Bajawa Hot SpringsJanuary 9, 2017
Dendera – The Temple of HathorJanuary 9, 2017
Borobudur Temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument. Its dimensions are impressive: the side of its squared base is 113m long and the temple is 35m high. It was built with 1 600 000 volcano stones (andesite) for a combined weight of 143 000 tons, yes, that’s right! The temple is structured with a base/body/head ratio of 4:6:9, same ratio found at Angkor Vat in Cambodia. Borobudur was built by the Syailendra dynasty.
Borobudur Temple, 40km in north west of Yogyakarta in Kedu valley, is located near the Sundoro, Sumbing, Merbapu volcano and the most famous of them, Merapi. Borobudur Temple is surrounded by Progo and Elo rivers. It was discovered by Cornelius, Dutch engineer employed by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles in 1814. Sir Thomas, governor of Java island, heard about some monument near the village of Bumisegoro. Unable to go there by himself, he sent Cornelius along with 200 men who had to burn the vegetation and cut down many trees to discover the temple.
The three spheres of Borobudur Temple
Borobudur (Candi Borobodur in Indonesian) is divided in three parts : the base (Kamadhatu), the body (Rupadathu) and the head (Arupadathu), matching with the Buddhist conception of the universe. Kamadathu is the sphere of desires in which mortals are enslaved by their own desires. Rupadathu represents the sphere of forms in which we leave our desires but stay subjected to the name and the form. Finally, Arupadathu is the sphere of the break away from forms where there is no more name, no more form.
The walls and balustrades of Borobudur have reliefs which cover a total area of 2500m². Those reliefs are numbered at 2670. 1460 are narrative and 1212 are decorative. The narrative ones tell many stories about Buddhist religion like Buddha’s birth, the story of Siddarta (founder of Buddhism) or Sudhana’s quest for the ultimate truth.
Borobudur Temple hosted more than 500 statues of Buddha. 200 of them are still intact. The others are damaged or missing. All are Buddha representations sitting in lotus position. 432 of them are found in Rupadathu. When we arrive in Arupadathu, the Buddha Statues are protected by giant bells called stupas, numbered at 72. Being in the middle of this amazing set up, walking between these stupas with a breathtaking sight on the valley stays the main reason why Borobudur attracts visitors from all around the world.