Borobudur

The main purpose of my trip to visit Indonesia was to see Borobudur, the largest Buddhist temple in the world.

The easiest was to do it was as part of a tour or at least to have a driver as Borobudur was quite far from Yogyakarta.

Through the hotel I arranged to have a driver/ tour guide with an itinerary to start the day at 3.30am!! in order to capture Borobudur at sunrise from a nearby vantage point at the top of a hill. From there we would travel to Borobudur and then onto Prambanan a 9th century hindu temple. I was joined on the tour with a guy called Boy, who was Javanese, from Indonesia, a great guy that I later went onto to with to see Bali and Lombok.

Wiki info on Borobudur:

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues each of which is seated inside a perforated stupa. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

Built in the 9th century during the reign of the Sailendra Dynasty, the temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture, which blends the Indonesian indigenous cult of ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.

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The view of Borobudur at sunrise

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Borobudur

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The temple also demonstrates the influences of Gupta art that reflects India’s influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. The monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. The journey for pilgrims begins at the base of the monument and follows a path around the monument and ascends to the top through three levels symbolic of Buddhist cosmology: Kāmadhātu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). The monument guides pilgrims through an extensive system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the walls and the balustrades. Borobudur has the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world.

Evidence suggests Borobudur was constructed in the 9th century and abandoned following the 14th-century decline of Hindu kingdoms in Java and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, then the British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage; once a year, Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction.

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