Archive for the Tour Central Java Category


Posted in Tour Central Java on July 4, 2010 by Yappy Kawitarka

Tour Central Java : CANDI PRAMBANAN

Prambanan Temple Compounds – the Tallest and Most Beautiful, Largest Hindus Temple in the World

Prambanan, named after the village, is the biggest temple complex in Java. There are 224 temples in the complex; three towering temples on the central terrace dominate the complex. Those are Brahma Temple in the North, Visnu Temple in the South and the biggest among the three which lies between Brahma and Visnu is Çiwa Temple which soars up to 47 meters high.

Prambanan attracts many admirers each year from abroad. Situated about 15 km from Yogyakarta, the top of the main shrine is visible from a great distance and raises high above the scattered ruins of the former temples. Prambanan is the best seen shortly after dawn or in the late afternoon. However it is still beautiful at any time. Ancient Java’s greatest empire, The Mataram, first appeared on the stage of history in 732 AD, the year Sanjaya, a Hindu noble, established territorial rule over the fertile plains between the Progo and Opak rivers. In 750 AD, the Buddhist Syailendra dynasty overthrew Sanjaya, whose family and followers were exiled to the highlands on the periphery of Mataram. A century later, Rakai Pikatan, a descendant of King Sanjaya married into the Syailendras and rose to power. With his ascendancy came the rebirth of Hinduism and a new spate of the temple building, most notably the construction of Prambanan’s Roro Jonggrang complex.

Sanjaya Dynasty, a Hindu noble, established territorial rule over the fertile plains between the Progo and Opak rivers. The dynasty, in keeping with Hindu tradition, set him up as a semi-divine link between heaven and earth. To secure this status for eternity, and to unite the populace in a massive communal effort, he and his successors embarked on a centuries-long program of constructing religious monuments. The earliest Central Javanese Temples date from this period, including the foundations of the great Borobudur.

On Prime Site the World Heritage Archeological Park Prambanan : The legend of Ramayana When History Comes to Life  120 minutes show, with 15 minutes intermission

Prambanan Theatre on the next site of the world heritage archeological park of Prambanan temple is one of the world class arts centers, officially opened on 1990. This architectural icon with its distinctive Prambanan view is sited within Yogyakarta’s civic district, just about 15-30 minutes of down townYogyakarta. Prambanan Theatre aims to be a performing arts centre for everyone, and its programmes cater to its diverse audiences. Ramayana Ballet and its programmed line-up span all genres to encompass music, dance, theatre and visual arts, with a special emphasis on Asian culture.

Enjoy Ramayana Ballet, the legend of Prambanan when history comes to life

Presented by more than 250 artists at its original place: Ramayana Open Air Theater & Trimurti Theater Prambanan Temple complex – Yogyakarta – Indonesia.

Ramayana Ballet at present time being the most popular performance in Yogyakarta. It is held at an outdoor theater (episodic and full story) and Trimurti indoor theater (full story) in Prambanan, 16 km east of Yogyakarta, with the magnificent Prambanan Temple as a scenic background. Ramayana Ballet presents the finest dancers from the region.

Calendar of Event 2010

Venue : Outdoor Theater, PRAMBANAN
Time : 7:30 – 9:30 PM

MAY 20 22 25 27 28 29 30 31
JUNE 15 16 17 19 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
JULY 15 17 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31
AUGUST 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 31
SEPTEMBER 21 23 24 25 26 27 28 30
OCTOBER 21 22 23 24 25 26 28 30

Ticket Information for Ramayana Ballet Show Performance

To gain admission to the venue, please produce tickets at the entrance. All audiences are required to have ticket.

VIP IDR 250.000
Preferred Seat IDR 175.000 IDR 175.000
Premium Seat IDR 150.000 IDR 150.000
Standard Seat IDR 75.000 IDR 75.000

Prambanan Theatre Office :

Jl. Raya Jogya – Solo Km 16 Prambanan, Jogyakarta 55571 – INDONESIA

Phone/ Fax.  +62 274 496 408

Email :

Website :

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Ratu Boko

Posted in Tour Central Java on July 4, 2010 by Yappy Kawitarka

Tour Central Java : CANDI RATU BOKO

Ratu Boko the lost Masterpiece Palace Complex from the 8th century, the only Hindu and Buddhist Mixed-architectural Archeological site

The history of Ratu Boko, begin with Prambanan
The original architectural layout and design is not fully known, within the 19.6 Ha of land on top of the hill, there remain the stone basements of pendopo hall (on which stood wooden building) and other palace building, a structure that was presumably a water tank or a bathing place man-made flat terrace and ruins of stone walls.[Source: Borobudur Prambanan, National Archeological Park, JICA: 1979]

The history of Ratu Boko, begin with Prambanan are a large number of inscription  dating from the second half of the eight century to the middle of ninth century have been found on Ratu Boko hill and at the Kalasan, Loro Jonggrang, Sewu, Plaosan and other candi. In particular, the Sanskrit inscription dated in 856 AD is important. From them it can be summarized that the Buddhist Shailendra dynasty and the Hindu Mataram often cooperated with one another but that in the middle of the ninth century the later defeated the former.

