Borobudur is world’s largest Buddhist temple located in Kedu Valley of Magelang Regency in Central Java Province of Indonesia. The temple is also known as the greatest Buddhist monument and was built in 8th and 9th centuries AD during the tenure of Syailendra Dynasty. The temple is known one of the famous ‘three temples’ of Buddhism. The other two are Pawon and Mendut. The relative location (in a straight line) of these three temples is known to be of some religious significance.
Abandoned by its original creators, the temple was rediscovered by Lieutenant Thomas Stamford Raffles of the British administration over Java, by hearing about it from the locals as an ‘incredible sanctuary’ deep within the island. The architecture seems both, geologically and theologically intelligent and strategic.
Architecture – Borobudur
The temple is a stupa built in three tiers. The lowermost platform or the ‘base’ consists of five square terraces, further ascending as three circular platforms and at the top; there is a monumental and crowning stupa. The complete architecture consists of amazing carving art, forming mesmerizing and relaxing reliefs (covering almost an area of 2520 square meters). The stupa itself is a depiction of mandala which is considered as a religious and spiritual representative symbol in both Buddhism and Hinduism. The site contains 504 Buddhist statues, 2672 stone reliefs on the walls of the open- air pathways beautifying them further.
Spiritual Meaning of the Existence of Borobudur:
As discussed earlier, the architectural geometry of Borobudur is far more exceptional than an ordinary worship place. Legend has it that there is more to just a physical meaning of the geometry and unique architecture of this building consisting of step- wise rising platforms from the surface of the earth towards the sky. The selection of the location for this monumental temple also adds to its spiritual significance.
The circumambulation paths created between ascending of each platform are strategic about cosmology and the study of radiation of energies. This radiation is said to be released around the cosmic axis when the pilgrims start to walk around in the passage ways to reach the top. There are large inscriptions and carvings on the walls around these galleries that take the devotees to the utmost level of spirituality and satisfaction, releasing the positive energy that they feel within themselves to the surroundings because of the difference in energy levels.
Restoration – Borobudur
After its discovery in 1816, the temple has to be restored to its original form and beauty because it had been covered in volcanic ash, within a dark, dense forest. The trees had to be cut down to reveal the true beauty of the monument. This was done with the help of Archaeological Society in Yogyakarta followed by the security provided by Dutch East Indies government to the monument.
Tourism and Landscape – Borobudur
The place is quite famous among tourists from all over the world because of its two important labels: UNESCO’s World Heritage Site (inscribed in 1991) and world’s largest Buddhist temple. The place is also of immense scenic beauty because of its location at the center of valley Kedu, surrounded by breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Visit the place by people having a keen interest in archaeology, architecture, and history is highly recommended.