Borobudur: Visiting the largest Buddhist Monument in the World

On one of my days in Yogya, I woke up at 4am to head out to visit Borobudur. From the center of the city, the bus ride is about an hour, but that is certainly only at 4am when traffic sleeps and no one is stirring except for the fruit market vendors setting up their stands before sunrise. I traveled to Borobudur with a bus organized by my hotel (Hotel Rengganis, which I highly recommend for anyone wanting to stay in a more traditional style (decoration and cuisine) hotel. There are both rooms and dormitories).  The trip was part of a tour that would first go to Borobudur and after to the Prambanan archaeological complex. The whole trip lasted about 8 hours and gave us the chance to spend about and hour and a half in each place however we like.

Borobudur was built in the ninth century. It is the largest Buddhist monument in the world and became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1991. It is constructed from stone in 9 platforms with an entrance and staircase to the top central stupa from each cardinal point. I started from the bottom walking around each level slowly before passing to the next. The first six platforms are built on a square plan with corridors decorated in relief. The top three platforms are circular in shape and dotted with stupas (72 in total). The bell-shaped stupas are made of brick with patterned openings allowing one to see inside the stupa where buddhas were once seated (many are no longer in the stupas on-site).

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approaching Borobudur
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along the first platform
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relief detail
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square platform details
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current restoration work
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relief detail
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view of an entrance point from above
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walking the square level corridors
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view from Borobudur
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relief detail
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relief detail
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walking the square level corridors
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circular stupa level
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stupas on a circular level
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view from a stupa circular level
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Borobudur from the ground
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the main tourist entrance point
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Borobudur
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small stupas in the sculpture garden
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collected reliefs in the sculpture garden
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the seemingly endless sculpture gardens
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