When we heard the word Kraton (Palace), our imagination will automatically think about Rakai, Palace and the Royal facilities. But those that we imagine can’t be found at Ratu Boko Kraton, when it was found, and who gave the name. According to the ancient inscription that was made by Rakai Panangkaran in 746-784 AD, at the beginning the building around Ratu Boko heritage site is called Abhayagiri Wihara. Abhaya means no danger or peace.

Abhayagiri means the Buddhist monks dormitory/wihara that is located at the peaceful area on top of the hill. In the next period between 856-863 AD, Abhayagiri Wihara changed its name became Walaing Kraton that is proclaimed by Vasal Rakai named Rakai Walaing Pu Kumbayoni. Mandyasih inscription, which was built in 898-908 AD by Rakai Watukara Dyah Balitung, still mentioned Walaing as the pedigree of Punta Tarka who made Mantyasih inscription. From the beginning of 10th century until the end of 16th century, there is no news about Kraton Walaing.

The Shailendra stronghold at that time was Ratu Boko hill, and three kinds of “lingga” were erected to commemorate the Mataram victory. Prior to that, “candi Siwa” probably meaning candi Loro Jonggrang, was built.
Much still unknown, but more and more of the history of that time will no doubt come to light in time with the discovery of more such inscription if they are carefully preserved.

For those who love, within the mind’s eye to reconstruct history, Ratu Boko is a dream.
The main site is on a small plateau. The trek is best done at dawn or in the late afternoon when the views from the plateau’s ridge are most beautiful. Ratu Boko was probably a fortified palace built by the Buddhist Sailendra and later taken over y Hindu Mataram.

Little remains apart from a huge, sparsely ornamented gateway and a series of foundations and bathing places, but the atmosphere are enchanting. A few hundred meters to the south on another small plateau (linked with the first, but difficult to find) is a large stone platform with decorated waterspouts and staircases surrounded by an empty moat; a little below the platform, through kala-head gateway, is a group of tranquil green pools, one of which is still used by the villages.

According to HJ. DeGraff, in 17th century there were many European travelers who came to Indonesia. Those travelers said that there was also a heritage site which mentioned about Prabu Boko who came from Bali. Ninety years later, in 1790. Van Boeckholtz found the heritage ruin above Ratu Boko heritage sites.

The Publishing of this founding attracted scientists like Makenzic, Junghun and Brumun who came to visit and made recording about the heritage site at Ratu Boko Hill in 1814. One hundred years later, FDK Bosch made a research and reported it which entitled “Kraton Van Ratoe Boko”. According to FDK Bosch, the site at Ratu Boko Hill is known as Kraton Ratu Boko.

People who live around Ratu Boko Hill usually call it as Dawun, temple just like the name of their village. That is why in some literatures and old maps, Ratu Boko Hill is written in 2 (two) name: Dawung Temple and Kraton Ratu Boko van Ratoe Boko.

The name of Kraton Ratu Boko comes from the word Kraton van, Ratu Boko. Kraton is from Ka-da-tu-an that means King’s or Rakai’s Place. Ratu Boko comes from the word Ratu which has the meaning as King and Boko is heron. This understanding comes up with question whether the King of Heron is the ruler himself or the real bird. Therefore, people say that Ratu Boko keeps a mystery up to now.

Sumunaring Abhayagiri : Rediscover the Lost history of Ratu Boko and indulge your senses  with spectacular evening on Saturday, 29 May & 19 June 2010, Time :  7.00 – 9.00 pm
at Ratu Boko Palace, Yogyakarta

A spectaculer show takes you on a sensory odyssey through magnificent live performance of traditional Javanese dances and sound. You will be flashed back in history during a time when this ancient wonder of the world was once centre of powerful empire.

Describes the Galuh Kingdom that holds a great audience to the sultan ( Pasewakan Agung) attended by the king of Galuh,the Queen, Prince Pancapana and Prince Sanjaya, the Grand Vizier and other kraton officials, to discuss the royal succession, but shocked by Pancapa, the eldest son of King Galuh, who bids farewell, leaving the kingdom to embark on an adventure.

The Journey :
Pancapa, accompanied by his faithful ervant, Dharmajaya, travel eastwarf, and mets an elder named Ki Wasesa. In this encounter, Ki Wasesa shows a place by the lakeside below the Boko Hill.

Encounter with the Boko People :

The Boko’s people are performing their activites,and then comes Pancapana, followed by Dharmajaya.
Ki Wasesa appears, notifying them of Pancapana`s arrival, which they welcome well.

The Quest for Pancapana :
The party of Prince Sanjaya, Pancapana`s younger brother, in search of his long lost brother, meets an elder named Ki Wasesa in the journey.

He then takes the party to the place where Pancapana lives. From this encounter, Ki Wisesa then knows that Pancapana is actually a king`s son on a journey. Prince Sanjaya begs Pancapana to return to the kingdom, but Pancapana refuses and wishes to stay in the Boko Hill. Then Pancapana begins to be known as a wise youth respected by the people.

Ticket Information for Ratu Boko Spectacular Dance Performance

To gain admission to the venue, please produce tickets at the entrance. All audiences are required to have ticket.

