Borobudur The Crown Of Java

Prambanan Also Near Yogyakarta

When scholars and historians speak of the world’s great Buddhist temples, most conversations include Borobudur, which means monastery on the hill. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and is most famous for its many stone-carved panels depicting the life and teachings of Buddha. The narratives, over a thousand in all, are part of the temple itself, helping to form the terraces that support the temple’s chambers. The massive monument consists of at least two million stone blocks. This monumental structure was constructed in the 9th century and it dominates an entire hill near Yogyakarta.

Some scholars believe that this massive structure is a gigantic textbook about Buddhism to help people achieve enlightenment. To read this Buddhist textbook one must walk more than two miles to unveil all of its massive stone pages. The walls of the galleries are adorned with impressive reliefs illustrating the life of Buddha Cakyamuni and his teachings.

temple Borobudur

Representing the existence of the universe, Borobudur perfectly reflects the Buddhist cosmos, which divides the universe into three separate levels. The three levels are Kamadhatu (world of desire), Ruphadatu (world of forms), and Arupadhatu (world of formlessness).

On the three uppermost terraces, 72 stupas circle the huge main stupa at the top of this monument. The circular form represents an eternity without beginning and without end, a superlative, tranquil, and pure state of the formless world. There are no reliefs on the three circular terraces.

All but the largest central stupas on the upper levels originally contained a life-size statue of Buddha, although many of these statues are missing or damaged from centuries of pillaging. There also are many alcoves along the lower levels, which contain similar statues.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

Despite its massive size and height, Borobudur was lost for many years. The temple was ultimately abandoned with the rise of Islam, and the halls that once echoed with the pilgrim footsteps of scholars, artists, and priests were overrun by the dynamics of volcanic ash and jungle growth.

Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles began reclaiming it in 1814, after he received a report about the discovery of a hill full of many carved stones.

In 1835, the site was cleared and the entire structure was reconditioned block by block. Unfortunately, in 1896 the Dutch colonial government gave away several artifacts to the King of Siam, including eight large containers of Borobudur stones, 30 stones with relief, five Buddha statues, two lion statues, several kala stones, stairs, and gates. In 1985, the temple suffered a bomb attack by Islamic rebels. The damage was repaired and UNESCO now lists Borobudur as a World Heritage Site.

Borobudur carvings

You can take the best photographs of Borobudur during the early evening, when the sun gives the stone a warm glow. When it rains, water pours out of the mouths of several gargoyles on the sides of the lower levels of the temple. Bus service to the monument is available from Yogykarta. Visitors do not need to wear a sarong to enter the complex. Borobudur is located in the province of Central Java, 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta.

Prambanan temple Yogykarta

Prambanan is the largest Hindu monument in Indonesia. It was built around 850-900 A.D. The temple has been damaged by centuries of earthquakes, vandals, and other forces. Not long after its construction, the complex of temples was abandoned and allowed to deteriorate.

The reconstruction of the compound began in 1918. The main building was completed in 1953. Other shrines and compounds may never be reconstructed, since much of the original stonework has been taken and reused by local villagers.

Prambanan now is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the largest Hindu temples in Southeast Asia. It is characterized by its tall and pointed architecture and by the centerpiece structure, which reaches more than 47 meters high.

The compound consists of eight main shrines or candis and more than 250 smaller ones. The three main shrines, called Trisakti (three sacred places), are dedicated to the three gods Shiva the Destroyer, Vishnu the Keeper, and Brahma the Creator.

The reliefs along the twenty sides of the temple depict the Ramayana legend. This story is animated by the Ramayana Ballet, which is regularly performed during the full moon in front of the illuminated Prambanan complex. Located in central Java, approximately 18 kilometers northeast of Yogyakarta.

