WHS: Borobudur Temple Compounds

So after our swing through Sumatra, let’s continue our tour of Indonesia over in central Java, where we’ll touch down at Yogykarta

Yogyakarta, together with its twin city Surakarta (Solo), is the cradle of civilization on Java. This city was the seat of power that produced the magnificent temples of Borobudur and Prambanan in the 8th and 9th century and the new powerful Mataram kingdom of the 16th and 17th century. Yogyakarta is known as Neverending Asia for its endless appeals…

and start out by visiting the world’s largest Bhuddist monument — 123 x 123 meters, 2,672 relief panels, 504 Buddha statues — at the

Borobudur Temple Compounds


The Borobudur Temple Compounds is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, and was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the centre of the island of Java, Indonesia

The main temple is a stupa built in three tiers around a hill which was a natural centre: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,520 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.

The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology…

As you’re approaching, it looks more like a small mountain than a temple

Borobudur Temple Compounds

and as you get up close you start to see those 2,672 relief panels adorning all sides

Borobudur Temple Compounds

which are remarkably well preserved for having spent 1000+ years out in the Java jungle

Borobudur Temple Compounds

and when you get to the upper levels you find those 72 stupas

Borobudur Temple Compounds

each containing a statue of the Bhudda

Borobudur Temple Compounds

A quite photogenic site indeed!

Borobudur Temple Compounds

So yep, this is definitely an A-list visit whether you’re a history buff or not; definitely recommend that you work at least a day in Yogykarta into your next Indonesia trip to stop by.

Check out the Wonderful Indonesia website for more information on Borobudur … and all the rest of the really rather remarkable list of things there are to visit around Indonesia!

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  1. […] north from Borobudur it’s just a couple hours to the north side of Java and the next tentative World Heritage Site on […]

  2. Wow, this is a really cool site, I didn’t even know this Bhuddist monument existed! I plan to go to Indonesia in the next couple of years, so I will have to look into this.

    1. Alex

      Yep, Indonesia has a richer history than most people realize. http://wonderfulindonesia.com is an excellent start!

  3. This is amazing! 504 Buddhas! It is impressive to think that they were able to build this over 1000 years ago. Very cool site.

    1. Alex

      And this may not even the most impressive — look up the ‘Gunung Padang’ megalithic site, some people think it might be the oldest and largest pyramid in the entire world. Indonesia has a lot more history than most people realize!

  4. Amazing! Hope to visit one day! Great pictures.

    1. Alex

      Indonesia definitely deserves to be on everyone’s bucket list, everything from volcanoes to Komodo dragons to ancient ruins to some of the world’s best scuba diving!

  5. Dot

    Great blog post! The pictures are amazing! 🙂

    1. Alex

      Thank you! The really amazing thing is that this is one of those sites where pictures don’t really do it justice at all, you have to be there and see the whole thing to realize just how impressive it is…

  6. Wow! The architecture and sculptures are so elaborate, it must have taken ages for them to carve each of those Buddhas! I would love to visit this site someday 🙂

    1. Alex

      75 years is the current best estimate. That’s a long time to be building a temple — ranks right up there with any of the more famous ruins around the world!

  7. Wow! This is such an incredibly rich location – rich in history, rich in views, rich in architecture, and rich in memory making! Thanks for sharing the highlights – we will be adding this to our “wish list” for sure!

    1. Alex

      Thoroughly recommended — I’m not sure there’s any other country as rich in nature, history, and culture as Indonesia is. Definitely a top contender for “most underrated destination” at the very least!

  8. […] Central Java tour is almost back to Yogyakarta again, but where we started out visiting the solely Bhuddist temples at Borobudur, this time we’re visiting the Hindu temples at World Heritage […]

  9. Alecia

    So exciting!! Love your blog!

    1. Alex

      Thank you very much! Still learning our way around this blogging thing, lots of exciting things to come yet…

  10. […] our sweep through central Java, back at Yogyakarta today: as not only is it your base for exploring Borobudur, Semarang, Sangiran, and Prambanan, it’s also on the Tentative Lists […]

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