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The Lost Temple of Java, Borobudur

Published by Kristin Cowles, Editor-in-Chief

Country: Indonesia

The Experience

The sprawling fertile plains of Kedu in Central Java form a lush and bountiful backdrop to the Temple of Borobudur. Raised up between twin volcanoes Sumbing and Merapi along the undulating north ridge and lined with cool waters from the Progo and Elo rivers to the east, Borobudur is situated in a natural amphitheater of glory. This 9th century Buddhist monument is the world's largest and is made up of over 55,000 cubic metres of volcanic rock, the equivalent of more than a million blocks of carved stone. Comprised of nine platforms, adorned with over 2,600 relief carvings, and over 500 Buddha statues, Borobudur Temple exemplifies the transition over life to the state of Nirvana. Each terrace and accompanying relief stories symbolize the different levels of wisdom that one must go through in life to reach the enlightenment of Buddha, culminating with the grand finale of the spectacular upper terraces. Level one of the three terraces represents man's desires being influenced by negative impulses, level two man's ability to take control of the negative influences and use positive influences, and at the top level a world where man is no longer bound by physical and worldly desires.

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When to Go to Borobudur

A great time to visit Borobudur is on Vesak, Buddha's birthday held on the eve of the full moon typically in May. Elaborate lantern lit celebrations and colourful multi day Buddhist celebrations gather at Borobudur from a procession begun at Mendut Temple. If you can't make these festivities any time between April - September is a good time to visit.


Odds n' Ends

The cost of entry into Borobudur is approximately $15 Canadian, and is open from 6am - 5pm. For an additional $10 you can book a special sunrise tour with a local hotel that will get you entry and a lift to the temple at 4:30 am to view the beautiful sunrise spill over the over the surrounding countryside. Well worth the additional investment for an unparalleled view and time to explore the site before other tourist arrive! The Hindu temples of Prambanan only an hour away by car, also make an excellent compliment to viewing Borobudur.

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Language Guides

Indonesian , Malay , Mandarin , Portugese are some of the languages spoken in Indonesia. If you know of a freely available phrase book or podcast for one of the missing languages, let us know!


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