Candi Borobudur
The Largest Buddhist Temple in The World

Explore Candi Borobudur [BorobudurTemple], the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of the World | #ExploreSunda #Borobudur

 

Candi Borobudur in Central Java is the world’s largest Buddhist archaeological site, as recorded by the Guinness Book of World Records. In 1991, UNESCO include Candi Borobudur in its list of World Heritage Site. Borobudur temple is also one of the Seven Wonders of The World.

Candi is a term in Bahasa Indonesia that refers to a place of worship for Buddhists and Hindus. Usually, Candi is an ancient structure made of stones. Some are only seen as archaeological sites, but others are still used as places of worship. Thus, Candi is translated as a temple in English.

What is Candi Borobudur?

Candi BorobudurBorobudur Temple, the biggest Buddhist shrine in the world.

Candi Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist shrine in the world. The area of its base is 123 meters x 123 meters. This temple was built during Sailendra dynasty (circa 9th century). It was fully made of stones. The majority of its stone walls are decorated with relief (a wall-mounted sculpture). According to archaeologists, Borobudur temple was built in the shape of mandala and in the middle of an ancient lake. From an aerial view it looked like a stone lotus in the middle of a pond.

Borobudur temple comprises three zones representing Buddhist Cosmology: 

  1. Kamadhatu (the world of desire) at the foot of the temple. The reliefs are based on Karmawibhangga Sutra that tells the cause and effect law of human behavior. It consists of 160 reliefs, but the majority is hidden below ground. If you are interested, you can see the photography of the whole collection in the Borobudur Museum at the Borobudur Archaelogical Park.
  2. Moving up you will reach Ruphadatu (the world of forms). This zone comprises five levels of Gandhawyuha, Lalitawistara, Jataka, and Awadana. These stories were depicted over 1,300 reliefs, which stretched over 2.5 km. This zone also has 1,212 decorative panels.
  3. The last zone is Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness) at the top level. While the terraces of the other two zones are squares full with reliefs, the three terraces of Arupadhatu are circular without any relief, but there are 72 stupas here (stupa is a dome-shaped structure in a Buddhist shrine). There is a statue of Buddha inside each of this stupa. If you look closely, you can see that the statues represent six different hand positions of Buddha. The main stupa lies in the middle of the highest terrace, but there is not any statue inside it. 

Many more Buddha statues decorated Borobudur temple, there are 504 Buddha statues in total. Some intact, but many statues are missing some body parts, thus many of them are headless or armless.

Hundreds of Buddha Statues at Candi Borobudur (Borobudur Temple).Hundreds of Buddha Statues at Candi Borobudur.

Candi Borobudur is in-line with two other temples: Candi Pawon (approx. 1.15 km from Borobudur) and Candi Mendut (approx. 3 km from Borobudur). 

Every year there is a big procession during Vesak Day (the day to commemorate the birth, enlightenment, and the death of Buddha Gautama). The procession starts from Candi Mendut, then they all walk to Candi Borobudur. 

A Trip to Borobudur Temple

Everyday thousands of tourists explore Borobudur Temple.Everyday thousands of tourists explore Borobudur Temple.

Candi Borobudur has a vast garden surrounding it. The garden makes the temple more picturesque. Vehicles must be parked far away from the temple because too many vehicles create too much vibrations that will damage the temple. If you don’t want to walk through the park, you can buy a ticket and ride an open vehicles that will take you from the entrance gate to the backside of Borobudur. From there, you only need to take a short walk (less than 50 meters) to the temple yard (the foot of Borobudur temple). 

Opening Hours: 08.00-16.00

Tickets For Indonesian:

  • > 10 years old: Rp.50,000
  • 3-10 years old: Rp.25,000

Tickets For Foreigners:

  • > 10 years old: USD.25 ~ Rp.387,500
  • 3-10 years old: USD.15 ~ Rp.232,500

In the past, you can admire the relief sculpture by circling Borobudur temple level by level. There is one set of stairs on each side of the temple. Some people just climb straight to the top, but it's better to stop at each level and walk around it. You will be surrounded by stone walls covered with relief sculpture depicting the life of Buddha. The top level doesn’t have relief sculpture, it only has many stupas, each filled with a Buddha statue, except the stupa at the peak. It is the largest stupa, plain without any relief and there is not any Buddha statue inside.

Candi Borobudur (Borobudur Temple), the largest Buddhist temple in the world, is in Muntilan, Central Java, Indonesia.Candi Borobudur, the largest Buddhist Temple in the world.

However, in 2022, the number of visitors to Borobudur temple is limited to 1,200 people per day. Plus, you are not allowed to climb Borobudur temple. Please note that from Tuesday to Sunday, you can only admire this world of wonder from the temple yard (at the foot of Candi Borobudur) and the surrounding temple parks. On Mondays, you can only stroll around the surrounding temple parks.

Taman Wisata Borobudur, the office that manages Candi Borobudur, also manages Candi Prambanan and Candi Ratu Boko. Hence, it offers a bundling ticket to visit two of these three temples in one day.

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Explore Candi Borobudur [BorobudurTemple], the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of the World | #ExploreSunda #Borobudur
Explore Candi Borobudur [BorobudurTemple], the largest Buddhist temple in the world and one of the Seven Wonders of the World | #ExploreSunda #Borobudur

Since the open vehicle only goes one way from the entrance gate to the temple, once you are satisfied visiting Borobudur, you should walk through the exit passage, passing through various stalls of souvenirs and local foods. You also can rent an andong (a Javanese traditional horse cart) near the open vehicle station. It will take you through the villages surrounding Borobudur temple to reach the parking lot.

Shopping at Borobudur Temple's souvenir market.Shopping at Borobudur Temple's souvenir market.

Tips:

Since you will walk in the outdoor a lot, it’s better to come early in the morning to avoid the heat. 

How To Go To Borobudur Temple

Borobudur temple is located in Muntilan, Magelang, Central Java. It is a huge complex, hence, if you look up the address, it would be at Jalan Badrawati, Kawasan Candi Borobudur, Borobudur, Kecamatan Borobudur, Kabupaten Magelang, Jawa Tengah. The GPS Coordinates are 7°36'28.7"S 110°12'13.4"E (-7.607960, 110.203730). There are many road signs that will lead you the Borobudur complex.

Although Magelang is the closest city (17 km) to Candi Borobudur, people prefer to stay in Yogyakarta (40 km) or Solo / Surakarta (85 km), because both Jogja and Solo are the center of tourism and rich with Javanese culture. Plus, there are many flights and train schedules to Jogja and Solo. Today, plenty of accommodations are also available near Borobudur temple.

Although Borobudur temple is the most famous among the temples in Indonesia, there are many other interesting temples, both Hindus and Buddhist. Other temples we have covered here in ExploreSunda.com are:

Candi Prambanan, Central Java
Candi Gedong Songo, Central Java
Candi Cangkuang, Garut, West Java

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