13 Suprising Facts about Borobudur Temple in Indonesia
Borobudur is an important place of worship for Buddhists that considered as one of Most Beautiful Temples in Indonesia. It is one of the most famous cultural heritage sites. As the form of harmony in achieving the aesthetics of Buddhist architecture on the island of Java, Borobudur temple is more popular today in around the world.
With all those privileges, this site is always becomes a mandatory list for any foreigners that visit Indonesia. And for Indonesians, you must be more familiar with this temple. However, you need to see the facts of Borobudur temple below.
- Built with volcanic stack without using any adhesive
For those who have been visited Borobudur, you must know very well that the Borobudur temple was built without the use of any adhesive. Borobudur Temple is composed of stone blocks. Each piece of stone is arranged without the use of cement or adhesive. These stones are only stacked and spliced with certain patterns to bind each other (Interlock). Remarkably, it is long lasting!
- Built during 23 years without any sophisticated tools
Currently, a 25-floor building can be built for a year with modern equipment. The size of Borobudur temple is the same as a 10-floor building. When building Borobudur, there is no bulldozer to level the ground. No trucks to carry rocks. Also there is no crane to hoist the stone up.
All work is done with simple tools such as hammers and levers. The only vehicle there is a ‘pedati’. Pedati is a cart pulled by a cow. You could imagine how large and heavy stones should be pulled slowly. It is arranged one by one until it form a Borobudur temple. That is why, it needed 23 years to build Borobudur Temple.
- Located in the special area
Borobudur is located in a fertile and strategic area. This Buddha temple is located among two mountains of Mount Merapi and Merbabu, Sindoro and Sumbing Mountain. Then, Menoreh Mountains also takes a part to ‘keep’ Borobudur Temple. There are also two rivers, Progo and Elo in the surrounding of the Borobudur Temple. It is really wonderful, right? (Read also: Highest Mountain in Indonesia)
- The biggest Buddhist Temple in the world
Borobudur temple is listed on Guinness World Records as the largest archaeological site of Buddhist temple in the world, with an area of 15,129 square meters, 42 meters high with 10 levels, realistic length is more than 1 km, and consists of 72 stupas. In addition, Borobudur Temple also awarded the title as a UNESCO World Heritage. (Read also:Buddhism in Indonesia)
- Consists of 2672 reliefs
The walls of Borobudur temple filled with 2672 relief panels that if arranged in a line will reach a length of six kilometers. It is hailed as the largest and most comprehensive ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world. In the value of art, reliefs in Borobudur temple could be categorized as great.
Relief that carved on the walls of the temple is divided into four main stories, namely Karmawibangga, Lalita Wistara, Jataka and Awadana, and Gandawyuha. They are mainly told about the Buddha’s life journey and the values. The reliefs also recorded the progress of Javanese society at that time.
- The head of the statue often be stolen because its high price
Borobudur doesn’t stand without any risk or threats. The threats to the destruction of the temple building not only come from natural disaster, but also some crimes by stealing some parts of the temple, especially the head of Buddha statue that was cut by pushing it down. The thieves usually would sell it with the high price to the collector.
- 9 Stupas were broken in 1980 because of the bomb attack
Borobudur temple during the early of Indonesia government after independence was also often received much threat. Based on History of Borobudur Temple, finally the most terrible threat came in 1980. A radical leader blasts a bomb and destroys the 9 stupas. The destroyed stupas fail to be saved. In the end the radical leader was detained and jailed for a series of bomb threats.
- Had been declared as one of the 7 miracles in the world
Borobudur Temple is the largest temple relics in the 9th century. This temple looks so stunning and sturdy that makes it become famous throughout the world. This high-value historical legacy once became one of the seven miracles of the world. But did you know that just like in other archaeological buildings, Borobudur Temple saves the mystery of how to build it? This mystery still makes many speculative opinions to the controversy.
9. Used as the accurate direction
Some of you would say it just need to see the direction of the rising sun to determine where the east. However, it is actually not so accurate. One thing you need to remember when the earth rotates in a state of tilts that is about 22.1 degrees to 24.5 degrees. That is why the sun does not always precisely rises in the east. The sun only really rises at the eastern point 2 times a year. It is on about 20 to 21 March and 22 to 23 September.
Surprisingly, the architect of Borobudur Temple realized this, and he already knew the true eastern point. Therefore, Borobudur temple is made by facing south and north with accurate and very precise.
10.The stupa is used as the sundial
Have you ever been to Borobudur Temple? If you have so, you would know that in this one temple there are many stupas-shaped like a bell upside down. In Borobudur temple there are 72 stupas, the largest stupa is on the top floor of Borobudur Temple. According to the scientists, the stupa at Borobudur Temple also serves as a sundial. This clock is used as a timepiece of the time.
- Became well-known in the world because of Sir Thomas Raffles
At that time Borobudur began to be known in the world not because of its many photos spread in Instagram. In ancient times, to obtain information from other parts of the world is very limited. However, a book by Sir Thomas Raffles entitled ‘The History of Java’ or ‘History of Java Island’ makes the name of Borobudur Temple is widespread all over the world.
- The meaning of Borobudur’s name is still be mysterious
There are many speculations why its name is Borobudur. Many experts try to interpret the meaning of the name Borobudur. Raffles defines Borobudur in three versions of the name, namely Borobudur which means the Great Buddha (Boro = Great, Budur = Buddha), ancient place (Boro = area name, Budur = ancient), and (Boro = Many, Buddur = Buddha). Unfortunately, the name of Borobudur is still not yet certain.
- Located in a straight line with Pawon and Mendut Temple
The Pawon temple, Mendut Temple, and Borobudur temple are not located in the same complex area, but they are still closed enough. Surprisingly if you draw a straight line in a map, the location of the three temples is in a sharp straight line. The three temples are indeed Mahayana Buddhism that spread to East Asia. There is also a myth that there is a straight path between the three temples that are often used in ancient times. (Read also: Buddhist Temple in Bali Indonesia)
Those are the facts of Borobudur temple. If you have any intention to visit the temples in Indonesia, you could also take a look to visit Hindu Temple at Bali or Underwater Temple in Bali. You know that Indonesia is one of country with most number of temples. So, have you set a time to visit one of them?