Witnessing a glorious sunrise at Candi Borobudur

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sunrise at borobudur

Waking up at 4:00 AM to catch the call time at 4:30 was not easy. Feeling so tired after 10 days of lectures and study tour had taken its toll. I should have been staying in Yogyakarta the whole day and just enjoy the comforts of my hotel room and call it rest day but Indonesia's UNESCO World Heritage Site that is Candi Borobudur was beckoning. [Candi is a Javanese term for "temple' and is pronounced as "Chandi"].

Wherever and whatever I read about Borobudur Temple, everything points to sunrise as the best experience one should not miss. So weeks before my travel, I made sure I would have this experience. To get the advantage of experiencing sunrise in Borobudur, without having to wake up too early and travel from Yogyakarta, I booked at Manohara Hotel that stands right in the compound where Borobudur temple is located.

Borobudur Sunrise

On a chilly morning, I found myself walking along the dimly lit path amidst old trees dotting the way to the East gate of the temple. Upon reaching the plateau where the temple stands, I was again in awe. The stars that dotted the sky of the beautiful dawn, the bright moon and the floodlights that made the temple shine in the dark added to the drama that unfolded before my eyes, making this experience more sublime than I have ever imagined. Perhaps, it was the novelty of it all, and the fact that I am stepping on a famous heritage site, this sight was totally spellbinding.

The sun was yet to be seen rising from the East so I lingered a bit on the grounds to photograph the facade of the temple then I decided to climb up the steps leading to the top. Upon reaching the highest level, I realized there were already a lot of people, mostly Europeans, who had chosen their most comfortable and best spot.

Borobudur Sunrise

I found it hard to position myself to get the best view--trying not to obstruct people at my back. Between staying in one position to wait for the sunrise and moving about to get the best view from different angles and perspectives was a decision I had to make. Thanks to a rude tourist who told me while I was positioning my tripod on his left side that it was "his shot." Somewhat irked by his rudeness, I decided to move on and around until I stationed beside a lady who happens to be a professional photographer who would give way whenever I aim my camera.

Borobudur Sunrise

This encounter left me some lessons to live by:
  1. If you want YOUR shot, do not stick to one place. Move around and find out what other perspectives and points of view can give you. Because of that, I was able to discover more interesting subjects on the other sides of the temple. I was not confined to the cliche, I must say.
  2. If you are a real photographer, respect and give way to others who want to have a shot at the scene [life]. You do not own the beautiful scene. You are merely a spectator. As my friend, Cecile of SnapHappy Foodie puts it: "Sometimes we need other people to push us towards better directions, though not necessarily in a way as rude as that guy."
Applying it to daily life, I think we can be better persons.

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

Photography aside, seeing the sun rise behind Mt. Merapi and the plains of Magelang brought with it not only a sense of wonder but also the peace that comes from within my being. The mist rising from the plains was awe-inspiring and can easily cast a magic spell, while the warmth of the rising sun on your face was just assuring. One can only hear the stillness of the dawn and the murmurs from the tourists who were there to witness it as well. Glad that the people chose to be just silent spectators of the glorious rising of the sun. With this, all my stresses from the past weeks seem to have gone into oblivion. Sunrise has its own magical spell that revives your trodden spirit and awakens your senses. If I had another day to spend in Borobudur, I would just sit there and do nothing but wait for the sunrise unfold before my eyes.

Be that as it may, I wish to come and visit Borobudur again.

Borobudur Sunrise

Borobudur Sunrise

More photos at BOROBUDUR SUNRISE IN Flickr or the slideshow below.

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Aside from my day job, I love photography and storytelling. Going places--be it a cliche destination or the far side of the road--stoke and free my soul. I dig deeper into the people’s psyche, culture and ethnicity, and heritage. I love to observe how they thrive and build social institutions, preserve their culture and traditions.


Christian | Lakad Pilipinas said...

ang gandaaa!!!! nainggit ako ng mga limang beses

Admin/Author said...

Salamat Christian!