Located near Magelang, in Central Java province, Amanjiwo is surrounded by beautiful temples, rivers and mountains. Naturally, temple tours are a highlight of a stay at this luxury resort.
“The Art of Doing Nothing is also the Art of Amanjiwo.” This quote echoed in my mind as I sipped my Jiwo Mocha cocktail in the peaceful Amanjiwo dining room, a perfect mix of Frangelico, Tia Maria and Java Mocha playing over my palate as I gazed at the silhouette of Borobudur Temple. It was a blissfully serene afternoon, and it was exactly moments like this that I imagined when I first heard the quote upon arrival at this beautiful resort. Time seems to stand still here. A friendly woman approached me, rousing me from my daydreams, and with a gentle smile reminded me of the Dawn at Borobudur tour tomorrow. I replied with excitement and a hope for good weather.
The Dawn at Borobudur leaves the resort daily at 4.15am and guests arrive at the world-famous temple by at least 4.30am. The fresh morning air greeted me as I walked toward Borobudur, the temple looming up against the dark sky. We use a shortcut from the parking lot to the temple, which takes about 10 minutes. Guests are given flashlights since the morning is still dark. There are already a number of people at the temple waiting for the sunrise, each having secured their place among the stupas spread across Borobudur. Fortunately the weather is good and the sky is clear, so we can see Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi in the distance. In about 30 minutes the colour of the sky begins changes, with traces of beautiful reds and oranges emerging against the lightening blue sky. As the sun slowly rises majestically between Merbabu and Merapi, some of the people on the temple take out their cameras to capture the moment, while others perform their morning prayers. As for me, I simply enjoy this serene moment to the fullest.
With the sun fully risen in the blue sky, we begin our Borobudur Intellectual Tour. Our guide, Bapak Muji, explains the history and meaning behind the carvings and sculptures of this majestic temple for about an hour. We are awed by the rich stories of the world’s largest Buddhist temple and one of the most sacred places for Buddhist devotees. There are magical feelings even if you are not Buddhist.
We continue our journey to Selogriyo Temple, about an hour’s drive from Borobudur. Candi Selogriyo was built in 9 BC, facing eastwards, about five metres in length, width and height, without an open veranda. This is a relatively small temple compared to others in the area and one of the highlights is the journey to the place. From the parking lot there is about a two-kilometre walk to the temple entrance, concluding with a walk up 160 steep steps.
While the journey may not be for the faint-hearted, the sights and sounds of the temple and the surrounding landscape make it all worth the effort. The surrounding terraced fields and Mount Sumbing, with little streams of crystal-clear water along the road, the fresh air and warm light of the sun, wipe away the fatigue and energize me as I drink in this picturesque scene.
Dawn at Borobudur, Borobudur Intellectual Tour and Selogriyo Tour are perfect additions to your itinerary whenever you stay at Amanjiwo or if you happen to be in the area.
Text by Dennis Latif | Photos by Philip Kwok