Beautiful Borobudur: “Pathway to Enlightenment” in 40 Photos

May 9th, 2011 Permalink

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues which is shrouded in mystery and surrounded by volcanoes. Borobudur, an ancient Buddhist stupa and temple complex, was abandoned for centuries, but no one knows why. In fact, it was forgotten for so long that it was hidden beneath volcanic ash and overgrown by thick jungle for hundreds of years. But now beautiful Borobudur is hugely popular Buddhist monument in central Java. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We love these pics of Borobudur! [40 Photos]

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur horizon

On the island of Java, Indonesia, stands a mountain of a thousand statues. Borobudur is surrounded by volcanoes such as in this photo of Mt. Merapi erupting from the Borobudur horizon. Borobudur shrouded in mystery. In 1814, 200 men set out to search for this legendary mountain near the small village of Boro. For six weeks, they slashed through wickedly thick vegetation and then cleared away tons of volcanic ash. Hidden beneath the debris, they uncovered strange figures carved in stone and they discovered thousands of them! This is beautiful Borobudur. Photo #1 by ctsnow

mysterious - hidden for centuries Borobudur

Borobudur, the great Buddhist stupa on Java, was built and decorated perhaps before 800AD. There is no central altar or sanctuary in this temple. Instead, the monument has six square platforms topped by three circular platforms. It’s decorated with galleries that ring the structure in the form of 2,672 relief panels carved into the stone. There are 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa (mound-like dome structures). Photo #2 by Thrillseekr – Phone Min Shwe


Borobudur stupa at west side

Borobudur from the west side. There is no written record of who built Borobudur or why it was built, yet the construction is thought to have taken a about 75 years to complete. Photo #3 by Thrillseekr – Phone Min Shwe

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur with lush jungle

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur with lush jungle in the shot. In 1973, a UNESCO developed a major plan to restore Borobudur. The huge project involved a complete overhaul of the monument between 1975 and 1982, including stabilizing the unsteady foundations, cleaning everything, installing a major drainage system. After the renovation was finished, UNESCO formally listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991. Since then, Borobudur is the single most popular tourist attraction in modern day Indonesia. It is an important place of worship and pilgrimage for Indonesian Buddhists.the profile of Borobudur has increased enormously and it is now a major international tourist attraction. Millions of replicas of its statues, reliefs and stupas have been built all over the world. Photo #4 by ctsnow

Borobudur Temple

Borobudur at west side. “Borobudur Temple” is around Indonesia as “Candi Borobudur”. The overall height was more than 137 feet (42 meters), but was only 133 feet (34.5 meters) after restoration, with the dimension of 123 x 123 meters (15,129 square meters). There were 10 floors. The first to the sixth floor were square, but the seventh to the tenth floor were round form. Photo #5 by Riza Nugraha

Sunrise at Borobudur temple

Sunrise at Borobudur temple. Photo #6 by Thrillseekr

Borobudur from North side after sunrise

Borobudur from North side after sunrise. Photo #7 by Thrillseekr

Borobudur temple - Java

Borobudur temple in Java. There is a huge mystery surrounding Borobudur, regarding why it was abandoned. For centuries, it was hidden under layers of volcanic ash and lush jungle growth. Photo #8 by Jean-Marie Hullot

Silent Giants - A Buddha statue of the colossal temple of Borobudur overlooks the Merapi volcano at dawn. Both are silent and full of power

Silent Giants – A Buddha statue of the colossal temple of Borobudur overlooks the Merapi volcano at dawn. Both are silent and full of power. Photo #9 by Andras Jancsik

Borobudur temple panorama

Borobudur temple panorama. According to Wikipedia, after this place was abandoned and forgotten, “folk stories gradually shifted from its past glory into more superstitious beliefs associated with bad luck and misery. Two old Javanese chronicles (babad) from the 18th century mention cases of bad luck associated with the monument. According to the Babad Tanah Jawi (or the History of Java), the monument was a fatal factor for Mas Dana, a rebel who revolted against Pakubuwono I, the king of Mataram in 1709. It was mentioned that the “Redi Borobudur” hill was besieged and the insurgents were defeated and sentenced to death by the king. In the Babad Mataram (or the History of the Mataram Kingdom), the monument was associated with the misfortune of Prince Monconagoro, the crown prince of the Yogyakarta Sultanate in 1757. In spite of a taboo against visiting the monument, ‘he took what is written as the knight who was captured in a cage (a statue in one of the perforated stupas)’. Upon returning to his palace, he fell ill and died one day later.” Photo #10 by Pandu Adnyana

Ballet Performance in front of the Borobudur Temple at the Trail of Civilizations Symposium

Ballet Performance in front of the Borobudur Temple at the Trail of Civilizations Symposium on 28 August 2006. The Ballet Ensemble and Borobudur, towering in the Background. Photo #11 by Flying Pharmacist

A meditative Buddha statue perform dharmachakra mudra hand gesture inside the perforated bell-shaped stupa on upper platform of Arupadhatu in Borobudur.

