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Borobudur Temple Compounds UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Hey everyone, welcome to World Heritage Journey. For today's article, we're checking out Borobudur, in Indonesia. The incredible Borobudur temple is the largest Buddhist temple in the entire world. Located near the city of Yogyakarta in central Java, Borobudur was built in the early 9th century AD, though little is known about its construction. Although the bell-shaped stupas at the top are the most eye-catching feature, the whole complex is covered in small details that are really worth a closer look.

The temple itself consists of nine ascending platforms in a stepped square pyramid shape, each side roughly 120 metres long. The lower six platforms are square shaped, while the upper three platforms are circular, with a large stupa directly in the centre at the top. Viewed from above, the temple is laid out in the shape of a Buddhist mandala representing the Buddhist cosmology. It's still an active Buddhist shrine, where pilgrims walk clockwise around each of the nine platforms, symbolically ascending towards Nirvana on the topmost platform. The art here is absolutely sublime.

There's over 2,500 relief carvings, mostly located on the lower platforms, and there's a huge variety here. In addition to carvings of Buddha, his life and his teachings, there's also carvings from Buddhist mythology, and even article of daily life in 8th century Java as well. Although these days the rock is entirely black and grey from 1200 years of erosion, archaeologists doing restoration work have discovered traces of both plaster and coloured pigments, suggesting that the carvings were once brightly painted. In addition to the carvings, Borobudur also features over 500 Buddha statues. Every one of the bell-shaped stupas on the upper platforms contains a Buddha statue, and all of them are subtly different.

Sadly, many of these have been damaged, and a large number of them are headless. These days, many visitors at Borobudur go for the sunrise, and definitely for good reason. reading the sun come up over nearby Mount Merapi and slowly illuminating the whole monument was one of the most special experiences we've had so far on the World Heritage Journey..

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