Borobudur: The Legend of the World’s Largest Buddhist Monument

Borobudur: The Legend of the World’s Largest Buddhist Monument

Hello, PikiranMedia’s Friends! If you ever visit Indonesia, there’s one place you shouldn’t miss: Borobudur. It’s located in Central Java, around 40 kilometers northwest of Yogyakarta. Borobudur is the world’s largest Buddhist monument and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In this article, we’re going to explore the legend and history of Borobudur.

The Legend of Borobudur

According to the legend, Borobudur was built by a king named Samaratungga from the Sailendra dynasty. He built it as a monument to his mother, Queen Tara. Queen Tara was a devout Buddhist, and she had a vision of a grand temple that would help people achieve enlightenment. She shared her vision with her son, who then instructed his engineers and architects to build it.

The construction of Borobudur began in the 8th century and lasted for over 75 years. The monument was built on a hill, surrounded by volcanoes and rivers. Its design was inspired by the Buddhist cosmology, which views the universe as a series of concentric circles.

The History of Borobudur

After it was completed, Borobudur served as a center of Buddhist learning and pilgrimage for over a century. However, in the 10th century, when the Sailendra dynasty declined, Borobudur was abandoned and left to the elements.

For centuries, Borobudur was hidden under layers of ash and jungle growth. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British Governor-General of Java, ordered a restoration project. The project was completed in the early 20th century, and Borobudur was once again open to the public.

The Design of Borobudur

Borobudur consists of nine stacked platforms, six square and three circular. The platforms are topped by three circular terraces and a central dome. The entire structure is decorated with over 2,500 reliefs and 500 Buddha statues. The reliefs tell stories from the life of the Buddha and the Jataka tales, which are Buddhist moral stories.

Each layer represents a different stage of enlightenment. The first five layers represent the world of desire, the middle three represent the world of form, and the top layer represents the formless world of enlightenment. The central dome represents Nirvana, the ultimate goal of Buddhism.

The Symbolism of Borobudur

Each element of Borobudur’s design has deep symbolism in Buddhist cosmology. The square platforms represent the four elements: earth, water, fire, and air. The circular terraces represent the ten levels of Bodhisattva, or enlightenment. The statues of Buddha represent the Buddha-nature that exists in all beings.

The reliefs on the walls represent the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. They also depict the teachings of the Buddha, such as the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

Visiting Borobudur

If you’re planning to visit Borobudur, there are some things you should know. The monument is open from 6 am to 5 pm. There are three entrances, but the main one is on the east side. You’ll need to pay an entrance fee, which depends on your nationality. There are also guides available who can give you more information about the monument.

When you visit Borobudur, make sure you wear modest clothing, as it’s a religious site. You should also bring sunscreen and water, as it can get hot during the day. If you can, try to visit Borobudur at sunrise or sunset, as the light is perfect for photography.


Borobudur is not only a magnificent monument, but also a symbol of Buddhist philosophy and cosmology. It reminds us of the importance of enlightenment and the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. Visiting Borobudur is an experience that you won’t forget. We hope this article has inspired you to include Borobudur in your travel bucket list.

Thank you for reading, and see you in another interesting article!

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