What you should know about Borobudur — the world’s largest Buddhist monument


The world’s largest Buddhist monument

Borobudur temple stands on a 118m by 118m base topped by six square terraces, and three higher, circular terraces create a summit that culminates at a height of 36 meters. The site is located on a remote hilltop in central Java.

It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple.

The most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia

In 2009, the Indonesian Authorities estimated that Borobudur was receiving about 2.5 million visitors a year, most of whom were Indonesians. For many Indonesians, Borobudur is a sacred place of worship.



A Buddha statue

World Heritage Site

UNESCO listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991. According to UNESCO, the site “represents a masterpiece of human creative genius.”

Mysteriously abandoned

The facts behind its abandonment remain a mystery. The most credible hypothesis is that Borobudur was abandoned after a severe earthquake and a large eruption of the Merapi volcano between 928 and 1006. For centuries, the monument lay forgotten, buried under layers of volcanic ash and the lush vegetation of Java.


A corridor with reliefs on the wall (Photo by Frank Wouters)

Haunted place?

After being abandoned, many legends and superstitions associating Borobudur with bad luck started to appear.

Rediscovered under British administration from 1811 to 1816

Thomas Stamford Raffles is often credited for the “rediscovery” of Borobudur. At the time of his “discovery,” he was serving as governor of Java for the British administration. He showed a great interest in the history of the island, and after hearing rumors about a big temple in the jungle, he sent Cornelius, a Dutch engineer, to explore the area. After two months of intensive work, his team unearthed the complex.


Borobudur Stupas( Photo Okkisafire)

Several Restorations

The first renovation of Borobudur began in 1907 and was carried out over 4 years. The most significant restoration work was done between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government, supported by UNESCO.

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