Indonesia is famous for ancient temples and monuments. The magnificent Borobudur temple in Central Java, is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. This temple was constructed between about AD 778 and 850, under the Sailendra dynasty. There is no written history about who are the person who built it and the reason why this temple was built. It has 504 Buddha Statues in it with a main central dome situated at the center of the top platform.
Apart from its amazing architecture, Borobudur has an extra attraction because of its location. It is located in an elavated area between two twin volcanos and two rivers in Mageland, Central Java, Indonesia. Built with about 2,000,000 cubic feet (57,000 cubic m) of grey volcanic stone, Borobudur encloses a small hill and is shaped like a stepped pyramid. The base and the first five terraces being square and the higher three terraces being circular. The highest centre, 103 feet (31.5 m) above the base consists of a large individual stupa. Each of the terraces represents the individual stages toward perfection in a person’s life; the pilgrim’s walk takes one around the monument nine times (reflecting the mystic number of nine in Buddhism) before reaching the top. There are four stairways, one on each side, leading up to the top. Borobudur lay abandoned and hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and thick jungle growth. It was never forgotten entirely though with folklore ensuring that stories of the great monument lived on. Following the Anglo-Dutch Java War, Java briefly was under British administration from 1811 to 1816. The British governor was Thomas Stamford Raffles (the founder of Singapore) and he took a great interest in the history of the mystical island of Java. On a tour to Semarang in 1814, he was informed about a huge ‘lost’ monument deep in the jungles near Yogyakarta and he sent a Dutch engineer to investigate. It took 2 months to clear the jungle and partially reveal the amazing monument but it was not until 1835 that the complex was unearthed in its magnificent entirety. In 1973, a major plan to restore Borobudur was taken up by UNESCO. This long resurrection project between 1975 and 1982, got the glory back to the temples. The unsteady foundations were stabilized, everything was meticulously cleaned and a major drainage system installed. After the renovation was finished, UNESCO formally listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991. To reach Borobudur from Jakarta is to take a one hour flight to Yogyakarta. Borobudur is situated about 42 kilometers North West of Yogyakarta.