Borobudur temple in Indonesia is the largest Buddhist temple and one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world

Marija Georgievska
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The Borobudur Temple is a Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, a monumental stupa.

The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. Photo Credit

The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. Photo Credit

 

Borobudur is located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes, Sundoro-Sumbing and Merbabu-Merapi, and two rivers, the Progo and the Elo. Photo Credit

Borobudur is located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes, Sundoro-Sumbing and Merbabu-Merapi, and two rivers, the Progo and the Elo. Photo Credit

The age of the temple is uncertain, but the date of construction is thought to have been between the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century A. D., during the Sailendra dynasty.

There is no written record of who built the Borobudur or of its intended purpose. Photo Credit

There is no written record of who built the Borobudur or of its intended purpose. Photo Credit

The temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture, which blends the Indonesian indigenous cult of ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana. Built as a single large stupa, when viewed from above the temple takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind.

The temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture. Photo Credit

The temple was designed in Javanese Buddhist architecture. Photo Credit

The central dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, each seated inside a perforated stupa. The lowest level has 160 reliefs depicting cause and effect. On the middle level are various stories of the Buddha’s life from the Jataka Tales. At the highest level is a balcony, square in shape with round walls. The whole structure is in the form of a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha.

One of the Buddha sculptures at the temple. Photo Credit

One of the Buddha sculptures at the temple. Photo Credit

The temple complex laid hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth. The facts behind its abandonment remained a mystery.

Borobudur Temple is surrounded by mountains nearby. Photo Credit

Borobudur Temple is surrounded by mountains nearby. Photo Credit

Worldwide knowledge of the temple’s existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the then 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.

Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument. Photo Credit

Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument. Photo Credit

After the major renovation funded by UNESCO, Borobudur is once again used as a place of worship and pilgrimage.

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The monument is the single most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.