Platinum IDR 500.000,-,  Gold IDR 400.000,-

Festival IDR 100.000,-

RSVP : Tel. (0274) 496 402, 496 406, 0816 844 561  (Emilia), 0812 813 1604  (Arum)

RSVP : 0818 0274 9762 (Billy), 0815 7813 6900 (Esti), 0858 7844 4318 (Jeane)


Jl. Prambanan – Piyungan Km2 – Jogyakarta 55571

Phone : +62 274 496 510, Fax +62 274 498 325


Posted in Tour Central Java on July 4, 2010 by Yappy Kawitarka

Tour Central Java: CANDI MENDUT


Mendut is a temple religious backgrounds Buddha. This temple is located in the village Mendut, District MungkidMagelang Regency,Central Java, A few kilometers from the temple Borobudur.

Buddha Statue in Mendut

Established during the reign of Mendut Raja Indra dynastySyailendra. In the tablets that bertarikh Karangtengah 824 CE, stated that the king Indra has built a shrine named Veluvana which means bamboo forests. By a Dutch archaeologist named J.G. de Casparis, This word is connected with Mendut


Actual temple building materials are brick covered with natural stone. The building is located on a basement high, so that it looks more elegant and sturdy. Up stairs and the entrance facing southwest. Above basement There are tunnels around the temple body. The roof and decorated with three storied stupa-Small stupas. The number of small stupas built now is 48 units.

Building height is 26.4 meters.

Decoration on Mendut

Decoration found on a decorative Mendut intermittent. Decorated with carvings of celestial beings and angels Gandharva, two-tailed macaques and a lone eagle.

On both banks of the stairs there is a relief-relief storiesPancatantra and Jataka.


Boddhisatwa temple reliefs decorated the walls of which Awalokiteswara, Maitreya, Wajrapāṇi and Manjusri. On the wall of the temple there is a relief Kalpataru body, two angels, Hariti (ayaksi who repent and then follow the Buddha) and Āţawaka.

Buddha in a position dharmacakramudra.

Inside the temple there are statues of Buddha holding a large amount to three: namely Wairocana Dhyani Buddha’s hand with an attitude (mudradharmacakramudra. In front there is a relief in the form of statues of Buddha flanked by a pair of wheels and a deer, a symbol of the Buddha. On the left side there are statues Awalokiteswara (Padmapāņi) and the right statue Wajrapāņi. Now in front of statues of Buddha placed incense, incense and baskets to donate. The visitors could light a incense and prayed here.

[edit] Chronology of discovery

1836 – Found and recovery

1897 – 1904 legs and body is repaired but the results are unsatisfactory.

1908 – Corrected by Theodoor van Erp. Peaks can be rearranged.