Mt. Merapi Java Indonesia

Mt. Merapi also is nearby. It’s one of the most impressive and destructive volcanoes in Indonesia. Gunung (mountain) Merapi usually is visible from Yogyakarta. Smoke constantly spews from the massive mountain, which reaches an elevation of 2,950 meters, (9,679 feet). Hikers can climb Merapi when it’s not too active. The hike takes plenty of planning and two or more days to accomplish. It’s advisable to join organized assaults that are led by locals. Ask your hotel for more information. It’s visible from Yogyakarta.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia and speak the Indonesian language.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Indonesia’s Archaeology Still Unfolding

Hidden Gems Across Indonesia

Many of the world’s most important archaeological sites have been found in Indonesia. Java man, Flores (Hobbit) man, Borobudur, Prambanan and many other discoveries have drawn explorers from near and far. Much more ancient history is unfolding across Indonesia today.

gunung padang

Gunung (mountain) Padang is a megalithic site located in Karyamukti village in the West Java Province. It’s about 50 km southwest of the city of Cianjur. Some are calling it the largest megalithic site in all of Southeast Asia.

The massive Indonesian site was put on the international map in the publication Rapporten van de Oudheidkundige Dienst (Report of the Department of Antiquities) in 1914. Dutch historian N. J. Krom also mentioned it in 1949. Employees of the National Archeology Research Centre studied the site in 1979.

gunung padang Indonesiapadang pyramid

The site in West Java covers a hill in a series of terraces bordered by retaining walls of stone that are reached by about 400 andesite steps. It is covered with massive rectangular stones.

Sundanese culture considers the site sacred. They believe King Siliwangi built the structure in one night. It faces northwest, toward the Mount Gede volcano. The site was completed by 5000 BC. The entire hill may itself be an ancient pyramid. So far, researchers have found:

    • Based on geoelectric, georadar, and geomagnetic testing, there is a structure beneath the surface with large chambers;
    • Many man-made artifacts have been discovered;
    • The construction of the site spans four eras;
    • The site was dated 6,500 years BP (before present) by carbon radiometric dating at 3–4 meters below the surface (12,500 years at 8 to 10 meters below the surface), and the artifacts at the surface date to about 4,800 years BP;
    • The site area is approximately 25 hectares. The massive Borobudur temple occupies only 1.5 hectares.
    • Walls of the terraces are similar to those found at Machu Picchu in Peru.

Dr. Danny Hilman is responsible for the archaeological team on the site. They also announced the discovery of a metal device that is presumed to be the worlds oldest electrical instrument. According to researchers, this object is made out of gold and copper and seems to resemble a primitive capacitor. 

Indonesia pyramids

The discovery of the electrical device at  Gunung Padang  is getting a lot of attention. Former President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of Indonesia visited the site and congratulated the researchers. According to archaeologists, the subsurface layers at Gunung Padang might be more than 12,000 years old. Finding an electrical device in that area suggests that ancient man mastered electricity thousands of years ago.

Previously, the researchers found giant bowls, rivers and springs, domes, towers, aquifers and a transmitter. Magnetic anomalies are found in these locations.

Mount Sadahurip is another pyramid shaped hill in West Java, near Cicapar Sand Village. Mount Sadahurip, dubbed the Garut Pyramid, is undergoing verification tests to see if the mount is indeed a man-made (or partially man-made) structure.

Garut Pyramid Java Indonesia

The Garut Pyramid is larger than the Great Pyramid of Giza and could be far older. By using geo-electric instruments, surveyors are measuring the resistance of the geological layers, while seeking additional funding to begin excavations. An initial survey determined that the structure is unlikely to be of natural formation.

Bada Valley, Sulawesi features several megaliths throughout a remote area in the Poso Regency on the island of Sulawesi. It is part of Lore Lindu National Park. Bada Valley features dozens of ancient megaliths and several large stone caldrons. The objects remain a mystery.

Bada Sulawesi monolith

Bada Valley Indonesia archeology

Bada Valley Indonesia

Bada Valley Indonesia monolith

Sulawesi monoliths

The carved megaliths are between 1,000-5,000 years old. They’re scattered across the valley. When asked about the origin of these statues, locals explain that they’ve always been here. Some believe they were used in ancestral worship or may have had something to do with human sacrifice. Others believe that these statues ward off evil spirits. One legend tells that they are criminals which were turned to stone, and there is even a superstition that the statues can disappear or move from place to place. Some have even been reported found in slightly different locations. These statues are made from a type of stone not found anywhere near the area.

