blog.indahnesia.com - Discover Indonesia Online

    
You are currently in > Just a blog about Indonesia > Borobudur assailed by commerce demons


YOGYAKARTA - Borobudur temple rises in an immense dark stone pyramid from a fertile volcanic plain, a spiritual monument at the centre of a battle over tourism and commerce.

Indonesia's fortunes have waned since the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s and the world's largest Buddhist monument with its tourist pulling power is a cash honey pot in tough times. But hawker numbers at the Unesco World Heritage site have exploded and tourists find themselves besieged by sometimes aggressive sellers of everything from postcards to toys.

Photo of an open stupa of Candi Borobudur, taken bij Jeroen van der Linde

Now, regional authorities want to clean up the area with new shopping projects that critics say are an even greater threat to the integrity of the site in the heart of Java, Indonesia's main island. "Promotion of shopping tourism within the preservation precinct of Borobudur is simply not acceptable," said Richard Engelhardt, Unesco regional adviser for culture in Asia and the Pacific.
"The site is supposed to be a site of solitude and meditation where you can bring yourself to a point where you and nature become one, and you can't do this if you are ringed by a shopping mall." Borobudur, not far from Java's ancient royal capital Yogyakarta, dates back to around 800 AD, long before Islam became the dominant religion in the world's most populous Muslim nation.
The monument was neglected and abandoned for almost a thousand years before it was rediscovered under volcanic ash and jungle in the 1800s, when a survey team investigated talk of a great ruin in central Java.

Little religious significance to Indonesians

For many Indonesians, the religious nature of the site is of little importance to them and this partly explains the planned commercialisation, say some experts. Borobudur represents a Buddhist view of the universe, comprising a series of square and circular terraces that allow visitors to move upward from the everyday world to a large bell-shaped stupa representing nirvana.
The square terraces lie within stone walls carved in intricate detail which provide lessons to pilgrims through scenes illustrating Buddhist thought and the life of Buddha. Steep stairways rise to the wide-open circular terraces, where stone-lattice stupas contain Buddha statues overlooking the tropical green plain and its distant volcanoes.
It's a landscape that evokes a sense of calm, enhanced by the the monument's peaceful, if mysterious, atmosphere. The detail of the stone reliefs and serene expressions of the statues add to the effect. But serenity is missing in the car park where calls of "Look madame, batik postcard", "Hello...water?", "Like pen?", "This book", "Maybe later?" is the typical chorus following tourists.
Dutch tourists Rob and Angela Joosten from Amsterdam said the temple held a mystique, but the hawkers were irritating. "They are quite aggressive and pushy...Some I can understand, but there are too many," said Rob Joosten. Borobudur is not the only monument of global significance where tourists run a gauntlet of sales people. But Ken Scott of Pacific Asia Travel Association said it was toward the bad end of the spectrum.
"If people travel around the world to see this acclaimed Buddhist structure you want to make sure that they enjoy the experience and are not hassled to buy irrelevant goods or to have the experience downgraded by commercial elements," he said. Last year Borobudur attracted more than two million tourists, mostly Indonesians, as foreign numbers fell after the 2002 Bali bombings and a wider international travel downturn.

Shopping mall suggested

But the enduring drawing power of the site and the existing problems have sparked retail plans that have horrified Unesco, the cultural arm of the United Nations. These include the Jagad Jawa, or Spirit World of Java retail shopping complex and light rail system proposal suggested last year by the Central Java authorities and later put on hold after a widespread outcry.
Engelhardt said various concepts were still circling. "The issue of the shopping mall keeps coming up in many different forms and guises," he said. Unesco and the International Council on Monuments and Sites, which advises on world heritage listings, favour some retailing, but prefer a lower-key local arts and crafts bazaar that would assist and involve the nearby community.
Current items sold are mostly viewed as low quality, generic goods that benefit traders from outside the region. The issues are to be considered at a Unesco World Heritage Committee meeting in China from June 28 to July 9. Unesco also wants more emphasis at Borobudur on the historic, cultural and spiritual values that are often lost on visitors scrambling to the top for the view and a photo.
Wiendu Nuryanti, director of tourism research and development at the Yogyakarta-based research group Stuppa Indonesia, said there was great pride and appreciation of Borobudur within Indonesia. But she said the issues at the site partly reflected a disconnect between a predominantly Muslim community and a site seen as a relic from a long-ago era.
"There is no direct religious link between the temple and the (Muslim) community," she said. "If this monument lived in the middle of a Buddhist society I think it would be different."



Posted in Culture @ 10 June 2004 by Jeroen · 'Blog' RSS feed · permalink






There are no reactions on this blog entry yet. Be the first one to give a reaction here!


Log in to write a reaction

You are not logged in to the website. You have to be logged in to write a reaction on this blog entry.

· If you already have an account, please login.
· If you have lost your password, please retrieve it.
· If you don't have an account yet, you can create one.