1925 – Rearranged a number of stupas

Written by Administrator
TEMPLE Mendut for Buddhists have a special meaning. The existence of three large Buddhist statues in this temple has a beauty that is very high both in my physical form as art. All three statues of Buddha in this temple is considered still emits light of holiness. So that among the Buddhists of this temple became a place of prayer that helped him. Buddhists not only domestically, but also from abroad.
As performed, Ny. Shizuko Miyagawa, Buddhist sect Nyoi Shin Ken Kei of Japan, has been granted his petition praying to God Almighty that are being said at the altar of this temple Mendut. That prayer is a request for healing for her child merely puppets, Tsuyoshi Miyagawa, who suffered severe enough and not go away despite the many relief efforts have been made in his country there. This occurred in the 1980s.
As expressions of gratitude to God almighty for his son’s recovery, Ny. Miyagawa and then build a monument ‘Friendship in Indonesia – Japan,’ which is now still standing in the yard beside the house Pak Kosim (deceased), west Mendut. The monument which was inaugurated in February 1985, the form of a bronze plaque and stone pillars that marked the Merapi andesite Japanese characters. Buildings ‘tetenger’ from Mrs. Miyagawa was made by Dulkamid Djayaprana, a sculptor from Prumpung Muntilan.
Buddha statues inside the chamber is Mendut, statue or Vairocana Cakyamuni Dyani Buddha, Buddhist statues or Lokesvara Avalokitesvara, and Vajrapani Bodhisattva statue. Cakyamuni Dyani Buddha statue facing west (located in the center), sitting with his legs position nudge down, trod on a lotus-shaped foundation. Attitude hands ‘dharmacakramudra’ meaningful’re playing ‘wheel of life’.
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue is located on the north side Dyani Buddha statues Cakyamuni, facing south. This statue is depicted in a sitting position, legs folded into the left and right leg dangling down. Attitude hand, ‘varamudra’ meaningful’re giving or delivering courses. This Avalokitesvara Budhisatva Pengarcaan greatness by wearing jewelry in the ears, neck and shoulder chocolate, and wearing a crown.
And Vajrapani Bodhisattva statue which is located to the left of the statue of Buddha Sakyamuni facing north, is depicted wearing oversized clothes as Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva statue. Pengarcaannya with a sitting position, right leg folded with your feet touching the thigh, left leg dangling down.
Mendut building standing on the ‘basement’ (the base of the temple) as high as 3.70 meters, so look classy, strong and authoritative. Basic size of the temple 13.70 meters x 13.70 meters. The number of temples there are 14 levels up traps, facing northwest. Toward this direction is unusual for temples in Central Java. Because in general the temples in Central Java, facing east. In the basement there is the hallway that surrounds the temple body width 2.48 meters. The rooftop of the temple consists of three levels decorated with small stupas totaling 48 units. From the image reconstruction, the temple was originally there top of the temple. But alas, the peak of the beautiful temple until now has not been successfully reconstructed. Building stones and ornaments of stone temples that have not been able to go back now neatly arranged in the courtyard of the temple to the north. Now this temple building height 26.50 meters.
Indeed Mendut other temples in Indonesia. As a Buddhist temple, this temple has a special attraction. Not only the existence of a large statue of Buddha, this temple is also decorated with reliefs depicting Jataka stories-stories, is loaded with legal meaning of the teachings of ‘Cause and Effect. “Relief-relief is engraved on the outer wing panels ladder section below. Relief on the right describes the story, the tortoise is in danger rescued by a crane and two small. It turned out that a crane was deceiving the tortoise. Salvation, the turtle was brought to bite a stick two birds flying bango it to take to a lake. Because the tortoise tricked, he dared to fight the bird by biting his neck. Then the birds died because of his evil deeds. Relief fable stories (stories with animal characters), the other in another panel, tells about a monkey who helped and diseberangkan a crocodile. The monkey climbed on the backs of crocodiles. Actually the crocodile wants to eat liver apes. Crocodiles stopped in the middle of the river, and wanted to tear the stomach monkeys with sharp teeth. But with the clever monkey told the crocodile that he was left on the other side of river. And that stupid crocodile believed talk of apes, which then ruled the monkey to keep him up to the opposite bank. Arriving across the river, the monkey jumped to save themselves.
On the other reliefs depict stories, an elephant who became violent when in their midst who were convicted of crimes. But the elephant is a gentle and docile when it was near the hermits, the bhiku, the atmosphere is quiet and shady. And much more relief from the fable stories Jataka stories are carved in this temple. Because of this temple was built not only as a place of worship and contemplation, but also as a place to deepen the teachings of the Buddha for the believer.
On the right side entrance to the temple (north side), there is a relief Kuvera. These reliefs depict Kuwera god, the god of Wealth. Depiction, there is a man who sat surrounded by children. Beneath it were jars filled with money. It seems, at first Kuvera is a giant man-eating savage. But after meeting with the Buddha’s teachings and given the lofty moral and character, he repented and changed temperament to be protective of children.
On the left side (south side) entrance to the temple, reliefs terpahatkan Hariti a lap child. Hariti around so many children are playing. Like Kuvera, beginning raseksi Hariti also a man-eating, and after a conscious and repent turn into protectors of children after the encounter and was given by the Buddha’s teachings of kindness. Even Hariti also known as the Goddess of Fertility.
The temple is located in The Village Mendut Mungkid City area is approximately 3 kilometers east of the Borobudur Temple. Until now not known with certainty, when the temple was built. Drs. Soediman in the language manual juicer, ‘Chandi Mendut. Its relationship with pawon and Borobudur ‘wrote, in his dissertation the Dutch archaeologist, JG de Casparis connect this temple with the king of the dynasty Syailendra, Indra. In the inscription Karangtengah who’s down in 824 AD during the reign of King Samaratungga mention that King Indra, his father King Samaratungga, has set up a sacred building called ‘Venuvana’, which means bamboo forests. And according to Sri Pannyavaro Bhiku Mahathera in the narration in the video film documentary “Jewels of forgotten, Buddhist temples in Java” mentioned, the original name of this temple is ‘Venuvana Mandira’, which means palace in the middle of bamboo forests.
When rediscovered in 1834, this temple was covered with soil and bushes. Like Borobudur, the temple is expected to also become victims mahapralaya gigantic eruption of Mount Merapi in 1006 AD So damaged overwritten ravaged Merapi volcanic material. And for centuries, this temple ‘sank’ swallowed era, along with the displacement of the center of the kingdom in Central Java to East Java.
Efforts to clean and reconstruct the temple was performed on the Dutch colonial period in 1897. In the year 1901 until 1904, Brandes was not satisfied with the results of that and try to reconstruct. But work was halted before completion. So the effort to reconstruct the temple was taken over by Van Erp in 1908, together with efforts to reconstruct the temple of Borobudur. He managed to reconstruct this temple until the stage of preparing some of the roof of the temple. In 1925 several small stupa temple roof ornaments successfully reassembled.
Voute Caesar in his book ‘Borobudur and Its Meaning’ mentions, Mendut located at the eastern tip an imaginary straight line from west to east along the nearly three miles across the river Progo and Elo, which connects the three temples of Borobudur – Pawon and Mendut. From Pawon, Mendut is 1150 meters, and distance Borobudur Pawon with 1750 meters. Many experts compare the archaeological site with the location of the Ganges and Yamuna holy rivers in India. Geographical conditions of this region, rivers are surrounded by mountains and hills is a place that is similar to the geographical conditions in India there. Maybe this is the major consideration of the kings of that time in choosing this place to establish the sacred buildings associated with his religion, Buddhism.
Pattern and profile shapes between Pawon Mendut and almost the same, just different sizes. Similarly, the architecture and decorative ornaments. And the second temple was built strongly associated with the presence of Borobudur temple, as the temple ‘trinity’ places of Buddhist worship since the heyday of the kingdom of Mataram dynasty Syailendra Kuna until now. Even when found in the status of this temple as ‘dead monument’ or a monument to death. *** (Amat Sukandar)

Candi Pawon

Posted in Tour Central Java on July 4, 2010 by Yappy Kawitarka

Tour Central Java : CANDI PAWON

Pawon Temple

Pawon which is located between Mendut and Borobudur Temple

Pawon is the name of a temple. Pawon redeveloped years 1903. Pawon name can not be known for certain of its origins. J.G. de Casparis interpret that pawon derived from Javanese Awu which means ash, A prefix pa and suffix Years which indicates a place. In the Java language of everyday words mean Pawon kitchen, But De Casparis perabuan interpret. Local residents also mentioned the name of the temple pawon Bajranalan. The word is probably derived from the word Sanskrit vajra = “Thunder” and anala = “Fire”.