Tanah Toraja, Sulawesi. More monoliths are found throughout Torajah land and lives.

torajah sulawesi

Tanah toraja monolith

Cipari, Java is a Neolithic settlement in the Kuningan district of West Java, northeast of Bogor. Megalithic formations are found here. They are dated at around 1000 BCE.

cipari Indonesia archaeology cipari

Sumba features many monoliths, including tombs:

sumba east nusa tenggara

Pyramid Lalakon, West Java. Much work remains, but it fits the profile of similar-shaped mounds in the region.

pyramid lalakon West Java

Candi Sukuh, West Java resembles Mayan-style temples.

candi Sukuh Temple

Gunung Kawi, Bali

gunung kawi bali

Nias, Sumatra

Nias Sumatra monolith

Candi Sambisari, Java

Candi Sambisari temple

Indonesia is best known for its famous and elegant temples, including Borobudur, Tanah Lot, Uluwatu and many others. However, these emerging and lesser-known gems are worth the trip. As a fan of Ancient Aliens and ancient arts and culture, this is a topic that I love. If you have stories and photos to share, please contact me.

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia

Borobudur The Most Amazing Temple In Indonesia

Indonesia’s Largest Temple Near Yogykarta

Borobudur Temple and the surrounding compound is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, and was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The temple was used until sometime between the 10th and 15th centuries when it was abandoned and buried by volcanic ash and jungle. Since its re-discovery in the 19th century, the monument was restored with UNESCO’s help in the 1970s. It’s located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central JavaIndonesia.

Borobudur Java Indonesia

Around the circular platforms are 72 stupas, each containing a statue of the sitting Buddha. The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology.

The Borobudur compound consists of three monuments: the Borobudur Temple and  two smaller temples situated to the east on a straight axis to Borobudur. Laid out in the form of a lotus, the sacred flower of Buddha, the compound reflects a blending of indigenous ancestor worship and the Buddhist concept of Nirvana. The 10 mounting terraces of the entire structure correspond to the successive stages that the Bodhisattva must achieve to attain Buddhahood.

temple Borobudur

Borobudur was developed by a king of the Saliendra dynasty, it was built to honor the glory of both the Buddha and its founder, a true king Bodhisattva. The name Borobudur is believed to have been derived from the Sanskrit words vihara Buddha uhr, meaning the Buddhist monastery on the hill.

Borobudur temple is located in Muntilan, Magelang. It’s about 42 km from Yogyakarta.

This colossal temple was built between AD 750 and 842: 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat, 400 years before work had begun on the great European cathedrals. Little is known about its early history except that a huge army of workers worked in the tropical heat to shift and carve the 60,000 m3 of stone. At the beginning of the 11th century AD, because of the political situation in Central Java, divine monuments in that area, including the Borobudur Temple became completely neglected and given over to decay.

Stylistically the art of Borobudur is a convergence of Indian influences (Gupta and post-Gupta styles). The walls of Borobudur are sculptured in bas-reliefs, extending over a total length of 6 km. It has been hailed as the largest and most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world, unsurpassed in artistic merit, each scene an individual masterpiece.

Borobudur carvings

The narratives reliefs on the main walls read from the right to left, those on the balustrade from left to right. This was done for the purpose of the Pradaksina, the ritual circumambulation which the pilgrims make moving on the clockwise and keeping the sanctuary to the right.

The Karmawibangga reliefs on the hidden foot are devoted to the law of karma. The Lalitavistara series do not provide a complete biography of the Buddha, from the Hushita heaven and end his sermon in the Deer Park near the Benares. Jataka are stories about the Buddha before he was born as Prince Sidharta. Awadana are similar to Jataka, but the main figure is not the Boddhisatva, and the saintly deeds are attributed to other legendary persons.

Borobudur Facts via http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/592

Indonesia tourism marketing and public relations firm

Crossbow Communications specializes in international marketing, issue management and public affairs. Indonesia is one of our regions of expertise. Our President and founder is the author of the Language and Travel Guide to Indonesia. Please contact Gary Chandler at gary@crossbow1.com. Visit Indonesia.

Language and Travel Guide To Indonesia