Borobudur

Located in central Java, the famous Buddhist temple of Borobudur is deservedly a tourist attraction in Indonesia not to be missed.

The remarkable Borobudur temple complex is a monument to the Lord Buddha. Constructed in the ninth century, Borobudur Indonesia has long since been a place for religious pilgrimage.

Comprising of 6 square platforms decorated with 504 Buddha statues stacking up like a pyramid, it is topped by 3 circular platforms on which a further 72 stupas are seated. Each stupa is bell shaped with intricate decorative displays. Located at the centre of the Borobudur monument is a large dome which is further topped by a larger lone standing stupa.

Having been abandoned following the decline of the Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms on Java sometime around the fourteenth Century, the monument was rediscovered by a British explorer Sir Thomas Raffles in 1814. Following a painstaking project to reclaim it from the jungle, it has since been restored and is now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since its re-discovery, Borobudur has continued to serve as a place of worship and pilgrimage among the Buddhist religion. The monument has also developed into a major tourist attraction in Indonesia.

Annually, the Borobudur Indonesia temple becomes the center of the Vesak festival. In commemoration of the birth, death and attainment of wisdom of Siddhartha Gautama, founder of the Buddhist religion, Borobudur becomes the epicenter of ceremony. The Vesak festival is marked by a procession of devotees walking between the Buddhist temples of Mendut and Pawon, ending finally at the Borobudur temple.

Guided tours of the Borobudur temple complex take you through a system of staircases and corridors that ascend up to the top platform. In reference to Buddhist cosmology, each ascent up to the next platform represents one stage further in the search for enlightenment.

Throughout Borobudur stand various Buddha statues. Some are cross legged in the lotus position, interspersed between the various square platforms while other smaller statues are contained within the bell shaped stupas. While most of the Buddha statues appear similar at first glance, closer inspection reveals subtle differences. The hand position of the Buddha varies between mundras, which correspond to the 5 cardinal points on the compass (North, East, South, West and Zenith). This subtle symbolism makes reference to Buddhist cosmology theory. Various panels adorning the tiered structure illustrate Buddhist teachings, cementing the belief that the site was intended as a place of worship.

For a real majestic view of this revered tourist attraction in Indonesia, be there for sunrise or sunset for a spectacular experience. You'd be assured of capturing some mesmerizing photographs to rival even the temples of Angkor in Cambodia. Local guides can be hired to escort you around the site and impart their wisdom. Alternatively, local tourist agencies offer group tours with transport to and from Borobudur Indonesia from the nearby town of Yogya.

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