Inside this temple is not found anymore statue making it difficult to identify them further. An interesting thing from this is the variety Pawon hiasnya. Outside the temple walls are decorated with reliefs of biological tree (Kalpataru) lined purse and kinara-kinari (Half-human half-bird creature / human-headed bird body). Location of this Pawon lies between Mendut and Borobudur temple, Right away in 1750 meter from the temple of Borobudur and 1150 m from Mendut.

Candi Borobudur

Posted in Tour Central Java on June 28, 2010 by Yappy Kawitarka


File:Borobudur Mandala.svg

File:Borobudur Map en.svg

Architecture Of BOROBUDUR

Borobudur ground plan took form of aMandala.

File:Borobudur photograph by van kinsbergen.jpg


Borobudur is built as a single large stupa, and when viewed from above takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, simultaneously representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind. The foundation is a square, approximately 118 meters (387 ft) on each side. It has nine platforms, of which the lower six are square and the upper three are circular. The upper platform features seventy-two small stupas surrounding one large central stupa. Each stupa is bell-shaped and pierced by numerous decorative openings. Statues of theBuddha sit inside the pierced enclosures.

Approximately 55,000 cubic metres (72,000 cu yd) of stones were taken from neighbouring rivers to build the monument.The stone was cut to size, transported to the site and laid without mortar. Knobs, indentations and dovetails were used to form joints between stones.Reliefs were createdin-situ after the building had been completed. The monument is equipped with a good drainagesystem to cater for the area’s high stormwaterrun-off. To avoid inundation, 100 spouts are provided at each corner with a unique carved gargoyles in the shape of giants ormakaras.

Half cross-section with 4:6:9 height ratio for foot, body and head, respectively.

Borobudur differs markedly with the general design of other structures built for this purpose. Instead of building on a flat surface, Borobudur is built on a natural hill. The building technique is, however, similar to other temples in Java. With no inner space as in other temples and its general design similar to the shape of pyramid, Borobudur was first thought more likely to have served as a stupa, instead of a temple.Astupa is intended as ashrine for the Lord Buddha. Sometimes stupas were built only as devotional symbols of Buddhism. A temple, on the other hand, is used as a house of deity and has inner spaces for worship. The complexity of the monument’s meticulous design suggests Borobudur is in fact a temple. Congregational worship in Borobudur is performed by means of pilgrimage.

Pilgrims were guided by the system of staircases and corridors ascending to the top platform. Each platform represents one stage ofenlightenment. The path that guides pilgrims was designed with the symbolism of sacred knowledge according to the Buddhist cosmology.

A narrow corridor with reliefs on the wall.

Lion gate guardian.

File:Borobudur Lion Guardian.jpg

Little is known about the architect Gunadharma. His name is actually recounted from Javanese legendary folk tales rather than written in old inscriptions. The basic unit measurement he used during the construction was called tala, defined as the length of a human face from the forehead’s hairline to the tip of the chin or the distance from the tip of the thumb to the tip of the middle finger when both fingers are stretched at their maximum distance. The unit metrics is then obviously relative between persons, but the monument has exact measurements. A survey conducted in 1977 revealed frequent findings of a ratio of 4:6:9 around the monument. The architect had used the formula to lay out the precise dimensions of Borobudur.

File:Borobudur lantern slide2.jpg

An 1895 hand-tinted lantern slide of a guardian statue at Borobudur (Photograph by William Henry Jackson)

The identical ratio formula was further found in the nearby Buddhist temples of Pawon and Mendhut. Archeologists conjectured the purpose of the ratio formula and the tala dimension has calendrical, astronomical and cosmological themes, as of the case in other Hindu and Buddhist temple of Angkor Wat inCambodia.

A carved gargoyle-shaped water spout for water drainage.

The main vertical structure can be divided into three groups: base (or foot), body, and top, which resembles the three major division of a human body. The base is a 123×123 m (403.5×403.5 ft) square in size and 4 meters (13 ft) high of walls. The body is composed of five square platforms each with diminishing heights. The first terrace is set back 7 meters (23 ft) from the edge of the base. The other terraces are set back by 2 meters (7 ft), leaving a narrow corridor at each stage. The top consists of 3 circular platforms, with each stage supporting a row of perforated stupas, arranged in concentric circles. There is one main dome at the center; the top of which is the highest point of the monument (35 meters (115 ft) above ground level). Access to the upper part is through stairways at the centre of each 4 sides with a number of arched gates, watched by a total of 32 lion statues. The gates is adorned with Kala‘s head carved on top center of each portals withMakaras projecting from each sides. This Kala-Makara style is commonly found in Javanese temples portal. The main entrance is at the eastern side, the location of the first narrative reliefs. On the slopes of the hill, there are also stairways linking the monument to the low-lying plain.

