Tourist Sights The Borobudur in Indonesia

About the unique tourist sight the Borobudur in Central Java Indonesia, description, location, and history of the largest Buddhist stupa in the world.




Sight: The Borobudur.

This is the largest Buddhist stupa (domelike mound) in the world, built over 1,000 years ago by the Javanese Sailendra dynasty. Its ground plan is comprised of five square lower terraces and three round upper ones whose walls contain an incredible number of reliefs. Those at the base depict the misery caused by the Wheel of Life; the higher ones show how Buddha preached salvation and attained Buddhahood; those still higher trace the footsteps of a mythical pilgrim named Sudhana in search of Enlightenment. Its central stupa at the top, a conical hulk of stone, is surrounded by three rows of 72 smaller stupas, some containing Buddha images but most of them looted in the past of their sculptures.

Believed to be the "Cosmic Mountain," the Borobudur from a distance looks like a cake that failed to rise. From the air it looks like a mandala (a circular design whose concentric forms symbolize the universe). Practicing Buddhists still visit the spot and make their required clockwise circumambulation.

What is impressive about the monument is that it seems to absorb you as you go around and around and up and up. When you reach the top, it seems that suddenly you are released into the open air like a bird set free from a magician's hat. The architects apparently intended that a pilgrim's consciousness should be totally focused on the friezes wrapped around the Borobudur.

Location: About 20 mi. northwest of Jogjakarta in central Java, the heartland of the Indonesian civilization. Various means of transportation are available--chauffeured car, bus, or rented motorbike.

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