Category: Borobudur.

About Borobudur Temple Compounds

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History

Rulers of the Sailendra dynasty built Borobudur some time between AD 750 and AD 850. Little else is known about Borobudur’s early history, but the Sailendras must have recruited a huge workforce, as some 60,000 cubic metres of stone had to be hewn, transported and carved during its construction. The name Borobudur is possibly derived from the Sanskrit words ‘Vihara Buddha Uhr’, which mean ‘Buddhist Monastery on the Hill’.

With the decline of Buddhism and the shift of power to East Java, Borobudur was abandoned soon after completion and for centuries lay forgotten, buried under layers of volcanic ash. It was only in 1815, when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles governed Java, that the site was cleared and the sheer magnitude of the builders’ imagination and technical skill was revealed. Early in the 20th century the Dutch began to tackle the restoration of Borobudur, but over the years the supporting hill had become waterlogged and the whole immense stone mass started to subside. A mammoth US$25 million restoration project was under taken between 1973 and 1983 to finally finish the job.

On 21 January 1985, bombs planted by opponents of Soeharto exploded on the upper layers of Borobudur. Many of the smaller stupas were damaged, but it has once again been fully restored, demonstrating the structure’s timeless resilience.
In 1991 Borobudur gained the status of a World Heritage site.

Inscription Into World Heritage Background

Borobudur is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. Founded by a king of the Saliendra dynasty, it was built circa 800 to honor the glory of both Buddha and its founder, a true king bodhisattva.

A harmonious marriage of stupas, temple- mountain and the ritual diagram, this temple complex was built on several levels around a hill which forms a natural center.

The first level above the base comprises five square terraces, gradating in size and forming the base of a pyramid. Above this level are three concentric circular platforms crowned by the main stupa.

The base and the balustrades enclosing the square terraces are decorated in reliefs sculpted in the stone. They illustrate the different phases of the soul’s progression toward redemption and episodes from the life of Buddha. The circular terraces are decorated with no fewer than 72 openwork stupas each containing a statue of Buddha. Stylistically the art of Borobudur is a tributary of Indian influences (Gupta and post-Gupta styles).

Abandoned around the year 1000, the temple was gradually overgrown with vegetation. It was not rediscovered until the 19th century. A first restoration campaign, supervised by Theodor van Erp, was undertaken shortly after the turn of the century. A second one was led more recently (1973-1982) by Unesco. Since then, the management of the site has been monitored by Indonesian and Japanese experts.

The Buddhist temples at Pawan and Mendut are much more modest edifices associated with Borobudur, and comprise part of the site nominated.

– Criterion I. Borobudur is a principal monument of the Buddhist patrimony.

– Criterion IV. The complex forms a characteristic ensemble of Buddhist art in Java.

Category: Borobudur