A very short holiday in Jogjakarta in Indonesia gave me an experience I was a bit unprepared for. Jogja as it is known locally, is renowned for Jawanese fine art, Batik, silver filigree work, etc. This city is also famous for two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Candi Prambanan and Candi Borobudur, both dating between 8th & 10th Centuries.
|The main structures of Candi Prambanan complex|
Candi Borobudur is a majestic Mahayana Buddhist temple built around & over a hillock, with the hillock forming the core. The open temple has 9 levels symbolizing the spiritual evolution of human from the lowest levels towards Moksha depicted by the empty big sealed stupa at the summit. This temple apart from plenty of relief panels has 504 Buddha statues. Each group of these statues facing a particular direction have a specific hand mudra. Structurally and architecturally it is indeed a wonderful case study allowing for perfect water drainage during rains, prevention of the structure crumbling due to erosion of the underlying hillock and so on..
A few details caught my attention at these two historical sites.
This experience brought me up close and personal to the strong reach of Hinduism & Buddhism in a predominantly Islamic state thousands of miles away from India, more so during an era when technology, communication and transportation were not as advanced as it is today. Also, it was heartwarming how these two temples are respected and held sacred by the people of this city, named after Ayodhya, irrespective of their race and religious leanings.
A truly enriching experience.