I always believed that if there is a competition that can be started for temple architecture, India would top the list with no doubt. However, recent evidences makes me wonder if that fact can be refuted in any way. I came across a list compiled by Skyscanner which comprises of 10 unusual temples that are located outside India. And after going through the list, I am undergoing some serious case of wanderlust right now!!! Most of it is mainly because of the exotic factor that the place talks about; some of it just to tweak the nostalgia bone. Borobudur hits the second half of my feelings like a nail in the coffin. Ok, that sounds like an extremely morbid analogy I know, but you know how I fail in the department of words right?
World’s largest monument has not only carved its way into the UNESCO World Heritage list, but also created a niche in the hearts of pilgrims and tourists equally. The magnificence of the monument will always hold you spellbound.
Dating back to 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty, this famous monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the center of the island of Java, Indonesia and covers an area of 2500 sq. meter. But the beauty lies in the architecture of this monument. Seemingly created of 2 million blocks of lava rocks in the form of a stepped-pyramid of six rectangular storeys, three circular terraces and a central stupa forming the summit, the whole structure represents a lotus, the sacred symbol/ flower of Buddha.
Buddhist history claims that this is the largest and the most complete ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world, which can inspire anyone with remote artistic merits. More than 500 Buddha statues are perched around the temple. Its lower terraces include a balustrade that blocks out views of the outside world and replaces them with nearly 3,000 bas-relief sculptures illustrating the life and teachings of the Buddha.
The monument is a shrine to Lord Buddha and attracts hoards of pilgrims and tourist equally. The 10 levels of the temple symbolizes the 3 divisions of the religion’s cosmic system – Kamadhatu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms) and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). The climb to the top itself feels like a spiritual jouney in itself.
My father has a talent for photography, and for me the most remarkable moment of taking each step through this monument was to watch him take pictures. The serenity of the place transcends into your soul, and the only sound that can actually be appreciated will be the occasional clicking sound of a camera and the hushed murmurs filled with awe. Since I lost my hard drive containing all my Indonesian pictures, I will have to borrow Google to show off the beauty of Borobudur temple complex
One of the highlight of the touring in Borobudur is to visit the place during sunrise. It is a sight that will never be forgotten. The place is open from 6 AM to 5 PM, so there is plenty of time for a visitor to truly enjoy it.
How to get there?
There are daily flights available from Jakarta to transport you to Yogyakarta. Borobudur is at a distance of 1 hour from the city of Yogyakarta and can be easily accessed by either Taxis or local transport. However, the best way to truly explore the place on foot.
Temple tour would be one unusual bucket list don’t you think?
Disclaimer – None of the pictures posted here are of my own (as you can see from the lack of copyright) Due to technical difficulties, the family archives has decided to abandon us for the moment. As a result, I had to resort to Google and its kindness.