What is the Borobudur Temple, and Why is it Famous?

The Borobudur Temple is a temple compound located in Yogyakarta, Central Java Province, Indonesia, and the largest and famous Buddhist temple in the world. It is a popular tourist destination as well as a popular Buddhist pilgrimage site in Southeast Asia. UNESCO designated this largest Buddhist monument as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1991. 

The name “Borobudur” is thought to be derived from Sanskrit words vihara Buddha uhr, which means “Buddhist monastery on the hill.” The temple was built in the 9th century by the kingdom of Mataram during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, over 300 years before Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. 

Over the centuries, as Islam became more popular in Indonesia, many Buddhist monuments, including Borobudur, became neglected and fell into decay. It was buried under volcanic ash from about 1000 and overgrown with vegetation until Sir Thomas Stanford Raffles ordered it to be rediscovered in 1814. The Indonesian government and UNESCO collaborated in the 1970s to restore Borobudur to its former glory. The second restoration was completed in 1983.

The Borobudur temple compound is surrounded by a green area and is a marvel of architecture with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. This temple’s architecture and stonework are peerless. There was no cement or mortar used in the construction. Built with about 2,000,000 cubic feet of gray volcanic store, Borobudur encloses a small hill and is shaped like a stepped pyramid with three primary levels – a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental central stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 square meters. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha. It is recognized as a notable example of Javanese Buddhist architecture.

In addition to the main temple, two smaller temples are situated due east: Pawon and Mendut temples. There are three temples in the region. Two miles east of Borobudur is Mendut, and between the two temples is Pawon temple.

Where Is Borobudur Temple Located and How to Get There?

Borobudur is located in the Kedu Plain, a Javanese sacred place and an agricultural region. It is about 1.5 hour’s drive from Yogyakarta, Island of Java, Indonesia. The easiest way to get there is by joining a tour, taking a taxi, or renting a car. During your journey to Borobudur, you can enjoy the fresh cool air of Magelang city with its roads lined with big shady trees. Borobudur itself stands tall against the spectacular backdrop of the Menoreh mountain range that surrounds it. 

When you arrive at the parking lot, you typically have to walk to the entrance gate. To acquire the tickets, you will have to pay 350,000 rupiahs (or $25) for international guests. There are other street vendors selling traditional Central Java cuisine that you may have never tried before if you still need to buy some snacks. Most visitors choose to explore the temple complex on foot, which is easy to do. Instead, you can draw a horse-drawn carriage for a reasonable price.

If you’re considering adding a visit to Borobudur to your Bali vacation, go ahead and do it! There are a number of direct flights from Bali to Yogyakarta (DPS to YIA), where Borobudur is located. The temple is one of the most impressive ancient monuments in the world, and it’s definitely worth a visit.

Best Time to Visit Borobudur Temple

The dry season, which runs from April to October, is the optimum time to visit Borobudur. This is a good time to explore the city’s numerous temples and other historical monuments since the weather is warm and sunny. Also, getting a clear view of the temple during the day rather than at night is recommended. 

Borobudur can be rather busy and noisy, especially on the weekends, because it is one of Indonesia’s most popular tourist destinations. Arriving early is the most effective strategy, especially if you buy a sunrise ticket allowing entrance to Borobudur at 4:30AM. If you stay in Yogyakarta, you should leave for Borobudur no later than 3:30AM. The “Sunrise at Borobudur” tickets are available for sale at the reception desk of Manohara resort. Manohara Resort is the only place that allows early access to Borobudur as it is located on the temple’s property.

You may also get your own guide if you’d prefer a guided tour rather than exploring on your own. This is a great option if you want to learn more about the area around Borobudur and have someone to help you navigate.

Where to Stay at Borobudur Temple

Being Indonesia’s biggest tourist attraction, the Borobudur area offers a wide selection of accommodation for all budgets, and you will have plenty of choices when it comes to finding the right place to stay. You can find a great deal on accommodation by booking ahead with online travel agents or through booking.com