Ideal duration: 4-5 Hours
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The Borobudur Temple complex is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. One of the most visited attractions in Indonesia, it was built in the 8th-Century. A marvel of Buddhist architecture, with multiple platforms stacked on each other, the temple is capped off with a magnificent dome peering down on top of them. The temple is also adorned with hundreds of relief panels and statues of the Buddha in multiple meditative postures, most of which are still intact today. The temple itself is located just 45 minutes away from the thriving metropolis of Yogyakarta.
The temple complex houses three structures – the main Borobudur temple and two other smaller temples, namely the Mendut and Pawon Temples. Following the major restoration work that UNESCO undertook in 1973, it again started to be used as a place of worship. The panels and reliefs at the temple tell various stories, including the story of Prince Siddhartha and the birth of Buddha. Sunrise tours that give visitors the perspective of the Borobudur temple complex bathed in the morning sun are exceedingly popular.
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While the exact origins of the temple complex are ambiguous, Borobudur is widely believed to have been constructed in the 9th century, under the rule of the Sailendra Dynasty. It is heavily influenced by Buddhist and Indian forms of art from the Gupta period. It was used as a place of worship, but then was gradually abandoned for reasons unknown to us, and lay hidden in volcanic ash and jungles. Restoration work was gradually carried out since the 19th century, and UNESCO declared it to be a world heritage site in 1991. Currently, the temple has thousands of visitors daily and has become a tourist hub of the region.