The magnificent Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. Candi Borobudur is located in Magelang on the island of central Java, and draws visitors from all over the world. This is one of world’s truly great ancient monuments, comprising well-preserved stairways, terraces, gateways and various stone reliefs. This temple becomes a center of worship for Buddhist in Indonesia. According to historians, the name of Borobudur comes from the Sanskrit ‘Vihara Buddha Uhr’ or the ‘Buddhist monastery on the hill’.
The temple was built around 800 BC or 9th century during the reign of Sailendra dynasty by Samaratungga, King of old Mataram Kingdom. It has been listed as one of the cultural heritage of UNESCO. Borobudur temple sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green fields and decorated with relief panels and 504 Buddha effigies. The great stupa at the top of the temple sits 40 meters above the ground. This main dome is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa. It covers an enormous area measuring 123 x 123 meters and it was built without using any kind of cement. The structure of this massive architecture is like a set of interlocking lego blocks held together without any glue.
The ten levels of the temple symbolize the three divisions of the religion’s cosmic system. 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). Kamadhatu, the base of Borobudur, symbolize human beings that are still bound by desire. Rupadhatu, the four levels above Kamadhatu, symbolizes man who had been able to break free from desire but still bound to manner and form. On this terrace, Buddha statues are placed in open space. Three levels above it, the Buddha statues are placed in a stupa with diamond-shaped holes around it. Arupadhatu, symbolizing man who has been free from desire, appearance, form and shape. The top part is called Arupa symbolizes nirvana, where Buddha is residing.
The temple is decorated with stone-carvings in bas relief representing images from the life and teaching of Buddha, the legendary story of Ramayana and the condition of society at that time.
This awe inspiring monument is truly a marvel. After visiting Borobudur, I understand why it is becomes one of Indonesia’s most famous icon of cultural heritage. With all its grandeur, Borobudur is the evidence of human intelligence has ever made in Indonesia.