Borobudur: Pyramid Of The Cosmic Buddha

Temples of Asia | | May 27, 2009 at 7:22 pm


borobu1The grandeur of Borobudur is something immense, sphinx-like, incomprehensible and yet so fascinating. It overpowers with a sense of our own incapacity to give a description. Its enigmas are too many and too great for us to solve, and yet it exercises such a powerful charm, lays such a hold on the mind that we are irresistibly compelled to use all our powers to discover something of its mysterious being- Nicolaus J. Krom.

Located in the heart of the Island of Java in Southeast Asia, is the man made pyramid mountain of Borobudur. Comparable in size to the Egyptian pyramid at Saqqara, this mysterious structure contains more than 1.6 million stone blocks and measures more than 400 feet along either axis. Borobudur was built on a bedrock hill, 265 meters above sea level and 15 meters above the floor of the dried-out Paleo Lake. It was built at the end of the 9th century by the Hindu kings of the Sailendra dynasty. The monument structure consists of a large number of pagodas, stupas, and niches at the lower levels, with a single stupa crowning the whole. The structure consists of nine platforms out of which the lower six are square and the upper three are circular. The plan for this stupa is a schematized representation of the cosmos, a mandala. These represantions include Kamadhatu – the world of desire, Rupadhatu – the world of forms and Arupadhatu – the world of formlessness. Kamadhatu is the first platform forming the base of the monument. Rupadhatu forms the next five square platforms and Arupadhatu forms the three circular platforms and the large topmost stupa. The upper platform houses seventy-two small stupas which surround the large central stupa. Each stupa is bell-shaped and pierced by numerous decorative openings and statues of the Buddha are placed inside these enclosures.

Borobudur contains more than 2,670 individual bas reliefs portraying the stories of law of karma (Karmavibhangga), birth of Buddha (Lalitavistara), Prince Siddhartha story (Jataka), other legendary persons (Avadana) and Sudhana’s search for the Ultimate Truth (Gandavyuha). There are also some amazing statues of Lord Buddha including the Five Dhyani Buddhas and have their own symbolism. Borobudur is an important pilgrimage site for followers of Buddhism. There are annual celebrations and other activities of festivity on Waisak the Buddha’s birthday and candle-lit procession is organized from Candi Mendut to Borobudur.

The nearest larger airport is located at Yogyakarta which is an hour drive from Borobudur.


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  1. Flameater says:

    I’ve I get rich enough, I’ll build a house on top of a hill based on a Mandala design too!

  2. yaya says:

    We are Master students of National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.
    We are doing a research about Heritage in Yogyakarta, center of Java. We choose Borobudur and Prambanan to survey how heritage impacted or merged in tourism sites in Indonesia.
    And we really need your opinions about those two heritages so we could try our best to improve the tourism in heritage sites.
    Thank you for your help!!  Thank you very much!!!
    My e-mail:

    The Questionnaire address:

    Best regard.

    All of Students of Graduate Institute of Architecture and Historic Preservation.

  3. yourwebs says:

    Its shape is a combination between a stupa and a pyramid. Good info
    .-= yourwebs´s last blog ..Choosing Domain Names for Your Business =-.

  4. Borobudur is located in Center Java. There is a local story about this temple about how this temple build. Which is the King at that time want to show his power to Roro Mendut (a women who his love) to build the temple.
    .-= seminyak bali´s last blog ..Villa Senang / 3 Bedroom Deluxe =-.

  5. vareeja says:

    One of the facets of Borobudur is the law of karma (Karmavibhangga)

    The 160 hidden panels do not form a continuous story, but each panel provides one complete illustration of cause and effect.

    There are depictions of blameworthy activities, from gossip to murder, with their corresponding punishments.

    There are also praiseworthy activities, that include charity and pilgrimage to sanctuaries, and their subsequent rewards.

    The pains of hell and the pleasure of heaven are also illustrated. There are scenes of daily life, complete with the full panorama of samsara (the endless cycle of birth and death).

  6. paul richard says:

    This place looks very great and looks very interesting and i am planning to visit there for a research purpose
    thanks for sharing very informative article

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