Borobudur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. It is situated on the Indonesian island of Java, which is 40km’s northwest of Yogyakarta, and was built there by the Sailendra dynasty between 750 and 842 AD. No one knows exactly when it was built, but it is estimated that Borobudur took 75 years to build and the structure was completed during the reign of Samaratungga in 825.
Borobudur was lost and abandoned at around about 1100 AD when the seat of power shifted from central to western Java, and soon after ash from the local volcanoes covered Borobudur and the nearby jungle then grew up around and over it.
Borobudur was rediscovered in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles - who is known as a great admirer of history and culture – and he alerted the world of its existence and ordered a clear up of the area, removing trees, undergrowth and earth that had built up around the structure.
The temple is a massive step pyramid structure made from huge stone blocks and it is built on a hill surrounded by valleys and hills. Each level of the temple represents a stage of enlightenment. On the lower rectangular levels of the temple there are carved stone panels that tell the story of the Buddhist Sutras. In total there are 1,460 different scenes. The higher levels swap from a rectangular shape to a circular shape where 504 statues of the Buddha sit facing away from the center of the structure inside punctured bell shaped stupas. These levels are much less flamboyant, as the higher levels are supposed to represent the rise from an earthly ‘form’ to the higher, celestial state of formlessness. The very top of the monument is topped with an enormous bell shaped stupa, which is close to 10 metres in diameter. The center of the stupa is currently empty, but some people think that it might have originally held some form of icon inside.
The facts about the structure are just simply astounding:
* The stone embankment covering the basement: 11,600...