Image by Geoffery iGV from Pixabay

Borobudur is an ancient Mahayana Buddhist temple in Magelang Regency, Central Java Province. It is one of the biggest Buddhist temples in the world and is often referred to as the very inspiring cultural heritage site.

Borobudur was built in the days of Syailendra Dynasty. It is believed that the architect who designed the temple was Gunadharma and it needed almost a century to complete all the hard work. The legend says that Borobudur temple was built by djinns in a night. Nevertheless, the archaeologists still lack evidence and no one else knows exactly who the real creator was.

Scientific research shows that there was an ancient lake around Borobudur temple a thousand years ago and the width of it was eight kilometers. Villagers took water from the lake to grow rice and vegetables. The temple looked like a lotus in the middle of the ancient lake from a distance. It’s a pity that the lake dried up and disappeared due to climate change and volcanic eruptions. The temple itself was buried under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth.

In 1814, Borobudur was discovered by Thomas Stamford Raffles who was so interested in Javanese culture. The old temple was in a very bad condition at the first time it revealed itself from the hidden place. Raffles’s efforts were certainly deserving of praise and this historic monument began to capture the world’s attention.

In the year 1900, the Dutch government wanted to save this cultural heritage and started the restoration of the temple complex. The World War II obstructed the restoration work and the condition of the temple became worse.

In 1960, the Indonesian government intended to seek help from UNESCO and the international community for saving this old Buddhist temple.

A large scale restoration began from 1973 to 1982. After the restoration completed, UNESCO listed the temple as one of the World Heritage Sites in 1991.

It is about 40 kilometers from Yogyakarta City. It needs an hour to reach there by motorcycle, car or public bus. Tourists from all over the world go there to admire the amazing view of this wonderful temple.

The best time to visit this site is in the morning. Pilgrims who would like to go to the top of the temple can hire umbrellas from the little boys. It’s very hot if you visit there at noon.

Soon after you go in the entrance, the stall keepers come to offer you the souvenirs. There are key rings, shadow puppets, artistic Buddha statue, etc. Sometimes you have to be smart enough to ask for bargain. It’s a great idea to take some photos in front of the souvenir stalls, so that you will be able to recall the sweet moment you spent with your loved ones someday in your old age.

Usually, people like carrying umbrellas and walk around to relax. When you feel thirsty, a vendor will come and offer you a bottle of mineral water. Besides, you can choose to buy instant coffee, tea or coca cola. If you feel tired, you may buy the traditional herbal drink (jamu) to restore your strength.

After you set foot on that temple, you will see a great number of reliefs carved on the walls and balustrades. There’re also dozens of stupas and Buddha statues sitting cross-legged. It’s a good opportunity for people who want to study more about Buddhism.

Visitors are requested to leave before sunset on a normal weekday. However, we are allowed to witness the magnificence of Borobudur on Vesak night. It is extremely awesome while the temple is lighted up with bright light.

On Vesak night, the breeze is so gentle and the stars twinkle like diamonds in the sky. It is indeed a holy and peaceful evening when the lanterns are released and start flying high.


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