A meditative Buddha statue perform dharmachakra mudra hand gesture inside the perforated bell-shaped stupa on upper platform of Arupadhatu in Borobudur. Photo #12 by Gunawan Kartapranata

Buddha at borobudur - main stupa

The main Stupa crowning the Borobudur Buddhist monument in Java, Indonesia. The photographer noted, “The largest Buddhist monument in the world, it was built in the 8th century by the Sailendra dynasty. The upper rounded terrace with rows of bell shaped stupas containing Buddha images symbolize Arupadhatu, the sphere of formlesness. The main stupa itself is empty, symbolizing complete perfection of enlightenment.” Photo #13 by Gunawan Kartapranata

Buddhist pilgrims meditate on the top platform at Borobudur

Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage; once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction. In this photo, Buddhist pilgrims meditate on the top platform. Photo #14 by frank wouters from antwerpen, belgium

Borobudur at night

Borobudur at night. Photo #15 by Rollan Budi

Borobudur is a ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist Monument in Magelang, Indonesia

Mount Merapi is an active volcano not too far from Borobudur. In late October and November 2010 a series of volcanic eruptions occurred at Mount Merapi. More than 353 deaths were reported, with many more people injured from severe burns or who had respiratory damage. In November 2010, Borobudur was heavily affected by the eruptions. More than an inch of volcanic ash fell on the temple statues. That ash killed nearby vegetation. Some experts worried the acidic ash might damage the historic Borobudur site. The temple complex was closed for long periods of time during the eruptions. If you plan to visit, know that more volcanic activity in the area including explosive eruptions, lava flows, lahars, hot ash, pyroclastic heat clouds and molten debris might be possible. Photo #16 by F H Mira

Borobudur lay hidden for centuries under layers of volcanic ash and jungle growth, but the reason why it was abandoned is a mystery

Borobudur can be divided into layers as follows: The platform at the base of the structure, which was clearly post the original construction and hides some reliefs, is of uncertain provenance and function; Four square terraces connected by steep staircases. Each terrace has reliefs in two layers on both sides, recounting the story of the Buddha’s past lives and his enlightenment. The “correct” way to view the reliefs is to start from the east gate (the main entrance) and circulate clockwise; After the square terraces the structure suddenly opens up to reveal the final four circular terraces. there are no relief panels but several hundred domes house half-hidden Buddha statues – many of which are headless; The peak of the structure is a central stupa. Photo #17 by Javier Martin Espartosa

Borobudur The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM

Borobudur: The Dark Temple Corridor in Morning Mist at 4 AM. Photo #18 by Trey Ratcliff

Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java

Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java. Photo #19 by F H Mira

Explosion of Kids in Indonesia at Borobudur wanting in pic

Explosion of kids in Indonesia at Borobudur wanting in pic. Photo #20 by Trey Ratcliff

Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise

HDR – Hidden Buddhist Temple of Borobudur at Sunrise. WikiTravel states, “The peak of the monument is a central stupa. The two chambers inside the stupa are empty. It’s unclear whether they were empty from the beginning as a representation of nirvana, or whether they originally contained now lost statues. You can discover 6 different postures of buddha’s statue for bottom level to the top. They are ‘contact with earth’, ‘giving and helping’, ‘meditation’, ‘fearlesness’, ‘teach and learn’, ‘turning of the wheel of dharma’.” Photo #21 by Trey Ratcliff

Borobudur (in Javanese barabudhur or barabudur) is a Buddhist Stupa with silhouette piramidiforme related the Mahāyāna tradition, and is the largest in the world Buddhist monument - INDONESIA JAVA YOGYAKARTA BOROBUDUR

Borobudur (in Javanese barabudhur or barabudur) is a Buddhist Stupa with silhouette piramidiforme related the Mahāyāna tradition, and is the largest in the world Buddhist monument. Photo #22 by Javier Martin Espartosa

Archway overlooking the foggy jungles of Indonesia - Borobudur

Archway overlooking the foggy jungles of Indonesia. Photo #23 by Trey Ratcliff

Merapi from Borobudur temple

Merapi from Borobudur temple. The photographer noted, “Park of borobudur temple with Merapi volcano in the background. Borobudur is in the north-west of Yogyakarta in Java, Indonesia.” Photo #24 by Marc-André Jung