The monument’s three divisions symbolize three stages of mental preparation towards the ultimate goal according to the Buddhist cosmology, namely Kāmadhātu (the world of desires), Rupadhatu(the world of forms), and finally Arupadhatu (the formless world).Kāmadhātu is represented by the base, Rupadhatu by the five square platforms (the body), and Arupadhatu by the three circular platforms and the large topmost stupa. The architectural features between three stages have metaphorical differences. For instance, square and detailed decorations in the Rupadhatudisappear into plain circular platforms in the Arupadhatu to represent how the world of forms – where men are still attached with forms and names – changes into the world of the formless.

In 1885, a hidden structure under the base was accidentally discovered. The “hidden foot” contains reliefs, 160 of which are narrative describing the real Kāmadhātu. The remaining reliefs are panels with short inscriptions that apparently describe instruction for the sculptors, illustrating the scene to be carved. The real base is hidden by an encasement base, the purpose of which remains a mystery. It was first thought that the real base had to be covered to prevent a disastrous subsidence of the monument through the hill. There is another theory that the encasement base was added because the original hidden foot was incorrectly designed, according to Vastu Shastra, the Indian ancient book aboutarchitecture and town planning. Regardless of its intention, the encasement base was built with detailed and meticulous design with aesthetics and religious compensation.

File:Borobudur Half Cross Section.png


Narrative Panels Distribution
section location story #panels
hidden foot wall Karmavibhangga 160
first gallery main wall Lalitavistara 120
Jataka/Avadana 120
balustrade Jataka/Avadana 372
Jataka/Avadana 128
second gallery balustrade Jataka/Avadana 100
main wall Gandavyuha 128
third gallery main wall Gandavyuha 88
balustrade Gandavyuha 88
fourth gallery main wall Gandavyuha 84
balustrade Gandavyuha 72
Total 1,460

Borobudur contains approximately 2,670 individualbas reliefs(1,460 narrative and 1,212 decorative panels), which cover thefaçades andbalustrades. The total relief surface is 2,500 square meters (26,909.8 sq ft) and they are distributed at the hidden foot (Kāmadhātu) and the five square platforms (Rupadhatu).

Indonesia, Java, Borobudur: Temple, the carved images of borobudur temple; the most famous buddhist  bas- relief of  southeast asia , the life of buddha Stock Photo - 2593455

The narrative panels, which tell the story of Sudhana and Manohara, are grouped into 11 series encircled the monument with the total length of 3,000 meters (9,843 ft). The hidden foot contains the first series with 160 narrative panels and the remaining 10 series are distributed throughout walls and balustrades in four galleries starting from the eastern entrance stairway to the left. Narrative panels on the wall read from right to left, while on the balustrade read from left to right.

Indonesia, Java, Borobudur: Temple, the carved images of borobudur temple; the most famous buddhist  bas- relief of  southeast asia , the life of buddha Stock Photo - 2593448

This conforms with pradaksina, the ritual of circumambulation performed bypilgrims who move in a clockwise direction while keeping thesanctuary to their right.

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The hidden foot depicts the workings of karmic law. The walls of the first gallery have two superimposed series of reliefs; each consists of 120 panels. The upper part depicts the biography of the Buddha, while the lower part of the wall and also balustrades in the first and the second galleries tell the story of the Buddha’s former lives.The remaining panels are devoted to Sudhana’s further wandering about his search, terminated by his attainment of the Perfect Wisdom.

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Borobudur’s main stupa, which is empty and raised a mystery when discovered

The law of karma (Karmavibhangga)

The 160 hidden panels do not form a continuous story, but each panel provides one complete illustration of cause and effect.There are depictions of blameworthy activities, from gossip to murder, with their corresponding punishments. There are also praiseworthy activities, that include charity and pilgrimage to sanctuaries, and their subsequent rewards. The pains of hell and the pleasure of heaven are also illustrated. There are scenes of daily life, complete with the full panorama of samsara (the endless cycle of birth and death).

Relief, Borobudur

The birth of Buddha (Lalitavistara)

Queen Maya riding horse carriage retreating to Lumbini to give birth to Prince Siddhartha Gautama.

Main article: The birth of Buddha (Lalitavistara)

The story starts from the glorious descent of the Lord Buddha from the Tushita heaven, and ends with his first sermon in the Deer Park near Benares. The relief shows the birth of the Buddha as Prince Siddhartha, son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of Kapilavastu(in present-day Nepal).

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The story is preceded by 27 panels showing various preparations, in heavens and on earth, to welcome the final incarnation of theBodhisattva. Before descending from Tushita heaven, the Bodhisattva entrusted his crown to his successor, the future BuddhaMaitreya. He descended on earth in the shape of white elephantswith six tusks, penetrated to Queen Maya’s right womb. Queen Maya had a dream of this event, which was interpreted that his son would become either a sovereign or a Buddha.

Borobudur, Central Java

While Queen Maya felt that it was the time to give birth, she went to the Lumbini park outside the Kapilavastu city. She stood under aplaksa tree, holding one branch with her right hand and she gave birth to a son, Prince Siddhartha. The story on the panels continues until the prince becomes the Buddha.

