top of page
Pink Sugar

History and rediscovery of the Borobudur temple in Jawa

The historical significance of Borobudur.

Borobudur is not only one of the largest Buddhist temple complexes in Southeast Asia , but also a testament to the impressive craftsmanship and spiritual depth of the time. The complex was built in the 9th century and served as a central sanctuary for Buddhist practice and meditation.

  • The temple complex includes a square foundation with step pyramids.

  • Numerous niches house Buddha statues and reliefs depicting the life of Buddha and the teachings of Buddhism.

  • There are 72 stupas on the upper terrace, which have unique architectural features.

Borobudur is a place that continues to attract and fascinate people from all over the world.

Rediscovered in the 19th century

The rediscovery of Borobudur Temple in the 19th century marked a turning point in Indonesian history. Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British governor of Java, played a crucial role in its rediscovery in 1814 after hearing of the ruin's existence from locals.

  • Raffles commissioned the Dutch engineer HC Cornelius to survey the site.

  • It took Cornelius and his team two months to clear the facility of dense vegetation.

The rediscovery of Borobudur was important not only for archeology, but also for Indonesia's cultural self-image.

The excavation of the temple revealed its impressive size and the artistic reliefs that continue to fascinate visitors from all over the world. The significance of this discovery for Indonesian culture and history can hardly be overestimated.

Borobudur as a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Since 1991, Borobudur Temple has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, a recognition that underlines its historical and cultural significance. This award has drawn global attention to Borobudur and highlighted its importance as one of Southeast Asia's greatest Buddhist shrines.

  • UNESCO recognition has not only led to an increase in visitor numbers, but has also highlighted the need for preservation and restoration of the facility.

  • International cooperation and financial support are essential for conservation work.

Inscription on the World Heritage List is a crucial step towards the protection and sustainable preservation of the temple for future generations.

Architectural features

The square foundation and step pyramids.

The square foundation of Borobudur, complemented by the characteristic step pyramids, forms the basis of this unique temple complex. This structure reflects Hindu cosmology and symbolizes the connection between the mortal and the divine.

  • The base consists of several platforms on top of each other.

  • Each level represents a step closer to enlightenment.

  • The upper levels are reached through a series of steps symbolizing spiritual ascension.

Borobudur is not only a historical wonder but also a place where the greatness of human creativity and spiritual significance can be contemplated.

Niches with Buddha statues and reliefs

The niches of Borobudur Temple are decorated with over 500 Buddha statues and numerous reliefs depicting the Buddha's teachings and scenes from the life of the historical Buddha. These works of art are not only of inestimable religious value, but also a testament to the masterful craftsmanship of the builders.

  • The reliefs tell stories from the Jataka tales that describe Buddha's previous lives.

  • Each statue and relief is unique, highlighting the diversity of representations and interpretations of Buddhism.

The careful arrangement and execution of these artworks convey a deep spiritual message and invite visitors to meditate on the teachings of Buddha.

The 72 stupas on the upper terrace

On the upper terrace of Borobudur Temple there are 72 stupas, which are a distinctive feature of the complex. Known for their bell-like shape, these stupas each house a Buddha statue that can be viewed through the ornate openings.

  • Each stupa symbolizes the path to enlightenment in Buddhism.

  • The stupas are arranged in perfect harmony, reflecting the cosmic order in Buddhism.

Visitors are encouraged not just to admire the stupas from a distance, but to get up close and look at the fine details of the carvings and statues.

The 72 stupas on the upper terrace of Borobudur are an unforgettable experience and offer beautiful views over the surrounding landscape. They invite you to reflect on the spiritual meaning and the masterpiece of craftsmanship they represent.

Cultural and religious significance

Borobudur as a Buddhist sanctuary

Borobudur Temple in Central Java, Indonesia , not only represents an architectural masterpiece but is also a central Buddhist shrine. Since its rediscovery in the 19th century, Borobudur has attracted people from all over the world seeking spiritual enlightenment or simply experiencing the deep tranquility of this place.

Borobudur is a place of meditation and prayer that offers visitors a unique connection to Buddhist teachings.

The complex includes several levels that symbolically represent the path to enlightenment. Visitors can explore the following elements:

  • The square foundation symbolizes the material world.

  • The step pyramids represent the different levels of spiritual development.

  • The 72 stupas on the upper terrace represent the achievement of Nirvana.

Religious ceremonies and festivals

Borobudur is not only an architectural masterpiece but also a center for Buddhist practice and celebration. Annually, the temple attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors, especially during the Vesakh celebration , which commemorates Buddha's birth, enlightenment and death. This celebration is a highlight in Indonesia's cultural calendar and offers a unique opportunity to delve deeply into Buddhist culture.

