Located on the island of Java, the magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. The temple sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green fields and distant hills. Built between AD 780 and 840 during the reign of Syailendra dynasty, the temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects India’s influence on the region. However, there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian.
It covers a total surface area of around 2,500 m2. The monument is a marvel of design, decorated with 2,672 relief panels and originally 504 Buddha statues. The architecture and stonework of this temple have no equal. It was built without using any cement or mortar! The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue.
The Borobudur temple has remained strong even through ten centuries of neglect. It was rediscovered in 1814 under the order of Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles. In the 1970s, the Indonesian Government and UNESCO worked together to restore Borobudur to its former majesty. The restoration took eight years to complete, making Borobudur one of Indonesia’s most valuable treasures.
The temple is decorated with stone carvings in bas-relief, representing images from the life of Buddha. Commentators claim that this is the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world, unsurpassed in artistic merit.
Get Around Borobudur Temple
The best way to explore this site is on foot. As you climb to the top of this magnificent temple, you will marvel at the intricately detailed stone carvings displayed on its walls. While you visit this enormous temple, make sure to learn about its history and importance, which are captured on its many reliefs.
Guides are available to help you learn more about this monument. They will be able to walk you around the site and explain the history of the temple, beginning with its construction during the Syailendra dynasty. The stone carvings attached to the temple display legends and stories, which have great philosophical significance. Don’t miss the massive green grass area surrounding the Borobudur site.
You may choose to walk through Green Park from the entrance. Many vendors will offer you souvenirs and other knick-knacks as you walk through this area. However, there are regulations to prevent them from disturbing visitors.
Get to Borobudur
Borobudur is about an one hour’s drive from Yogyakarta. The easiest way to get there is by joining a tour or renting a car. During your journey to Borobudur, enjoy the fresh cool air of Magelang city with its roads lined with big shady trees. Borobudur itself stands tall against the spectacular backdrop of the Menoreh mountain range that surrounds it.
Entering the temple compound is easy, and most visitors choose to wander around on foot. Alternatively, you can chart a horse-drawn carriage at a reasonable price.