    
 ABOUT THIS ENTRY
Add this blog entry to your email, your own blog, MySpace, Facebook, or whatsoever via AddThis:
Bookmark and Share

e-mail updates for this blog article

Login if you want to receive emails for reactions on this blog entry. You will receive an update as soon as a reaction on this blog entry is posted.

Your website for tickets in Indonesia!
Looking for e-tickets for flights in Indonesia? Here's your solution! Order your e-tickets at ticketindonesia.info.
 FOLLOW US ON TWITTER
 BLOG ARCHIVE
· 2015, 28 entries
· 2014, 591 entries
· 2013, 750 entries
· 2012, 1061 entries
· 2011, 792 entries
· 2010, 644 entries
· 2009, 916 entries
· 2008, 504 entries
· 2007, 725 entries
· 2006, 1014 entries
· 2005, 723 entries
· 2004, 558 entries
· 2003, 525 entries
· 2002, 375 entries
· 2001, 162 entries
 POPULAR TAGS
· gigolo
· jakarta
· blogger
Automatically generated every hour
 BLOG CATEGORIES
· General (1205 entries)
· Economy (643 entries)
· Politics (574 entries)
· Accidents (561 entries)
· Terrorism (541 entries)
· Earthquake (539 entries)
· Volcanoes (387 entries)
· Crime (357 entries)
· Corruption (349 entries)
· Flooding (278 entries)
· Elections (276 entries)
· Travel (268 entries)
· Bird Flu (254 entries)
· Religion (242 entries)
· Tourism (239 entries)
· Oddly enough ... (219 entries)
· Violence (198 entries)
· Drugs (196 entries)
· Health (192 entries)
· Aceh conflict (191 entries)
· Environment (185 entries)
· Weather (171 entries)
· Military (168 entries)
· Protests (157 entries)
· Culture (106 entries)
· Garuda Indonesia (91 entries)
· C. Sulawesi conflict (86 entries)
· Human rights (82 entries)
· Forest fires (78 entries)
· Sidoarjo mudflow (71 entries)
· Power supply (64 entries)
· Ramadan (63 entries)
· PT Freeport (55 entries)
· Picture guess (48 entries)
· Maluku conflict (47 entries)
· History (37 entries)
· Dengue Fever (37 entries)
· Infrastructure (36 entries)
· Polio (35 entries)
· Mexican flu (35 entries)
· Website (25 entries)
· Media (22 entries)
· Nuclear power (21 entries)
· Sports (20 entries)
· Sexy (16 entries)
· SARS (15 entries)
· Nightlife (10 entries)
· Others (5 entries)
· Lippo Cikarang (5 entries)
· Close smallest categories
 EXCHANGE RATES
EUR-IDR: 16,590 · 16,620  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 18:12 CET
JPY-IDR: 126.83 · 126.95  The Rupiah rate improved since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 21:58 CET
MYR-IDR: 3,545 · 3,549  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 15 May 2018 08:42 CET
SGD-IDR: 10,479 · 10,501  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 07 May 2018 07:48 CET
THB-IDR: 439.14 · 439.41  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 16 May 2018 09:18 CET
USD-IDR: 14,097 · 14,157  The Rupiah rate declined since yesterday
@ 17 May 2018 00:46 CET
Go to 'exchange rates' 
 MOST RECENT REACTIONS
·  At 20 September 2018 06:54 erik12 reacted on Fuel prices lowered, again
·  At 19 October 2015 17:17 imambudianto5 reacted on Bank Indonesia maintains benchmark interest rate at 7.75%
·  At 04 March 2015 19:18 merdekaSah reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 04 March 2015 13:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Alleged terrorists shot dead three villagers in Poso
·  At 26 February 2015 13:02 Irena reacted on Sexy, a young woman with candy
·  At 08 May 2014 09:51 jstar reacted on No alcohol should be sold in warung
·  At 01 May 2014 10:07 jstar reacted on Indonesia to be among the top 10 peacekeeping contributors
·  At 27 March 2014 05:50 harlys reacted on PPP leader voices concern over Islamic parties' future
·  At 10 March 2014 06:11 Yogya-Bali reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 09 March 2014 00:11 Yerun reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 08 March 2014 20:33 nicknick reacted on Sriwijaya Air leaves behind 200 passengers at airport
·  At 18 February 2014 04:17 Yerun reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 16 February 2014 05:41 Amed East Bali reacted on Ash from Mount Kelud eruption spreads over all of Java
·  At 14 February 2014 22:27 Anne Mieke reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 14 February 2014 22:22 beritaislam reacted on Asylum seekers in Medan wish to be sent to Australia
·  At 16 January 2014 15:37 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:21 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 15:05 Anne Mieke reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:48 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
·  At 16 January 2014 14:41 Yerun reacted on Landslides cut off Tomohon-Manado road
Go to 'forum topics' 

Created by indahnesia.com · feedback & contact · © 2000-2019
Other websites by indahnesia.com: ticketindonesia.info · kamus-online.com · indonesiepagina.nl · suvono.nl

Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional 117,003,952 pageviews Discover Indonesia Online at indahnesia.com