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Students in a long tail boat in Indonesia. Photo by Aaron Slosberg, Indonesia Semester.

Mini X-Phase: Borobudur

Hello from Jogja!

I’m posting this a little late, but better late than never right? Last Friday at 3 am, 13 Dragons arose from a deep sleep across the sprawling city of Jogjakarta. We met at the Rumah Naga at 4:15 am and by 4:30, we were weaving through the early morning traffic towards Borobudur.

A little background on Borobudur: Built in the 9th century, Borobudur is composed of 9 stacked platforms with a height of 35 meters, making it the largest Buddhist temple in the world. It is decorated with 504 Buddha statues and 2,672 relief panels, many of which are in very good condition. The temple was constructed in the 9th century then promptly abandoned in the 14th century during the Javanese conversion to Islam. In the 19th century, it was “rediscovered” by British explorers and eventually underwent construction between the 20th-21st century. It is now a UNESCO world heritage site.

A Morning at Borobudur: As the sun climbed slowly though the burning sky, the call to prayer reverberated through the fog. It traveled into the bell-shaped chambers and whispered into the ears of the Buddhas sitting inside before escaping back into the open air. As the golden red of morning faded into a pale yellow, the prayer quieted, leaving a tangible silence in the air. Dozens of swifts turned and spun above me, chasing each other towards the sun before wheeling dramatically to the earth and disappearing into the fog…