Herman Nootix in Indonesia
Herman: Borobudur, Indonesia. A fascinating spot in a fascinating country. Let’s look around.
Indonesia is a vast country with hundreds of languages and many forms of religion. But, there are two main faiths; Islam, practiced here on Java and throughout most of the country, and Hinduism, which still dominates the nearby island of Bali. If you want to understand a country’s people, learn about their religion.
This is the largest Buddhist temple in the world. Borobudur on the island of Java. The temple was historic, even in 794 AD when it was built. Its thousands of intricate carvings show episodes from the life of Gautama Buddha, a man who lived a thousand years before the builders. There are layers of history here, and that’s why I love it!
This huge shrine is made of hundreds of smaller monuments called stupas, each an intricate structure. The stupas’ square bases are topped by domes with statues of Buddha behind cut-out windows. It all represents the search for enlightment, which is simply put the central goal of Buddhism. Pardon me, I do get abstract, don’t I?
The most amazing thing about Borobudur is how it all comes together as a whole. All those intricate stupas unite to form one huge stupa, thousands of feet high, and acres around! And the builders even got nature to help. The shrine was built on a hill, so the dome happened naturally incredible!
2,500 years ago, far from here in central India, the Buddhist faith emerged from the teachings of Gautama Buddha. That’s a statue of him behind me. Some Buddhists believe that doing good deeds is a way to enlightment, and making an image of Buddha is a good deed. There are more than 700 Buddha statues here. That’s a lot of good deeds.