Sunrise near Yogyakarta at around 5 o'clock on the way to the Borobudur temple

Sunrise near Yogyakarta at around 5 o’clock on the way to the Borobudur temple near Yogyakarta. Photo #25 by Marc-André Jung

Sunrise over the big stupa at Borobudur temple

Sunrise over the big stupa at Borobudur temple. Photo #26 by Andras Jancsik

approaching emptiness Borobudur stupa

The photographer caled this, “approaching emptiness.” Borobudur stupa is a massive, symetrical monument, 200 square meters in size, sitting upon a low sculptured hill. The monument represents a Buddhist cosmological model of the universe organized around the axis of mythical Mt. Meru. Photo #27 by david pham

Borobudur stupa sunrise - java

Sunrise near Yogyakarta at around 5 o’clock on the way to the Borobudur temple near Yogyakarta. Photo #28 by alex hanoko

Borobudur massive structure was built between AD 700 and AD 850

When UNESCO, the Indonesian government and the United Nations, launched the “Save Borobudur” campaign, they completely dismantled and reconstructed of the lower terraces of the monument—stone by stone. It took professionals from 27 countries to move over one million stones during the restoration. These million stones were set aside like pieces of a massive jig-saw puzzle. 1,300 carved panels are taken apart and individually cleaned, cataloged and treated for preservation. Borobudur was a testing ground for new conservation techniques—using new procedures to battle the microorganisms eating away at the stone. Experts in engineering, chemistry, biology and archaeology all shared their skills to solve the problems during the project. Restoration took eight years and showed unprecedented international cooperation. Photo #29 by Mikaku

sunrise was taken at the Borobudur Temple, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The two mountains in the background are Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi

This sunrise was taken at the Borobudur Temple, Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The two mountains in the background are Mount Merbabu and Mount Merapi. Photo #30 by Robertus B. Herdiyanto

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands. This peaceful buddha looks out across the mist and fog on a relaxing morning

Buddha in the Jungle Highlands. This peaceful buddha looks out across the mist and fog on a relaxing morning. Photo #31 by Trey Ratcliff

Caged Buddhas High in the Temple in Borobudur

The photographer wrote, “Caged Buddhas High in the Temple in Borobudur. The stupa is covered with Buddhas, most of which are encased in these bell-shaped cages. Early during the sunrise, I went around from cage to cage to peer inside with a flashlight. Every buddha is holding his hands in a slightly different arrangement. It was super dark and moody while I was there, and I was going to freak out if I peered in on one of them, and his pose was to block the flashlight from his eyes.” Photo #32 by Trey Ratcliff

yogyakarta - borobudur stupa sunrise

Yogyakarta – Borobudur Stupa Sunrise. Photo #33 by alex hanoko

Stairs toward Borobudur Temple, central Java, Indonesia

Stairs toward Borobudur Temple, central Java, Indonesia. Photo #34 by redragon3883

Buddhist monks praying at borobudur

Buddhist monks praying at Borobudur. Photo #35 by djembar lembasono

the sun's disc peeps out from the slopes of Gunung Merapi nearby is Borobudur

Dawn: the sun’s disc peeps out from the slopes of Gunung Merapi – nearby is Borobudur Temple. Photo #36 by Bernard Tey

Hope at Borobudur temple, Java, Indonesia. Touching of Buddha gives people a hope to make their dreams real

The photographer wrote, “Hope at Borobudur temple, Java, Indonesia. Touching of Buddha gives people a hope to make their dreams real.” Photo #37 by alexander tikonoff

1895 hand-tinted lantern slide of a guardian statue at Borobudur

Taken in 1895, hand-tinted lantern slide of a guardian statue. Man in straw hat standing on Buddhist idol at ruins of Borobudur. This was before the largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photo #38 by William Henry Jackson

Borobudur temple view from northeast plateau, Central Java, Indonesia

Borobudur temple view from northeast plateau, Central Java, Indonesia. The narrative relief panels show all kinds of stories about Buddha such as the law of karma (Karmavibhangga) – These specific 160 hidden panels do not tell a continuous story, but each panel shows one complete illustration of cause and effect. Wikipedia described, “There are depictions of blameworthy activities, from gossip to murder, with their corresponding punishments. There are also praiseworthy activities, that include charity and pilgrimage to sanctuaries, and their subsequent rewards. The pains of hell and the pleasure of heaven are also illustrated. There are scenes of daily life, complete with the full panorama of samsara (the endless cycle of birth and death).” Photo #39 by Gunawan Kartapranata

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur with Buddha statue in foreground

Mt. Merapi erupts from Borobudur with Buddha statue in foreground. Photo #40 by ctsnow


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