The Borobudur Temple Compounds is a ninth century Buddhist temple complex. It was built on several levels around a natural hill.
Borobudur is built as a single large stupa, and when viewed from above takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind. The foundation is a square. It has nine platforms, of which the lower six are square and the upper three are circular. The upper platform features seventy-two small stupas surrounding one large central stupa. Each stupa is bell-shaped and pierced by numerous decorative openings. Statues of the Buddha sit inside the pierced enclosures.
The site was rediscovered in the 19th century, and restored in the early 20th. In 1973 a major renovation took place that was funded by UNESCO.
Two smaller Buddhist temples, Pawan and Mendut, are part of the designated area too.
Visit October 2009
Together with the Taj Mahal and Angkor, the Borobudur is probably one of the three most iconic WHS. I visited it at sunset. At first I was amazed that the monument cannot be seen from the road - I had always thought that it is very big? Also, when I finally got it in my view, it looked much less spectacular than I had imagined. Most of the stones are dark from exposure to the elements.
I climbed the monument by going round clockwise at every level. That's when the site certainly started to grow on me. The sheer number of carvings into the walls, and their little details, kept me interested layer after layer. At some points there are whole reliefs, like paintings, displaying parts of a boddhisatva's life or a historic scene.
The top, the central stupa surrounded by little stupas, is where all the visitors congregate. It looks a completely different place than the levels below. It's a fine spot to relax after the climb, and to contemplate all that you've seen underway. There are great views over the surrounding fields and mountains too.
Frederik Dawson - October 2016
Apart from Bali, Borobudur is maybe the most well-known cultural site of Indonesia, its iconic image is widely used to represent Buddhism or exotic of Southeast Asia which turned Borobudur to be a must see place in this country. It was a dilemma that should we stay near Borobudur and join the famous sunrise tour or not, but since we visited Indonesia on monsoon season which normally has raining in the early morning and late afternoon, so we decided to stay in the city of Yogyakarta instead and made a day trip instead. On the late showering morning, our driver took us to Borobudur, when our van left Yogyakarta’s city limit the rain stopped and finally we could ensure that our visit will be dry.
The first sight of Borobudur was a big surprised for us as we expected Borobudur to be gigantic likes Great Stupas in Anuradhapura of Sri Lanka, but the structure is still big enough and not totally destroy our imagination. The size of Borobudur reminded me lesser complex of Khmer Civilization of Angkor Wat or Pyramid of Maya in Mexico. When we approached near Borobudur, the blackish of the whole structure made we felt a bit bore on its overall visual design. The colors of tourists’ dresses who walked on Borobudur’s upper area were far more eye-catching! Then our guide showed us the first floor of the whole complex which full of beautiful cravings depicting stories of Buddha and many Buddhist legends. The quality of art is magnificent, really beautiful and in the same par of great mural of Angkor and Ellora. When we went higher and higher in each floors, more beautiful cravings could be seen including lovely Buddha statues and small stupas. One of the impressive structures are the four gates of each floors which seemed very fragile and prompted to collapse by just small push, but actually very strong structures. One of the unbelievable thing we had in Borobudur was that during we saw those cravings on lower floors, we had not seen or encountered any tourists at all, and when we reached the top floor, we finally met all fellow tourists. To be honest for art quality, the top floor were quite boring with only two types of stupa, the Buddha statues inside stupas were hard to see except the one that seem to be intended not to be restored in order to show the Buddha image which became a must shot for souvenir photographs. However, the view of surrounding valley and the view of stupas were breathtaking and really photogenic. After walking around on the top floor, we decided to climb down, our guide explained to us that since the beginning of construction, the weight of the whole Borobudur complex made the whole structure to collapse inside as there is no strong fundamental underneath it. Ancient engineers had to build extra stone platform around Borobudur as the stone ring in order to keep the whole structure intact while hidden the lowest floor mural craving which representing the underworld, fortunately when archaeologists restored Borobudur, they decided to leave some part of this stone platform opened and show the cravings.
It was a hot and humid but lovely day to see this beautiful World Heritage Site of Indonesia. While Borobudur is not exactly what we expected, the complex is indeed beautiful and have outstanding value that deserved to be one of top three must see cultural historical sites in Southeast Asia apart from Angkor and Bagan. Together with the equally impressive Phambanan and Sultan’s Kraton Palace complex, Yogyakarta is a worthwhile destination. Also the food here is quite amazing from Sultan royal cuisine to street foods, and the local special delicacies like fried chicken, Gudeg Jogja or Jackfruit dried stew and Bakpia, bean filled pastry are really delicious and simply the must.
Chris - June 2016
The Borobudur had been on my top wish list to see WHS for a long time. Finally in May 2016 it was time. I visited most of the Indonesian WHS.
Not going into the history but a few practical things. I suggest going on a sunrise tour. This is simply amazing (see photos on the link). After the sunrise you have time to explore the complex; that's the time the groups come in too. So you have less tourists. Much better for photography.
The sunrise was amazing. First the clouds turn purple-orange-red when the sunrises, but still behind the Merapi volcano. Then it gets boring for 20 minutes; don't leave! Then, you will see the sun coming from behind the Merapi and the sky again turns orange-magenta! It's magical! See my photos on the link.
Read more from Chris here.
