Colorful Lake). It's a bright green volcanic lake that reminds CY of Lake Tekapo in NZ.
I insisted to try Mie Ongklok, the famous must eat dish in Dieng. I loved it. Thought it might not be so clean but I think that's what makes it special, eating by the roadside with wooden benches. 

Our journey back to town was hell-ish was half way through, we had to U turn as there was an accident ahead. It took us double the time to get back.
After a long day, we all went to bed exhausted but excited thinking of the next day's itinerary.
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