Aug. 2 – Prambanan
We easily caught a bus headed for Solo since they leave about every 10-15 minutes. Within ½ hour we were gazing upon the tall spires in the distance. Getting inside the complex was a more confusing task. Nothing was marked well so once permitted to enter an outer gate we strolled through the souvenir stalls and right in the exit with hardly a word of resistance. The Japanese and French tourist groups dispersed enough for some “all alone at the sight” looking photos. We climbed up into a few of the temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu, and Brahma. Much of the complex had collapsed by the last century and was only reconstructed partially starting 1937. Blocks of the former splendor lie all around the reconstructed temples some day to be reassembled if the puzzle can be re-imagined.
Aug. 3 – Borobodur
We decided sunset was a better time for Borobodur so we walked to the bus stop and squeezed on a crowded bus. We arrived at a good time in the late afternoon and wondered the monument without many crowds. The structure itself is magnificent. Six levels rise up to the three bell-shaped stupa rows. Like a giant intricately decorated wedding cake the temple rises out of the palms with the mountain range behind. The sun was filtered through a large cloud cover giving dramatic highlights to the background range. Circumambulating the lower tiers I was able to have a more solitary experience, appreciating the headless Buddhas, fragments of relief illustrations of Buddhist teachings, and the setting sun. Above I hadn’t noticed that the stupas contained anything until I saw two which had the top removed to reveal a sitting Buddha figure. I then peered through the latticed stone to see that they all had a Buddha figure. Most of them were headless but the head was no longer within the stupa. When, how had they been removed? The tourist groups thinned out and we enjoyed the view of the entire monument from down below on the lawn just as the sun beamed out to highlight the stone . . . just beautiful.