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Borobudur in Indonesia

By Peter Vredeveld at
Burubudur temple complex at sunset
The Borobudur is the most famous Buddhist monument in Indonesia.

Indonesia has been widely known as a country with countless precious Buddhist artifacts and temples in the world. Among countless of temples, Borobudur has been one of the most famous Buddhist monument and is also one of the biggest Buddhist cultural heritage . Dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, this massive Buddhist temple is located in central Java in Indonesia. This extraordinary Buddhist temple was built in a three tiers, the first tier consisting of a pyramid base along with five concentric square terraces, the second tier with the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and at the final tier at the top, a stupa. This monumental Buddhist temple is regarded as the region of origin of Mahayana Buddhism in Magelang, central Java. The artistic representation of Buddhist values and Buddhist stories depicted in the grandeur and complexity of Borobudur will leave any tourist or followers of Buddhism spell bounded as the architecture of the temple conveys the message of tradition which was followed in the ancient times.

Restored with the help of UNESCO in the 70s, the temple was buried under the volcanic ash till it was discovered in 1815. The temple covers astonishing surface area of 2500 square meteres. The walls and balustrades are well decorated with fine low reliefs while there are around 72 openwork stupas around the circular monument. The temple’s architecture and stonework are very unique given that the fact that this temple was built without using any kind of cement or mortar.

Borobudur temple compound is the holy representation of Lord Buddha . However, the monument was built when Indian pilgrims had spread Buddhism and Hinduism teachings all over the Asia, which together did not leave Indonesia edifying. The glorious dynasties of central Java seemingly built diverse religiously significant architectures around the whole country. It is noteworthy that Buddhism and Hinduism are found to be living together harmoniously beside each other across central java.

  • Buddha statue at Borobudur temple

Borobudur Temple History

There is not any actual evidence proving the real existence of Borobudur and deliberated a purpose of its construction. The establishment of the temple is approximately evaluated from the inscription carved on temple’s hidden foot. Prevailing confusion is that whether the temple was built during the predominant period of Buddhist or Hindus. What was the real intention for building such a wonderful masterpiece of art, history and religion? Though the Sailendra dynasty is believed to be fervent of Buddhism , the carved scripts however suggest they might have been Hindus. Borobudur was erected during the same period when Prambana was constructed. Many worldly recognized Buddhists and Hindu monuments were built in Indonesia during that period. Mountains of Kedu plain are the holy place consisting of a variety of pilgrimage sites.

Rediscovery of Borobudur Temple

The Borobudur lay hidden for a very long time due to volcanic ash and thick forest for over years. The fact of its existence was a mystery before the reign of British in Indonesia. When the British appointed Lieutenant Thomas Stamford Raffles took an interest in Java history. During an inspection, he was informed about a big monument deep in the jungle. Later he appointed an engineer to discover the facts about rumors. Under his surveillance, lieutenant ordered a group of 200 men to cut down the vegetation and dig deep inside. Meanwhile, they successfully discovered the hidden treasure Borobudur temple in central Java. Monument is said to be built during the sovereign of Sailendra dynasty . The temple has six different square levels topped by three circular platforms and is furbished with 2672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome is situated at the center of the top platform where 72 seated Buddha statues are placed around the center stupa periphery. The indigenous cult of Indonesia built this temple in order to spread the Buddhism concept of salvation. Some believed that Borobudur temple is the gigantic textbook of Buddhism whose bas-reliefs has all the inscription about Buddha’s life and principles Gautama spread attaining enlightenment .