Borobudur Temple (or Candi Borobudur)
Located in Magelang, Central Java, and about a 45-minute drive from Jogjakarta, this magnificent temple was built in the 9th century during the Sailendra Dynasty. It is the largest Buddhist temple and largest Buddhist monument in the world.
The best time to visit Borobudur is in the very early morning hours when you can enjoy the spectacular sunrise in the surrounding mountains and villages.
The temple is made up of nine stacked platforms, of which six of them are square and three of them are circular in shape. At the very top is the central dome surrounded by 72 Buddha statues, of which each of them are seated inside a stupa.
Borobudur Temple is decorated with more than 2,500 relief panels and over 500 Buddha statues. The temple was designed based on Javanese Buddhist architecture, blending the Indonesian indigenous cult of ancestor worshipping with Buddhist concept of achieving Nirvana.
After a series of volcanic eruptions around the 9th-10th century, the temple was abandoned and lay hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth. It was even more forgotten when the local population was introduced to Islam in the 15th century.
It was not until the British administration of Java from 1811 to 1816 led by Thomas Stamford Raffles, that Borobudur was rediscovered. H.C. Cornelius, a Dutch engineer, was sent to investigate when Thomas Raffles heard that there was a big monument hidden deep in a jungle near the village of Bumisegoro in Magelang. Due to the danger of collapse, the process of digging and unearthing took many years. By 1935, the entire temple was finally unearthed.
Since the rediscovery, the temple has been preserved through several restorations. The largest one took place between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO. Borobudur was then subsequently listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It remains to this day a shrine to the Lord of Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage, particularly during the annual Holy celebration of Waisak.