Bessel vdK - November 2012
THis is one of the most gorgeous sites in the world, particularly during sunrise. I went three mornings in a row- its irresistible - with the smoke of an active vulcano, the Mirapi, in the distance, and the gog over the tropical landscape of central Java, with hundreds of serene Buddhas watching - glorious!
Elisabeth Fransisca Situmorang - August 2008
One of the most beautiful WHS. So grand and full of lovely details in its wall.
The best time to see it from above is in the early morning when you could see the sun rise... and as the fog descending, you could see the Temple as if it's rising from the cloud...
corinne - February 2006
hi i'm doing an assignment on the Borobudur Temple and i need some help with some answers because i can't seem to find them on the internet.
does anyone know why the Borobudur Temple was once abandoned??
any other information about what happens/happened there before the Temple was rediscovered...
thankyou very much.
I arrive at here! Over the clear sea and sky.
( where once fire and corpes.
On the top floor ,we can feel some peaceful harmony from statues, which are still meditating.
Each of them send the original waves to this quiet space.
Those who seek peace and happiness,Please set out pilgrimage to this monument.
Borobudur is the intermediate museum to show us his simplest discovery.
Solutions of the time are here!
(Stay near the site. Visit eary in the morning.
I recomend Borobudur , through our atomic war experinces.
Mohan Rao Gunti
The Temple of Borobudur
One of the Ancient Wonders of the World, not to be missed in life time. A wonderful creation with beautifully architectured with a blend of true culture.
The Borobodur Temple complex is one of the greatest monuments in the world. It is of uncertain age, but thought to have been built between the end of the seventh and beginning of the eighth century A.D. For about a century and a half it was the spiritual centre of Buddhism in Java, then it was lost until its rediscovery in the eighteenth century.
The structure, composed of 55,000 square meters of lava-rock is erected on a hill in the form of a stepped-pyramid of six rectangular storeys, three circular terraces and a central stupa forming the summit. The whole structure is in the form of a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha.
This coming 26-29 september 2004 Indonesia Tourism Board along with Event Organizer Pacto Covex are organising a special event called Royal Tourism Indonesia Mart & Expo [TIME] 2004 at Yogyakarta, the city of Borobudur. Royal TIME 2004 is a strategic international event that will help showcase Yogyakarta and Java to the international tourism market.
So, Selamat Datang!, welcome to Yogyakarta! Hope you enjoy your stay there and trust you will enjoy TIME 2004 and the Javanese way of life. Finally, you are guaranteed to receive warm hospitality and a genuine welcome from the people of Yogyakarta and are proud to show their heritage to the world.
Living in Indonesia and travelling around to see some of the volcanoes such as Krataua and Merapi were always great. But I would have to say that the trip I went on to the Borobudur Temple is one I remember the clearest.
It is a really good idea to get a local tourist guide to go around the temple area with you so you really get to learn what the place is all about.
The temple is located at Borobudur District, South of Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia.
Borobudur was built by Sanmaratungga in the 8th century, and belongs to Buddha Mahayana. Borobudur was revealed by Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles in 1814. The temple was found in ruined condition and was buried.
The overall height was 42 meters, but was only 34.5 meters after restoration, and had the dimension of 123 x 123 meters (15,129 square meters). There were 10 floors. The first floor up to the sixth floor was square form, the seventh to the tenth floor were round form.
Borobudur presents an evolution of Buddhist thought on the ascending levels of the monument, culminating in the stark, austere landscape of the summit, which is barren of reliefs pertaining to any of the known buddhist texts. On the lower levels, scholars have indeed identified the text sources for various, but not all, of the 1300 bas-reliefs above the monument's hidden base. Perhaps the best on-line resource for gaining access to the Buddhist texts behind Borobudur's reliefs is to be found at www.borobudur.tv
Willem-Jan van der Meer
The Borodudur Temple was discovered by a dutch general in the 19th century. With dutch funds it has been reconstructed. Due to terrorist attacks in the 1990's it is still under construction. The Borobudur is a breathtaking experience. It's a must to visit the biggest temple under the equator.
Share your experiences!
Have you been to Borobudur? Click here to add your own review.
Full name: Borobudur Temple Compounds
1991 - InscribedReasons for inscription
The site has 3 locations.
The site has 18 connections. Show all
- Restored by anastylosis Borobodur (1907-11)
- Pyramids a general design similar to the shape of pyramid (wiki)
- Spice Route Contains carvings depicting early maritime trade
- Recorded cultural discoveries H.C. Cornelius (Dutch) on a mission sponsored by Sir Thomas Raffles in 1814
- Gertrude Bell Photo taken March 18 1903
- Sir Stamford Raffles In 1814 Raffles was the Lieutenant Governor of Java (which Britain had captured during the Napolenic wars) and heard about a huge ruined temple on the island. He ordered its clearance and visited it on May 18 1815. Raffles's book on Javan history is the earliest written reference for the name "Borobodur" which is believed to refer in part to a nearby village.
- Built in the 9th century Ca. 800
- History of the World in 100 objects Prog 59 "Borobudur Buddha Head" (link)
- History of the World in 100 objects No 59. Buddha Head 750 - 850 AD
- In the British museum 2 Buddha statue heads from the stupas surrounding the central mound were included in the "Raffles Collection" gifted to the British Museum. 1 (at least) is on show in room 33
- On Banknotes 10000 INR issued 1992
- One million visitors or more 2.5 million tourists in 2012
WHS on Other Lists
- World Monuments Watch (past) (1996)