  • Vesakh is determined according to the lunar calendar and usually falls in the month of May.

  • The celebrations include ritual washings of Buddha images, meditative processions and the release of lanterns into the sky, symbolizing liberation from suffering and ignorance.

Borobudur is a living example of how traditional religious practices and modern spirituality can go hand in hand.

Impact on the local community and tourism

Borobudur Temple has a profound impact on the local community and tourism in Central Java. The appeal of this UNESCO World Heritage Site has led to increased economic activity in the region, particularly in the areas of tourism and hospitality.

  • The creation of jobs in hotels, restaurants and transport

  • Increasing local handicrafts through the sale of souvenirs

  • Increasing international attention for Central Java

Borobudur is not only a place of cultural heritage but also a catalyst for economic development and cultural exchange.

Conservation and restoration

Conservation challenges

The preservation of Borobudur Temple poses a particular challenge due to its historical significance and unique architecture. The main issues include:

  • Environmental damage caused by air pollution and acid rain

  • Erosion and wear of the stones due to weather influences

  • Growing visitor numbers leading to physical wear and tear

The need to find the balance between tourism and conservation is crucial.

Preservation efforts must be carefully planned and implemented to preserve the temple for future generations. Cooperation with international organizations and the use of the latest technologies play an important role.

Restoration work over the years

The restoration work on Borobudur Temple has gone through various phases over the years, ranging from the preservation of the structure to the restoration of the fine details in the reliefs and statues. The extensive efforts have contributed to Borobudur being considered one of the best-preserved Buddhist monuments in the world.

  • First phase: Securing the foundations and drainage systems

  • Second phase: cleaning and restoration of the reliefs and statues

  • Third phase: protective measures against environmental influences

The role of the international community, particularly UNESCO, was crucial to the success of the restoration work.

The role of UNESCO and international organizations

The efforts of UNESCO and other international organizations have played a crucial role in the preservation and restoration of Borobudur Temple. This collaboration has helped ensure that Borobudur is preserved for future generations.

  • Support in financing restoration projects

  • Providing expert knowledge and technical assistance

  • Promote cultural exchange and awareness of the importance of the temple

The international community recognizes the importance of Borobudur as a symbol of cultural heritage and human creativity.

Visitor experiences

Guided tours and climbing the facility

Climbing Borobudur Temple offers a unique experience, enhanced by the expert accompaniment of a guide. Visitors should prepare for an impressive journey of discovery that touches on both the physical and spiritual dimensions.

  • Before climbing, it is advisable to find out about the necessary preparations.

  • Registration for a guided tour can be done on site or online.

  • During the tour, visitors are familiarized with the historical and cultural background of the facility.

The experience of climbing at sunrise is particularly recommended as it offers unparalleled views over the surrounding landscape.

Importance for tourism in Central Java

The importance of Borobudur Temple for tourism in Central Java can hardly be overestimated. Borobudur attracts millions of visitors from all over the world every year, making it one of the major tourist attractions in the region.

  • The variety of activities on offer, from historical tours to spiritual experiences, appeal to a wide range of interests.

  • The surrounding countryside and proximity to other attractions such as the Prambanan Temple complex increase its appeal to tourists.

  • The economic impact of tourism on the local community is significant, with many jobs directly or indirectly dependent on tourism.

Borobudur is not only a place of cultural heritage but also a catalyst for economic development and cultural exchange in Central Java.

Personal impressions and reviews from visitors

The Borobudur temple complex attracts thousands of visitors every year who are mesmerized by its majestic beauty and spiritual atmosphere. Many share their experiences and reviews on platforms like Tripadvisor to provide insight to future visitors.

  • The complex is absolutely worth seeing and offers unique insights into Buddhist culture.

  • An early visit is recommended to avoid the crowds and enjoy the silence of the morning hours.

Personal impressions vary, but the overwhelming majority of visitors rate the experience as positive and enriching.


The Borobudur temple complex in Central Java, Indonesia, is not only an impressive example of Buddhist architecture, but also a place of great cultural and historical importance. Since its rediscovery in the 19th century, it has attracted visitors from all over the world to admire the artistic reliefs, majestic stupas and spiritual atmosphere of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. The proximity to Prambanan Temple and other attractions makes Central Java a must-see destination for anyone wanting to experience Indonesia's rich history and culture. Borobudur stands as a symbol of Indonesia's cultural diversity and historical depth and remains an unforgettable experience for every visitor.

31 views0 comments


bottom of page