View of Borobudur Bas-relief Relief Wall

Borobudur on island of Java, Indonesia was built in the 9th century, but it has been abandoned for hundreds of years to be discovered for modern world in early 1800’s. This remarkably large stone structure is the biggest single Buddhist temple in the world. What distinguishes Borobudur is that this temple has no traditional building or chapel used for worship. This huge open structure was designed to express the Buddhist way of achieving the ultimate freedom - nirvana. The temple consists of two groups of terraces connected by steep staircases. The lower four are like a great book in the form of bas-reliefs that tell about the life of Buddha and his way to enlightenment. The top four terraces have no relievos, or ornaments. Walls are perfectly plain. The area is covered by many openwork stupas housing sitting Buddha statues. These circular terraces have no beginning or end. Walking there is like a journey into the state of meditation. The repeatability and perfect symmetry give a sense of understanding of infinity. The largest, central stupa which is the highest point of the whole structure is also a representation of nirvana.

Two Schoolgirls

Stupas of Borobudur Stone Stupas Open Stupa

Lower Terrace Borobudur Temple Borobudur Terraces

Candi Pawon

There are also two smaller Buddhist temples (candi) in the region. Candi Mendut and Candi Pawon lay in straight line with Borobudur. All of them are closely related, they are characterized by perfect symmetry and harmony of architectural designs.

Candi Pawon is the smallest of the three temples. It is a structure with a square base. Small terrace surrounds the temple. The interior of the building is now completely empty.

Candi Mendut

Candi Mendut is probably the oldest of the three temples. Originally it had two connecting rooms inside the building, but only one exists today. Inside the high chamber there are three statues of Bodhisattvas (Buddhist deities).