Are you planning for a visit to Indonesia? It is an island with so many beautiful sights to offer that it gets hard to decide where to go first. Most people get too excited about Bali and miss other fascinating spots in Indonesia.
I was excited to visit Borobudur ever since I saw the Borobudur temple on the National Geographic channel. I love ancient artifacts and establishments. If you are someone like me, then Borobudur is a must-visit for you too.
Not only the Borobudur temple but the small villages around it are also worth a visit. Here, I will tell you everything you need to know about Borobudur and its temple.
More about Borobudur:
If you google Borobudur, the first thing that will pop up is the Borobudur temple. Though it is a small village in Central Java, it is famous among natives and tourists for the temples.
It is home to the largest Buddhist temple in the world, the Borobudur temple. It is vast and magical. The inception of this gigantic temple is still unknown. I will talk about its history in detail later.
There are two more temples nearby this temple, situated on a straight line, Mendut and Pawon temples. Not only temples, but you will find many museums there as well. I will talk about these museums here too. However, the center of attraction in Borobudur is always the temples.
The History of Borobudur Temple:
The history of this temple is quite fascinating. No one knows the origin of it or who and why it was built. Scientists deem that it was a religious site back in the 8th century of the Sailendra dynasty. The construction period of it is supposedly 75 years.
You can see a confusing mixture of Buddhism and Hinduism in the constructions and history in Java at that time. This jumble was the consequence of many marriages between Hindu and Buddhist nobles.
It is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, there was not much conflict regarding religion at that time.
This temple stayed hidden and abandoned for centuries in the dense jungle and volcanic ashes of Java. It was rediscovered during British rule in 1814. The governor at that time was Thomas Stamford Raffles, the founder of Singapore.
However, the temple was fully unearthed in 1885. It took too much time to get popular worldwide. The temple went through a restoration process by UNESCO started in 1956. The plan took its time too, and it was not before 1983 that a complete overhaul of the monument took place.
It has finally gained the appreciation and proclamation it long deserved and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991.
The beauty of Borobudur:
The architecture and construction of this temple are out of the world. It is vast, with an area of 123x123 meters. You can see numerous stupas throughout the temple.
Some of the stupas have statues of Buddha. There are 72 Stupas and 504 varieties of Buddha statues in the temple. Many of the statues got severely damaged over the years.
The walls of the temples are detailedly carved. You can see many stories engraved there. At the top of the temple, there is one big monumental stupa. The view from the top is surreal. You can see the green surroundings and distant mountains.
The journey inside the temple begins at the base of the temple. There are stairs to reach three levels to the top. The name of these levels is Kamadhatu (the world of desire), Rupadhatu (the world of forms), and Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness).
This journey is a bit different for the Buddhist pilgrim. They start at the bottom and go up when they have solved each relief. Each relief reveals Buddha's teachings.
Once they figure it out, they move on to the next. They keep getting harder at every level, and by the end of the last relief, they are at the top. And that means they are enlightened, in theory.
Tips for visiting Borobudur temple:
Time: The perfect time to visit this temple is early morning. It opens at 6 a.m, for the visitors. But, it is better to arrive earlier to see the sunrise from the temple.
The sun rays lingering through the stupas and statues make a beautiful view. So, book your ticket now. The temple itself is enormous, with more locations around it worth visiting. So, take time to explore the entire area.
It is best to avoid weekends for visits. It gets too crowded and busy.
Eat local cuisine: A must-try food there is Mangut Beong or Red Tail Catfish. It is a local fish usually found in the Progo River (Magelang).
It looks like a catfish but a bit larger. It has a soft meat texture.
It is a spicy dish made with turmeric broth, red hot chili, and seasoned coconut milk. This dish is worth a try if you are a food lover.
Visit the nearby museums and villages: There are three museums nearby Borobudur temple to explore. They are Borobudur Museum, Samudraraksa Ship Museum, and Museum MURI. They are all open till 5 p.m.
This area is filled with archeological artifacts. You can find many interesting historical treasures in these museums.
There are many local villages around Borobudur temple. You can visit these villages if you want to know more about their culture. The most famous village there is Wanurejo Village. It is also the closest to the temple.
Stay close: The temple is about an hour's drive from Yogyakarta. If you want to avoid the crowd and reach earlier from the sunrise tour, it is better to stay closer.
There are many resorts near Borobudur to stay. The most recommended is the Monohara Resort. Buy online ticket now if you don't want to miss it.
Or you can also stay at your hotel in Yogyakarta and manage a car early in the morning. Buy hotel ticket as per your plan.
Borobudur is a beautiful place to visit in Indonesia. It has many ancient artifacts and mysteries in it. If you love history and ancient architecture, then buy ticket for a visit to Borobudur now.
I have given a short travel guide to Borobudur here to make your trip a bit smoother. You can hire a travel guide there for a better experience.
You can also visit the nearby tourism villages and enjoy their cultural activities and comfortable surroundings. Make sure you follow the tips to enjoy the most of your Borobudur visit.