It’s convenient that Borobudur and Prambanan, the two principal UNESCO world heritage sites in Indonesia, are located close together, Borobudur a few miles to the north west of Yogyakarta and Prambanan out in the eastern suburbs just beyond the airport. They were probably built at around the same time in the 8th and 9th centuries CE, but they couldn’t be more different in character.

Borobudur is an artificial mound, a set of ascending platforms and stairways leading up to a single bell-shaped stupa. There are terraces of smaller stupas at each level of the climb. In many cases they are broken, revealing inside stone-carved Buddhas gazing out over the plain to the mountains. It’s not known why is was abandoned, but because of its proximity to Mount Merapi, it was buried under ash for centuries before being rediscovered by Stamford Raffles, briefly governor during a period of British rule, in 1815. It is now set in well maintained parkland and we were fortunate in our guide Anit, one of the large number of guides accredited at the site.