Notes on the Geography of Indonesia: Borobudur's Setting
Java is famous for its incredibly dense population. Here, mostly in the hills a couple of miles west of Borobudur, is some evidence of that crowding.
Despite the tourist crowds, you only need go a mile from Borobudur to find yourself in paddy country. It's not quite as peaceful as it looks: the narrow road that passes here has a steady stream of men, women, and children on motorbikes.
There's a range of housing, including very traditional ones despite the electrical wires in the background and the factory-made clothing drying in the front.
The paddy depends on water coming from the hills in the background. We'll climb up one of them.
Our destination is that prominence on the left: with a bit of imagination you can see a man lying down. He's reputedly the builder of Borubudur. Perhaps you can make out a lump that seemingly projects just this side of his forehead. That's where we'll actually get.
So long as the land is flat, there's a road; once we're in the hills we'll be on a trail.
Almost exactly at roadhead, there's an Aman Resorts hotel. The path points straight to Borobudur.
Beyond lie rugged and seemingly empty mountains.
Lots of water comes down the slopes.
At the bottom, it gets more tranquil before being put to agricultural use.
The main peak is the forehead lump we saw a few pictures back. See that stony knob on the left? We'll see it again, from the top of the peak.
Meanwhile, look more closely at the hillside: near the center you can make out the lines of terraced crops.
A closer view: freshly cut terraces.
People live up here. A few women come home with their shopping.
They're heading to the top, where somebody has manhandled a small mountain of bricks all the way up to a village.
At the summit, some flat land is cultivated.
Bamboo is extracted, too, and carried a long way down.
At roadhead, it's loaded on trucks.
From the top, a view of the "bump" seen earlier. Down below, paddy lands and villages.
From the summit looking straight to Borobudur, which is in the center of the image.
Close-up: Borobudur's at the upper right.
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