The Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, an ancient site widely considered to be one of the world’s seven wonders. In the 1970’s the Indonesian Government and UNESCO worked together to restore Borobudur to its former majesty The restoration took eight years to complete and today Borobudur is one of Indonesia and the world’s most valuable treasures.
The temple is decorated with stone carvings in bas-relief representing images from the life of Buddha. Commentators claim that this is the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world, unsurpassed in artistic merit.
This monument is both a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. As visitors begin their journey at the base of the temple, they make their way to the top of the monument through the three levels of Budhist cosmology, Kamadhatu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). As visitors walk to the top the monument guides the pilgrims past 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades.
The whole monument itself resembles a giant stupa, but seen from above it forms a mandala. This main dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.
Historians suggest that the name of Borobudur comes from the Sanskrit ‘Vihara Buddha Uhr’ or the ‘Buddhist monastery on the hill’.
To see images of the magnificent Borobudur Temple, visit our Photo essay: Borobudur: The colossal Monument of Buddha