It’s been a long-time dream of mine to visit Borobudur, a 9th century Buddhist temple in Central Java and a few weeks ago my dream was finally fulfilled. I couldn’t quite believe I was there, just 12 hours after arriving in Yogyakarta after a very long journey from the UK. Borobudur is one of Java’s most popular tourist sites so you will be sharing your visit with quite a few people, but arriving earlier or later in the day can help avoid the worst of the crowds.
Borobudur is widely recognised as the largest Buddhist temple in the world. From the air it resembles a Buddhist mandala. There are nine levels and pilgrims should walk round each level clockwise, gradually ascending towards the ninth, which symbolises nirvana.
It’s richly decorated with thousands of carved panels, all depicting different scenes from the life of Buddha and the local Javanese people. There are also over 500 Buddha statues.
We came across these local students cleaning the stone – part of required community service apparently!
The most iconic views can be found on the top, circular platforms, filled with bell-shaped stupas, each with a statue of Buddha hidden inside. It’s possible to visit Borobudur to watch the sunrise too, if you don’t mind getting up at 3am!
It was great to finally visit Borobudur, which sits in a beautiful landscape ringed with wooded hills. It wasn’t the only temple we visited near Yogyakarta – look out for a post on Prambanan soon!
Practical info: Borobudur is around 30-40 minutes by road from Yogyakarta. Entry costs the equivalent of $20 USD.