Location: 40 km northwest of Yogyakarta city in Java Island
Time of Visit: Throughout the year
How to Reach: Fly to Yogyakarta and thereafter travel by road in a cab, car, or horse-drawn cart; alternatively travel by train from Jakarta to Yogyakarta and then proceed by road.
Nearest Railway Station: Yogyakarta
Nearest International Airport: Yogyakarta International Airport
Time required for sightseeing: 2 hours
In 1814, Sir Thomas Raffles, after clearing layers of volcanic ash believed to have been emitted from Mount Merapi, saw glimpses of an ancient temple buried for centuries. Excavation work was immediately undertaken and went on till 1835. When excavations got completed, the world found itself face to face to one of the most fascinating spectacles it has ever seen the Borobodour was rediscovered. Subsequently, during Dutch colonial rule of Java, substantial damages were caused to the various statues, relief works, gates and stone blocks which were given away as gift items to various rulers and visitors. Restoration work from 1973 to 1984 re-established the temple to its former glory, and it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Sight in 1991.
Borobodur Indonesia is the largest monument of the Buddhists in the world. Built in Mahayana tradition, this stupa is located about 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta in Java Island. Borobodur temple representing the universe was built between 750 and 850 A.D. This mountain temple constructed with more than two million stone blocks is a representation of Buddhist cosmology. Not only of religious importance, this Buddhist stupa in Borobodur is of immense architectural significance as well.
Buddhist cosmological belief of the three levels of universe, ‘Kamadhatu’, ‘Ruphadhatu’, and ‘Arupadhatu’ are perfectly represented by this temple structure. ‘Kamadhatu’, or the world of desire, is depicted by reliefs of worldly passions in the hidden base of Borobodur temple. Most of the reliefs are destroyed except some left in the south east corner of the base. In the ‘Rupadhatu’, or world of forms level, you will discover impeccable representations of different stages of Gautama Buddha’s life. Here Siddhartha Gautama Buddha’s life is traced fro the time of his birth to the deliverance of his first sermon in Sarnath near Varanasi in India. You will be surprised at the reliefs depicting sickness, misery, old age and death.
Here you will also find the representations of the ‘Jataka’ tales which trail the path of Buddha’s previous births in form of birds, animals, thieves, slaves, princes, scholars, kings, and gods. Legend says that before being born as Siddhartha, Buddha had taken 504 births. In the ‘Arupadhatu’ or world of formlessness, the stories are carved in the form of glorious heavenly acts or ‘Dvijavadana’ and the hundred avadanas or ‘Avadana Satakas’.
The last three circular terraces will catch your attention. Notice the immense stupa at the crown of the temple surrounded by 72 smaller stupas. The huge circular stupa signifying tranquility and formless world is underlined by the three relief-less terraces. The largest stupa however, has a life sized statue of ‘kneeling Buddha’.
Go to Borobodur to view a visual representation of Lord Buddha’s teachings in its entirety. This massive monument on a mound is essentially a representation of life as viewed by Siddhartha Gautam Buddha. No where else on this earth’s surface will you discover such fuller depiction of life on stone. Borbodur in Indonesia is a lifetime visit.
Check out some of the most fascinating views of the Borobodour from these links:
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=lgONItFMHe8: This is the first of a two series documentary on the Borobodour temple. Discover the magnificence and grandeur of the temple from this video, including some of the greatest sculptures, relief works and artistic wonders in the temple.
http://in.youtube.com/watch?v=a0tf7wND1pY: Get a wonderful overview of the Borobodour temple in this authentic traveler’s video