HAL 2019 World – Days 56-57 Sea Day & Semarang, Java, Indonesia

March 21, 2019 Paul Groves

This morning we arrived at Semarang around 7:00 a.m.  Once again we were greeted by cultural dancers and musicians on the pier as well as a country and western combo inside the terminal!

We left the ship about 8:30 a.m. for a day long excursion entitled “Borobudur By Train”.

In order to get to the train we had to take a 1/2 hour trip by bus to the station in the village of Tuntang.  There were three buses from the ship on our tour and to make our traveling easier, we had a police escort all day!

We boarded the train and rode up the track for about a half hour.  Along the way we passed a large vegetation-covered lake which is basically used for various types of farming and huge rice fields.

As we pulled into the station at Ambarawa we were greeted by a group of elementary school children.  We reloaded our buses for an additional hour and a half ride to Borobudur.

Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple located on what is now a predominantly Muslim island. The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome or “stupa”. It is decorated with 2,672 carved panels many of which are about the life of Buddha and his parables.  There are also 504 Buddha statues. The central dome, or stupa, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a smaller perforated stupa.  No one know for sure why, but just a few short years after completion of the temple it was suddenly abandoned and consumed by the jungle.  It lay hidden for 1000 years until it was rediscovered and reclamation began in 1814.

To reach the top platform you have to climb some very  steep stairs.  By the time you’ve reach the top platform with the stupas, you’ve passed the the different realms of Hindu life and arrived at the enlightened stage.

We spent about an hour at the temple before descending to get to lunch.  After a very tasty meal we reboarded our bus for the return trip.