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(from the Moleskin travel diary ) ....on the Jl Malioboro in Yogyakarta we took Bis Kota 4 (City bus 4) to the central bus station.The vehicle was a huge, antediluvian monster. Rusty, grimy and with torn upholstery. It had two doors, with next to them conductors wearing soccer-shirts with the name of the bus company printed on it. They collected the fee (300 rp) and shouted out the name of the approaching stops.

The driver slowly double clutched the bus through the congested city traffic while more and more passengers got in. We arrived at the bus station in 45 minutes. To enter the regional part of it, we had to buy a ticket (50 rp).

The behavioral pattern of tourists is probably very predictable ‘cause we had just started looking for the bus to the Borobudur when we were approached by a local who said “Borobudur? “ and swifty escorted us to a still empty midi-bus. We thanked him and choose the backseat and were invited by the driver to sit in front “Better view!”. And indeed.

Outside the city he sped up with a relaxed yet decisive driving style. Overtaking on the wrong side, triple overtaking, using the shoulder of the road……. It was highly enjoyable and somewhat scary too– after 15 minutes we passed a Mercedes truck and trailer which rested on its side after crushing two roadside fruit stalls. Possibly it told the tale of an outcome of anomic drivin.

At the bus station we were greeted by a gaggle of bejak-men. We jumped in the bejak of the rider with the most pleasant smile and in no time he ‘paddled’ us to the gates of the Borobudur, which loomed impressively in the distance. We joined the longish cue and again swiftly and politely the people in front of us directed us to the tourist gate, with no cue, a higher prize (4000 in stead of 1000 rp, English speaking guide and booklet included )…..After taking the tour and visiting the museum we climbed the Borobudur. What a feeling, fantastic !

About the Borobudur: It is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist temple and the world's largest Buddhist one. It consists of nine vertically juxtaposed platforms topped by a central dome. The temple is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. It was designed in Javanese Buddhist architectural style, which blends the Javanese indigenous cult of ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana. The temple shows the influences of Indian Gupta style. It guides the visitors through an extensive system of stairways and corridors with many narrative relief panels on the walls and the balustrades. Borobudur has the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world. After its construction in the 9th century it was abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the Javanese conversion to Islam. It was ‘rediscovered’ in 1814 and since then preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The old temple is still used for pilgrimage; once a year, Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument and ascends to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology Kamadhatu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness).


Scan (with a Canon MP610) of a local (Bali) print on Kodak paper.

This is part of a series of scans - the Les Années Argentiques theme.

A larger view is here.

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Additional Photos by Bert Hoetmer (bertolucci) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1928 W: 122 N: 4345] (14052)
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