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Borobudur Photo Tour: Climbing the Largest Buddhist Temple in the World

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Borobudur is the world’s largest free standing Buddhist temple.  Built in the 9th century, the temple is constructed in typical Javanese Buddhist Architecture combining elements of traditional Indonesian ancestor worship with the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.  Carvings on the walls of the temple reflect both ancestor and Buddha worship in a unique melding of the two religions.  In total Borobudur is adorned with 2672 relief panels and 504 Buddhist statues mostly carved into the temple walls. The structure is pyramidal in shape containing 9 different levels each stacked on top of on another with a large stupa at the top forming the peak.

The first 6 levels are formed by concentric squares.  These layers are where the ancestral reliefs are found.  Forming the final three layers on top are concentric circles of bell shaped stupas, each containing a mediating Buddha statue inside.  The final layers of stupas represent the highest level of attainment in the Buddhist religion: enlightenment.

Traditionally, Borobudur was a destination for Buddhist pilgrims to come worship.  Upon arriving at the temple the Buddhists followed a pattern, beginning at the base of the monument and slowly ascending upwards as they symbolically pass through the 3 phases of Buddhism: the world of desire, of form, and finally, of formlessness.

Following the conversion of the Javanese people to Islam in the 14th century the temple fell into disrepair until 1975 when the Indonesian government worked with UNESCO to restore the temple in its entirety.  Today, the temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Indonesia’s largest tourist attraction.  Borobudur is truly an amazing place not to be missed during a visit to Indonesia.

The first sighting of Borobudur after you walk through the gate.
The amazing Borobudur temple in its entirety.
Admiring the geometric shape of Borobudur’s stacked concentric squares.
One of the 504 Buddha statues adorning the temple.
Admiring the views as we climb the levels.
Staring up at the Buddhas.
Entering the final layers where the architecture changes from reliefs to stupas.
So many interesting angles.
Walking around the first layer of stupas.
So many bells, so many angles for photography.
I wonder how many buns are in this Buddha’s hair?
Trying and failing to get a shot of the bells sans tourists. Still beautiful!
After all the selfies we took with our Indonesian friends there was no way we were leaving without some of ourselves. Justin had to wear a sarong because his shorts were too short!
The incredible landscape of Borobudur. We spend so much time looking at the temple we almost forgot about the incredible views surrounding it!
A closeup of one of the stupas. If you look hard enough you can see the shadow of the Buddha sitting inside.
Bells with a view. This place is incredible. The view looking out from the topmost and largest stupa.
Looking up and the giant crowning jewel of Borobudur stupas.
We waited out a thunderstorm to get this photo. Thankfully the storm cleared out a lot of the tourists.
The pyramid that is Borobudur.
After the storm passed we walked up a hill in the park to see the temple from a different vantage point.
Our final shot of the day. The largest Buddhist temple in the world emerging from the jungle.


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Borobudur | Indonesia | Indonesia Travel | Travel Photography

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