Bas-Relief at Borobudur Temple, Indonesia

Prince Siddhartha Gautama become an ascetic hermit.

Prince Siddhartha story (Jataka) and other legendary persons (Avadana)

Jatakas are stories about the Buddha before he was born as Prince Siddhartha. Avadanas are similar to jatakas, but the main figure is not the Bodhisattva himself. The saintly deeds in avadanas are attributed to other legendary persons. Jatakas and avadanas are treated in one and the same series in the reliefs of Borobudur.

Bas-Relief at Borobudur Temple, Indonesia

The first 20 lower panels in the first gallery on the wall depict theSudhanakumaravadana or the saintly deeds of Sudhana. The first 135 upper panels in the same gallery on the balustrades are devoted to the 34 legends of the Jatakamala. The remaining 237 panels depict stories from other sources, as do for the lower series and panels in the second gallery. Some jatakas stories are depicted twice, for example the story of King Sibhi (Rama‘s forefather).

Sudhana’s search for the Ultimate Truth (Gandavyuha)

Gandavyuha is the story told in the final chapter of the Avatamsaka Sutra about Sudhana’s tireless wandering in search of the Highest Perfect Wisdom. It covers two galleries (third and fourth) and also half of the second gallery; comprising in total of 460 panels. The principal figure of the story, the youth Sudhana, son of an extremely rich merchant, appears on the 16th panel. The preceding 15 panels form a prologue to the story of the miracles during Buddha’ssamadhi in the Garden of Jeta at Sravasti.

Borobudur Temple, Indonesia

During his search, Sudhana visited no less than 30 teachers but none of them had satisfied him completely. He was then instructed by Manjusri to meet the monk Megasri, where he was given the first doctrine. As his journey continues, Sudhana meets (in the following order) Supratisthita, the physician Megha (Spirit of Knowledge), the banker Muktaka, the monk Saradhvaja, the upasika Asa (Spirit of Supreme Enlightenment), Bhismottaranirghosa, the BrahminJayosmayatna, Princess Maitrayani, the monk Sudarsana, a boy called Indriyesvara, the upasika Prabhuta, the banker Ratnachuda, King Anala, the god Siva MahadevaQueen MayaBodhisattvaMaitreya and then back to Manjusri. Each meeting has given Sudhana a specific doctrine, knowledge and wisdom. These meetings are shown in the third gallery.

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Lens flare at the Borobudur stairs and Kala arches entrance. Borobudur is the 8th century Buddhist monument took shape as a giant Mandala-mountain. The stairs took pilgrim from Kamadhatu (realm of desire}, through Rupadhatu (realm of forms and shapes), and finaly elevated to a higher spiritual plane of Arupadhatu (realm of formlesness). Central Java, Indonesia

After the last meeting with Manjusri, Sudhana went to the residence of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra; depicted in the fourth gallery. The entire series of the fourth gallery is devoted to the teaching of Samantabhadra. The narrative panels finally end with Sudhana’s achievement of the Supreme Knowledge and the Ultimate Truth.


A Buddha statue with the hand position of dharmachakra mudra(turning the Wheel of the Law)

 Buddha statues

A Buddha statue with the hand position of dharmachakra mudra(turning the Wheels of the Law).

Apart from the story of Buddhist cosmology carved in stone, Borobudur has many statues of various Buddhas. The cross-legged statues are seated in a lotus position and distributed on the five square platforms (the Rupadhatu level) as well as on the top platform (the Arupadhatu level).

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A Buddha statue inside a stupa

A headless Buddha statue inside a stupa.

The Buddha statues are in niches at the Rupadhatu level, arranged in rows on the outer sides of the balustrades, the number of statues decreasing as platforms progressively diminish to the upper level. The first balustrades have 104 niches, the second 104, the third 88, the fourth 72 and the fifth 64. In total, there are 432 Buddha statues at the Rupadhatu level. At the Arupadhatu level (or the three circular platforms), Buddha statues are placed inside perforated stupas. The first circular platform has 32 stupas, the second 24 and the third 16, that add up to 72 stupas.Of the original 504 Buddha statues, over 300 are damaged (mostly headless) and 43 are missing (since the monument’s discovery, heads have been stolen as collector’s items, mostly by Western museums).

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Relief panel of a ship at Borobudur

At glance, all the Buddha statues appear similar, but there is a subtle difference between them in the mudras or the position of the hands. There are five groups of mudra: North, East, South, West and Zenith, which represent the five cardinal compass points according to Mahayana. The first four balustrades have the first fourmudras: North, East, South and West, of which the Buddha statues that face one compass direction have the corresponding mudra. Buddha statues at the fifth balustrades and inside the 72 stupas on the top platform have the same mudraZenith. Each mudrarepresents one of the Five Dhyani Buddhas; each has its own symbolism. They are Abhaya mudra for Amoghasiddhi (north),Vara mudra for Ratnasambhava (south), Dhyana mudra forAmitabha (west), Bhumisparsa mudra for Aksobhya (east) andDharmachakra mudra for Vairochana (zenith).

Musicians performing a musical ensemble, probably the early form of gamelan.


1971 poster calling for the restoration of Borobudur.

