Yogyakarta, Indonesia, 19 November 2017
I’ve come to this region to see temples and my first visit is to Borobudur Temple. Borobudur temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. Built in the 9th century, using 2 million stone blocks, without any kind of mortar or cement, it covers an area measuring 123 x 123 meters, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.
The temple fell into disrepair and was rediscovered in 1815, buried under volcanic ash. In the 1970’s the Indonesian Government and UNESCO worked together to restore Borobudur, and UNESCO formally listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
Borobudur consists of six square platforms, topped by three circular platforms, each of the levels can be walked around, to get to each level there are very deep, steep, steps.
The platforms provide an opportunity to have a closer look at the relief panels that cover every surface of the temple, depicting Buddhist doctrines, and Javanese life, a thousand years ago.
The main dome, at the centre of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas, one of the stupas has been dismantled to show a Buddha statue.
The effort to get to the top of the temple is rewarded with views of the region.
Many of the Buddha statues are headless, this is thought to be the result of the heads being stolen and sold as collectors items.
Mendut is a ninth-century Buddhist temple, located in Mendut village, a few kilometres from Borobudur, built in the 9th century, it is older than Borobudur.
The temple steps lead into a room with three large stone statues. A 3 metre tall statue of Dhyani Buddha Vairocana, noted for his posture, as he sits with his feet on the floor, Western style, on his left is statue of Boddhisatva Avalokitesvara, on his right is a statue of Boddhisatva Vajrapani.
The temple stands in a small formal garden.