Borobudur, derived from the Sanskrit vihara Buddha uhr, meaning the Buddhist Monastery on the hill, is built on a bedrock hill, 265m above the sea level.  Borobudur is a 9th century Mahayana Buddhist monument near Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. It is a shrine to the divine grace of Lord Buddha and also a place of pilgrimage. Borobudur is likely to have been built during the Sailendra dynasty when it was under the influence of the Srivijayan Empire.

The Mighty Borobudur

The massive monument of Borobudur consists of six square platforms topped with three circular platforms and is adorned with 2,672 relief panel and 504 Buddha statues.  Arising from the centre is the central dome on the top platform surrounded by 72 perforated stupas within which 72 statues of Buddha are seated.

The pilgrimage to Borobudur starts at the base of the monument and follows a circular path through three levels of Buddhist cosmology to reach the top.  The three levels are:

  • Kamadhatu, the world of desire
  • Rupadhatu, the world of forms
  • Arupadhatu, the world of formlessness.
Borobudur Indonesia

Borobudur Information

Borobudur General Information
Architectural Style Stupa and Candi
Town or City Near Magelang, Central Java
Country Indonesia
Coordinates 7.608°S 110.204°E
Completed c. AD 800
Borobudur Companies Involved
Client Sailendra
Architect Gunadharma

Reliefs in Borobudur

Spread over 2500 sq mts, Borobudur contains 2670 separate bas reliefs, of which 1460 are narrative and 1212 are decorative panels.  These bas reliefs are spread across the hidden foot, Kamadhatu and the five square platforms Rupadhatu.  The reliefs detail the life of Buddha, his childhood, his wanderings in the forest and eventual attainment of Wisdom.  The panels also depict the working of the law of Karma.

Borobudur, the Attraction of Indonesia

In Indonesia Borobudur is known as Candi Borobudur, meaning ancient temple.  During the 14th century, Borobudur faded from popular vision as rulers changed in Indonesia.  In 1814, Sir Thomas Stamford, British ruler of Java was apprised of its location by the natives and slowly Borobudur came into limelight following many restoration efforts.  The major project of restoration in contemporary times was taken by Indonesian government and the UNESCO, in 1973 which resulted in the monument being declared as a World Heritage Site.

Now Borobudur is restored as a place of worship and pilgrimage. Once a year, during the full moon in May or June, Buddhists flock to Borobudur to observe the festival of Vesak which commemorates the life of Lord Buddha.

Borobudur is the single most favored tourist destination in Indonesia.  With more than half a million visitors coming in, Borobudur is sure to stay on the map for a long time.

Borobudur Narrative Panels Distribution

Section Location Story Panels
Hidden Foot wall Karmavibhangga 160
First Gallery main wall Lalitavistara 120
Jataka/Avadana 120
balustrade Jataka/Avadana 372
Jataka/Avadana 128
Second Gallery balustrade Jataka/Avadana 100
main wall Gandavyuha 128
Third Gallery main wall Gandavyuha 88
balustrade Gandavyuha 88
Fourth Gallery main wall Gandavyuha 84
balustrade Gandavyuha 72
Total 1,460

Borobudur Buddha Statues

Mudra Symbolic Meaning Dhyani Buddha Cardinal Point Location of the Statue
Bhumisparsa mudra Calling the Earth to witness Aksobhya East Rupadhatu niches on the first four eastern balustrades
Vara mudra Benevolence, alms giving Ratnasambhava South Rupadhatu niches on the first four southern balustrades
Dhyana mudra Concentration and meditation Amitabha West Rupadhatu niches on the first four western balustrades
Abhaya mudra Courage, fearlessness Amoghasiddhi North Rupadhatu niches on the first four northern balustrades
Vitarka mudra Reasoning and virtue Vairochana Zenith Rupadhatu niches in all directions on the fifth (uppermost) balustrade
Dharmachakra mudra Turning the Wheel of dharma (law) Vairochana Zenith Arupadhatu in 72 perforated stupas on three rounded platforms

Borobudur Hotels

  • Losari Coffee Plantation Resort And Spa
  • Hyatt Regency Yogyakarta
  • Cakra Kembang hotel
  • Adya Nalendra Boutique Hotel
  • Amaris Diponegoro Jogja
  • Grand Mercure Yogyakarta
  • The Phoenix Hotel Yogyakarta
  • The Jayakarta Yogyakarta Hotel & Spa
  • Gloria Amanda Hotel


See Also Other Natural Wonders in Asia