Borobudur attracted attention in 1885, when Yzerman, the Chairman of the Archaeological Society in Yogyakarta, made a discovery about the hidden foot.Photographs that reveal reliefs on the hidden foot were made in 1890–1891.The discovery led the Dutch East Indies government to take steps to safeguard the monument. In 1900, the government set up a commission consisting of three officials to assess the monument: Brandes, an art historian, Theodoor van Erp, a Dutch army engineer officer, and Van de Kamer, a construction engineer from the Department of Public Works.

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The Apsara of Borobudur.

In 1902, the commission submitted a threefold plan of proposal to the government. First, the immediate dangers should be avoided by resetting the corners, removing stones that endangered the adjacent parts, strengthening the first balustrades and restoring several niches, archways, stupas and the main dome. Second, fencing off the courtyards, providing proper maintenance and improving drainage by restoring floors and spouts. Third, all loose stones should be removed, the monument cleared up to the first balustrades, disfigured stones removed and the main dome restored. The total cost was estimated at that time around 48,800Dutch guilders.

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The bas relief of 8th century Borobudur depicted the palace scene of King and Queen accompanied by their subjects. Its strongly suggested that the relief depicted the actual scene of Sailendran royal court.

Embedding concrete and pvc pipe to improve Borobudur’s drainage system during the 1973 restoration.

The restoration then was carried out between 1907 and 1911, using the principles of anastylosis and led by Theodor van Erp.The first seven months of his restoration was occupied with excavating the grounds around the monument to find missing Buddha heads and panel stones. Van Erp dismantled and rebuilt the upper three circular platforms and stupas. Along the way, Van Erp discovered more things he could do to improve the monument; he submitted another proposal that was approved with the additional cost of 34,600 guilders. At first glance Borobudur had been restored to its old glory.

A bas-relief on the wall of Borobudur describe a man holding a medium sized sword or a dagger that similar to keris. The dagger’s part that shared similarity with typical keris is the handle and the wider part of the blade near the handle. This suggests that keris is quite well documented and have older tradition in Java.

Due to the limited budget, the restoration had been primarily focused on cleaning the sculptures, and Van Erp did not solve the drainage problem. Within fifteen years, the gallery walls were sagging and the reliefs showed signs of new cracks and deterioration. Van Erp used concrete from which alkali salts andcalcium hydroxide leached and were transported into the rest of the construction. This caused some problems, so that a further thorough renovation was urgently needed.

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Queen Maya retreat to Lumbini to gave birth to Prince Siddharta Gautama (Buddha), the panel of Lalitavistara, Borobudur, Central Java, Indonesia.

Small restorations have been performed since then, but not sufficient for complete protection. In the late 1960s, the Indonesian government had requested from the international community a major renovation to protect the monument. In 1973, a master plan to restore Borobudur was created.The Indonesian government and UNESCO then undertook the complete overhaul of the monument in a big restoration project between 1975–1982.The foundation was stabilized and all 1,460 panels were cleaned. The restoration involved the dismantling of the five square platforms and improved the drainage by embedding water channels into the monument. Both impermeable and filter layers were added. This colossal project involved around 600 people to restore the monument and cost a total of US$ 6,901,243. After the renovation was finished, UNESCO listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991. It is listed under Cultural criteria (i) “to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius”, (ii) “to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design”, and (vi) “to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance”.

Gallery of reliefs

Relief panel of a ship at Borobudur. Musicians performing a musical ensemble. The Apsara of Borobudur.

Borobudur: Pyramid of the Cosmic Buddha

Written by Dr. Caesar Voûte

and Mark E. Long
Published by DK Printworld Ltd.

Oversized (30 cm) coffee-table style book with
351 text pages, 163 color and black & white photographs,
8 architectural drawings, glossary, bibliography, index, and
two folded copies of the Vajradhatu and Garbhadhatu mandalas
ISBN: 812460403-7 – Now available from through


A detailed carved relief stone.

Borobudur was constructed during the eighth century as a guide to the Noble Path of the Buddha. Born from silence and unfolding into the serenity of the other shore, it expresses the glory of Indonesia’s awareness and creativity, the smile of her plastic forms over the centuries as well as her travels along the edge of thoughts that cross the endless corridors of memory.
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The murals (reliefs) on the wall of Borobudur, central Java, Indonesia.

Though the western world rediscovered this magnificent structure almost two hundred years ago this sacred place nonetheless remains seated in its enigmatic depth, engulfed in vaporous illusions, waiting for someone to find the base simplicity of its Truth. This book is a catalyst and invites adventurous minds to find new directions by bringing into focus the vast universe of the Borobudur in order to cultivate the Way to weeding out error. The questions posed or solutions offered herein are like water and waves: different yet identical in essence. They stir discussion.

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A decorative gargoyle (makaras) at Borobudur as a spout to drainage waterfalls.

One of the special contributions of this book lies in its correlating the cyclical movements of the Sun and Moon with the numerical symbolism of Borobudur. The authors cite the magical effect of the Sun suddenly appearing out of the volcano Merapi and empowering the Borobudur-mountain with its radiant energy in poetic imagery. This magic moment of satori or enlightenment echoes the experiences of the unknown monarch who had commissioned the monument’s construction and the inspiration that made the architect envision this Buddhist wonder.» Dr. Lokesh Chandra, New Delhi

Prince Siddhartha Gautama became anascetic hermit.


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