Just over 1200 years ago, a group of hardy ancient Indonesian Buddhists completed work on a massive temple site dedicated to Lord Buddha. Located between two volcanoes and two rivers, Borobudur Temple is a glorious monument to one of the world’s oldest religions. It serves today as a place of sacred pilgrimage for Buddhists to celebrate the life, death, and accomplishments of Siddhartha Gautama; better known as the very first Buddha.
Covered in nearly three thousand carved reliefs detailing the history of Buddhism and the life of Siddhartha, the design of the site resembles a lotus flower. It is a combination of Stupa and Candi styles of architecture indigenous to Indonesia. Unfortunately, the architects and designers of this majestic wonder have been lost to time. What has not been lost, however, is the wonder and awe that Borobudur Temple inspires.
Seeing millions of visitors every year, Borobudur is far and away the most popular tourist destination (both local and international) in Indonesia. This is one of the reasons it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, to restore and protect the area from the many people who come to see it. The latest restoration was in the 1970s; however there was another greater restoration in the 1800s.
The temple was abandoned for unknown reasons and discovered centuries later completely covered in volcanic ash and jungle growth. The Dutch explorers who located the shrine spent decades unearthing the grand structure and renewing interest in the site. Sadly, historical relics were not as protected then as they are now and it is unclear how much of the original building and its artifacts disappeared into the hands of souvenir hunters.
Borobudur Temple did have one thing going for it; it is completely massive. Measuring 115 feet high at the center point of its dome, covering over 19,000 acres, and measuring a total of 2,118,880 cubic feet it has been called a mountain of a thousand statues. Thus, there is still a lifetime’s worth of splendor left to discover. Everywhere you look there is something else new and beautiful to photograph. The mystery and wonders of Borobudur continue to amaze and surprise.
Located near Magelang City in Java, visitation is permitted between 6:00 am and 5:00 pm daily to allow for both the casual tourist as well as the many religious pilgrims who make there way here. Tickets to visit the site are available from 7:00 am to 6:00 pm. This sacred site also offers discounts to handicapped guests. With tours as varied as volcano viewing, to Javanese culture, to golfing expeditions, Borobudur is sure to delight anyone who is lucky enough to cross its threshold.
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