Do you want to immerse yourself in a spiritual journey? In today’s article, we enter a wonderful journey of ancient wisdom and spirituality, a majestic place in Indonesia that will arouse our admiration and intrigue.
Do you want to immerse yourself in a spiritual journey? In today’s article, we enter a wonderful journey of ancient wisdom and spirituality, a majestic place in Indonesia that will arouse our admiration and intrigue. We are going to visit the Borobudur temple: the largest Buddhist temple in the world!
Its name comes from the Sanskrit Vihara Buddha Ur, which translates as “the Buddhist temple on the mountain”, or Candi Borobudur. Its construction probably dates back to 700-800 CE, during the Sailendra dynasty. Let’s find out why it is so important!
History of Borobudur, the Largest Buddhist Temple in the World
The current monument, which attracts thousands of Buddhists, onlookers and visitors, was abandoned in the 14th century with the conversion of Buddhists and Hindus to Islam. It is said that the temple remained buried under the ashes, since it is located between two volcanoes, and the vegetation lush. Subsequently, several restoration projects were conducted by the Indonesian government and UNESCO.
In the 19th century, the governor of Java, the Englishman Thomas Stamford Raffles, ordered what would lead to the rediscovery of the Borobudur complex in 1814, by the Dutch engineer HC Cornelius. Since its rescue, Borobudur Temple has become the most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia along with Prambanan Temple. And it is worth visiting this wonder that has been declared a World Heritage Site.
Location of Borobudur Temple
Borobudur Temple is located in the province of Central Java, Indonesia, 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta. It is from this city that one travels the road to find this universal wonder. Borobudur is located on a hill 265 meters above sea level, between two volcanoes and two rivers (Progo and Elo).
The Borobudur complex is very close to two other Buddhist temples in the Kedu plain: Pawon and Mendut. Would you like to visit Borobudur temple and meet one of the oldest religions in the world? We will explain you how to get to this temple.
How to Get to Borobudur Temple?
To reach the Borobudur complex, you must first reach Yogyakarta by plane, train or bus. Borobudur is 40 kilometers away and 7 km from the village of Magelang. It is also 50 km from the temples of Prambanan.
The best thing to do is to take a private car with driver, which is very comfortable to manage your own time, or an organized tour that you can rent in various local agencies in Yogyakarta.
If you want to save some money, you can take a bus from the center of Yogyakarta to Borobudur. Take bus 2A or 2B.
Curiosities of the Borobudur Temple
Want to experience the state of Nirvana? Then this is the place for you. This incredible monument is shaped like a pyramid or stupa, a type of Buddhist or Yaina architecture. These are clean and very representative constructions of Southeast Asia, which contain relics or tombs.
About two million blocks of stone taken from the surrounding rivers were used to build the monument. These were cut, transported and assembled to create the reliefs. Can you imagine how long it took to build the shrine? Incredible!
In the Borobudur complex, you can go up through corridors and stairs. You can walk around its six square platforms that reach 42 meters high, where you can admire the 504 Buddha statues and 2,672 relief panels.
This spiritual journey consists of three stages that will lead us to reach the maximum state of enlightenment (nirvana) according to Buddhist cosmology:
– Kamadhatu : the world of desires
– Rupadhatu : the world of forms
– Arupadhatu : the world without forms.
The Borobudur temple was built on a hill and a dry lake surrounds it, that’s why it is said that it used to float on its top, like a lotus flower!
Another thing that attracts the attention of archaeologists who have studied the area is the discovery of a metal urn indicating that the ashes of the Buddha himself were found, which was later exhumed in India in the 3rd century B.C. It mysteriously disappeared from the temple. This shrine thus reawakens the mystery of the Borobudur temple, which would have been the tomb of the great master of Buddhism!
What to See and Do in Borobudur?
The Ascent of the Temple
For Buddhists, the ascent to the summit is a real pilgrimage, because it is at this moment that the precious nirvana will be reached. That is, according to the Buddhist religion, we will be free from suffering or dukkha and the cycle of reincarnations to which our mind is chained.
Climbing these steep stairs for about 45 minutes will free us from the suffering and burdens we carry. Once there, we will discover samsara, which, according to the Buddhist religion, is a state of liberation or detachment from matter, and we will therefore learn detachment.
In the highest part of the temple, we will be able to contemplate the bells and the statues of Buddha, which will make us feel a maximum state of peace and inner calm. A real reunion with ourselves!
Borobudur is a big stupa, and seen from above we can see the shape of a Buddhist mandala which represents the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of the mind. An interesting idea, don’t you think?
The temple of Borobudur represents the most important center of Buddhist pilgrimage. It celebrates Vesak, the day of the full moon in May, which can be considered the holiest day for millions of Buddhists around the world.
Vesak Day, or the birth of Buddha, is recognized by the United Nations and is also celebrated in various UN headquarters and offices around the world, as it is considered an ancient religion that contributes to the spirituality of humanity. Interesting, right? So what are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.