Borobudur Temple : The Secret Temple Unveiled
One of the famous tourist destinations that we highly recommend to visit while in Indonesia is the Borobudur Temple which is a Buddhist Temple. Aside from being known as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this shrine, just like the Prambanan Temple, has also been filled with great history and mystery that can tickle one’s curiosity.
Borobudur Temple was the next destination Steven and I opted to pay a visit during our second day adventure in Indonesia which started in the amazing Tamansari or Water Castle. Borobudur Temple is also known as Candi Borobudur in Indonesia. Candi means temple. So when someone is asking for Borobudur Temple, he or she can also say Candi Borobudur. With its magnificent beauty and mysterious history, the Borobudur temple draws devotees and tourists all around the world.
The Borubudur Temple is one of the most popularly known Buddhist Temple in the world. Upon arriving in Magelang, Central Java, Steven and I entered the Borobudur’s temple management. We were given a bottled water and a sarong to wear while exploring the temple. There were a number of tourist guides, but Steven and I preferred to explore the famous temple ourselves.
Unlike the other tourist destinations, the Borobudur Temple was once neglected and concealed to the public. What is presently known as the biggest temple in Indonesia was once buried for centuries under layers of volcanish ashes and thick jungle growth. There were some speculations that it was almost forgotten or if there were some who knew about the temple, they just got disinterested on it due to the proliferation of another religion in the country which was Islam. On the other hand, some researchers concluded that it might be the Mount Merapi’s eruption which caused famine among the people. It eventually forced them to abandon their territories within the Borobudur Temple compounds, completely leaving it to nature. Being able to survive against eruptions, earthquakes, and typhoons for centuries, one can say that the hands that build the monuments were truly gifted and impressive.
The Secret Unveiled
As what Jean Racine stated,” There are no secrets that time does not reveal,” the discovery of the Borobudur Temple took place on 1814 when when Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British Lieutenant Governor of Java that time, received a report of the pile of stones resembling a temple monument.
The British Lieutenant assigned H.C. Cornelius, a Dutch engineer to investigate on the said report. With the help of 200 men, Cornelius cleared the reported area, burned down the vegetation and cut down the trees to unveil the hidden temple. The fear that some parts of the temple would collapse, the landmark wasn’t completely cleared.
With the help of the Dutch Administrator in the Kedu region, the temple was completely uncovered in 1835. It took great endeavors to reestablish and protect the huge landmark.
There is no recorded information as to who, when, or why Borubudur was built. However, it was concluded that it was likely to be erected around 750 AD due to the studies conducted on the engravings. Archeologists and historians suggested that the temple was built during the Sailendra dynasty and took 75 to 80 years to complete.
But then, the temple was taken for granted after its exposure. It was reported that many got an interest to this magnificent statues. While some used it as souvenirs, others treated these statues as a means of their living by stealing it and selling it around the world.
A major restoration project was initiated by the Indonesian Government in the late 1960’s to bring back Borobudur to its former glory. Through the joint effort of the Indonesian Government and UNESCO between 1975 and 1982, Borobudur Temple evolved as what it is now today.
The travel experience we had in Borobudur left us with a huge admiration in a part of Indonesia’s history. This is what we love in travelling. We do not only see wonderful and majestic places, we can also experience it that makes our life richer.
Before Steven and I left this surreal place, some Indonesian kids approached and asked to have a photo with us which we granted eventually. In addition to that, I almost forgot to return my sarong. If I did not see a man holding a number of sarong, I might still have the sarong until now with me.
Borobudur Temple was such an unforgettable experience that Steven couldn’t resist the temptation to buy the Borobudur souvenir in the Jakarta airport. It was a perfect remembrance of our Indonesian trip but I did not get any single interest to purchase it for its high price. Knowing that I don’t like to buy it because of its price, Steven insisted that he wanted to have it for himself. I did not comment anymore as that was his wish. He took me in our house in the Philippines before his trip back to Korea. I was surprised to see that he left the souvenir at home. I sent a message that he forgot it in our house. After that he sent a message telling me he lied and the souvenir was really meant for me. What a stubborn at the same time a very thoughtful boyfriend I have! Thank you, Honey!
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