Borobudur is a Buddhist stupa (map) and temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia dating from the 8th century, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Borobudur is the largest Buddhist temple in the world, and ranks with *Bagan in Myanmar and *Angkor Wat in Cambodia as one of the great archeological sites of Southeast Asia. Borobudur remains popular for pilgrimage, with Buddhists in Indonesia celebrating Vesak Day at the monument. Borobudur is Indonesia’s single most visited tourist attraction.
If you are still at Borobudur in the late afternoon, return to the top level for sunset. It is often very quiet at this time, and the sunset behind the mountains to the west is scenic.
There is no definite written record of who built Borobudur or why it was built. It was likely founded as a religious site in the 8th century at the peak of the Sailendra dynasty in central Java. The construction is thought to have taken a period of 75 years, and completed in about 825 AD.
In 1956 UNESCO began an assessment process for the full scale restoration of the monument.
Borobudur consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with no less than 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues of various types. The main dome, located at the centre of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupas. The square base is 118 m (387 ft) long on each side, and the highest point 35 m (114 ft) above ground level.
As well as being the single most popular tourist attraction in modern day Indonesia, Borobudur has resumed its role as an important place of worship and pilgrimage for Indonesian Buddhists. Visitors should be understanding and respectful of this, especially during major Buddhist holiday periods.
The only practical means of getting around Borobudur is on foot. If you are staying in the area, most local hotels and guesthouses will rent bicycles. This is a good way of exploring the other sights and local villages around Borobudur.
The vast majority of visitors stay in Yogyakarta and a few in Magelang. It is though well worth spending the night at Borobudur as this will give you a chance the following morning to get to the temples before the crowds arrive.