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.
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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This famous Buddhist temple, dating from the 8th and 9th centuries, is located in central Java. It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa.
Overlooking the fertile valley of Magelang and facing the volcano Merapi, 40 km north from the province of Jogjakarta, stands a breathtaking monument that was built during the 8th century by the Bouddhist dynasty of Sailendra.
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