Categorized | Travel & Tourism

Richard Gere to visit Borobudur

Borobudur Temple in Magelang, Central Java, is hoping Hollywood star power can help boost its international profile.

Actor Richard Gere, who starred in 1990 hit “Pretty Woman,” will travel to the famous Buddhist temple next weekend at the invitation of the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.

Gere, a well-known Buddhist and advocate of human rights in Tibet, will arrive in Jakarta next Saturday then travel to Magelang for the following two days.

The ministry hopes the visit will boost tourism and help meet the target of 440,000 foreign visitors to Borobudur this year, said ministry spokesman Sapta Nirwandar.

“It took almost a year to invite and convince him that Indonesia is now safe to visit, especially Borobudur Temple, considering the eruption of Mount Merapi last year,” he told a press conference on Friday.

Purnomo Siswoprasetjo, the president director of Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, said Gere was scheduled to join the Morning Peace Walk with temple monks .

“He is also scheduled to watch a Sendratari Mahakarya Borobudur [The Masterpiece of Borobudur Ballet] which is only performed twice a year,” he said.

But Gary Plant, a consultant for the ministry who helped organize the visit, said the visit was more spiritual in nature.

“This is a pilgrimage for him and his family,” he said, adding Gere was not coming as a Hollywood star. “He asked for a trip that is as private as possible.”

Hardy Cung, a member of the Indonesian Buddhist community, said Gere would retrace some of the steps of Atista, the carrier of Buddhism, “who came to Borobudur Temple 1,000 years ago before he went to Tibet to spread the teaching.”

“Gere is a good Buddhist,” Hardy said. “Although he will not do the whole ritual in Borobudur, it’s enough to show his respect for Borobudur Temple as part of Buddhist history.”

Gere will also plant a boddhi tree, another Buddhist ritual.

After visiting Borobudur, Gere is scheduled to visit the neighboring Buddhist temples of Pawon and Mendut and the Hindu temple of Prambanan.

“His visit will conclude with a dinner with Yogyakarta Sultan Hamengku Buwono X at the palace,” Purnomo said.

The 62-year-old Gere starred in hits “Runaway Bride” and “Amelia,” but in recent years has reduced his on-screen presence as his humanitarian work has grown.

taken from The Jakarta Globe

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Farah Fitriani - who has posted 393 posts on Good News From Indonesia.

a single young woman full of spirit in making a better Indonesia, Bandung citizen, Law UNPAD'09 student, english teacher and a shopkeeper. you can contact her by mentioning @farafit in twitter or adding farahfitrianifaruq to have a little chitchat via GTalk.

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