The Borobudur Temple complex is the largest Buddhist monument in the world, and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Indonesia(facts). Known in the Indonesian language as Candi Borobudur, this astonishing structure is one of the finest examples of Southeast Asian architecture in existence.
Constructed in the 9th century A.D. during the influential Indonesian Sailendra Dynasty, Borobudur Temple is an enormous step pyramid structure built on a hill overlooking a beautiful and varied landscape on the island of Central Java. It was originally built to function as a Buddhist shrine, as well as a place to which Buddhists can make pilgrimage.
Its expansive and intricate system of corridors and stairways guide the visitor through various ascending heights, representing different stages of enlightenment.
Borobudur Temple has now been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and has often appeared on the list of the Seven Wonders of the World. Few people who visit this sprawling complex fail to be captivated by its massive scale and meticulous attention to detail that was obviously a part of its construction.
It is positioned in the heart of the lush Kedu Plain and flanked by several awe-inspiring volcanoes, visually inspiring a breathtaking sense of wonder and drama.
Interestingly enough, the temple was buried for centuries under several layers of volcanic ash and nearly impassable jungle growth. It wasn’t until the British briefly held administrative rule over the island of Java in the early 1800s that the site was rediscovered. Thomas Stamford Raffles, founder of Singapore and the acting British governor at the time, was informed about the lost monument in 1814 and spearheaded an expedition to uncover and restore the complex.
The restoration efforts were extensive and protracted, taking well over 70 years to unearth the entire structure. Over a century later, another restoration project was enacted by UNESCO working in concert with the Indonesian government, where the entire complex was completely cleaned and its foundations reinforced. Today, Borobudur Temple is the single most visited tourist site in Indonesia.
Should you plan to visit this magical location, keep in mind that Indonesia has a fairly even climate throughout the year, but it does have two primary seasons–wet and dry. If you’re not a big fan of rain, it’s best to visit during the dry season months of May through September. The best time to visit the temple itself is around sunrise–the temperature will be ideal, and you will get the most spectacular views at that time.
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