The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world and the worlds largest Buddhist temple. Some claim this to be one of the world’s seven wonders. It is located on the Indonesian island of Java near the town of Muntilan. The rulers of the Śailendra Dynasty built the Temple of Borobudur around 800 C.E. as a monument to the Buddha.
It took us 3 Hours to drive across most of central Java in Indonesia to visit Borobudur Temple. We hired a minivan and driver and set out early in the morning from Semarang in Northern Java and drove the 100km South to Borobudur Temple.
This is the largest ancient Buddhist temple in the world. This is a huge temple and is bigger than it looks in the photos. This is a popular tourist destination for locals and people from all over the world. It is also Buddhist pilgrimage destination so it can get a little busy at times. We are not fond of crowded tourist destinations but there are a few exceptions and this is one of them. Well worth the visit.
The temple consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular, topped by a central dome. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. The monument was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970s.
It is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Borobudur has the largest and most complete collection of Buddhist reliefs in the world.
Laid out in the form of a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha, Borobudur Temple Compounds is an exceptional reflection of a blending of the very central idea of indigenous ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana. The ten mounting terraces of the entire structure correspond to the successive stages that the Bodhisattva has to achieve before attaining to Buddhahood.
The best way to explore this site is on foot. however please be aware that to climb to the top you have to negotiate a lot of steps in the hot tropical weather so be prepared. During our visit it was sunny, hot and humid and many visitors were carrying umbrellas. The walk around all the galleries and narrow corridors is around 5 km if you follow the Buddhist pilgrims route.
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As you climb to the top of this magnificent temple you will marvel at the intricate detailed stone carvings displayed on the temples walls. You will certainly miss a great experience if you visit this enormous temple without learning about its history and importance which are captured on its many reliefs.
Guides are available for around Rp 50,000. This is a wise investment as a guide 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. For visitors with children, 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 in place to prevent them from disturbing visitors.
Borobudur is only 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 hire a cart (pulled by a horse) at a reasonable price. You can also take a day tour from Semarang driving through Wonosobo to Borobudur. We rented a minivan and driver from Semarang.