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Borobudur in Indonesia, No Wonder of the World?


Out of the middle of jungles in Central Java, a magnificent Monument arised outstandingly: Borobudur is the largest ancient Buddhist temple in the world.

It is located 40km northwest of Yogyakarta, Central Java, Indonesia. The temple location is between two volcanoes Merapi and Merbabu, and between meeting place of two rivers, Elo and Progo.

It is built around 8th and 9th century in Central Java, Indonesia. After for centuries being hidden and lost, it was discovered by British exploration under Thomas Raffles in 1814.


Now, how popular is Borobudur?

A private Swiss foundation announced in July 2007 a new poll result of Seven Wonders of the World, in which Borobudur is not included. It did not even manage the shortlist of 21 out of 77 sites. Sad but true. Many Indonesians are concerned and disappointed.

The official New 7Wonders of the World elected by more than 100millions people around the globe list following sites:

Chicenitza Mexico, Christ Redeemer Brazil, Colloseum Italy, Machu Piccu Peru, Great Wall of China, Petra Jordan, Taj Mahal India.

When asked about Borobudur, most Indonesians claim that it is one of the seven wonders of the world –despite the fact that there is no official evidence documents of it.

Many argued Borobudur deserves to be in the list more than Taj Mahal, or Christ overlooking statue in Rio de Janeiro. The new poll was voted by 100 million people around the globe.

Borobudur may deserve to be in the list. Borobudur may deserve to be recognized as one wonder.

The other finalists that managed to top 21, are among others:

Pyramids of Giza Egypt, Sydney Opera Australia, Statue of Liberty USA, Eifel Tower France, and Neuschwanstein Castle Germany.

It means, Borobudur popularity is way lower than those mentioned above. Sad, but true.

When we take a look at Borobudur temple and surrounding, one thing is obvious: Indonesian government does not invest enough to increase the image of Borobudur Temple nor to draw world’s attentions to Borobudur.

Singapore has its Esplanade, the pinapple-like theater building on the bay; Australia has its Sydney Opera building, Malaysia has twin Petronas Tower. Indonesia has beautiful Bali beaches and Bali temples?

Oh well, however, at least:

In Indonesia there are seven sites that belong to National Heritage Sites, which are:

Borobudur Temple, Komodo National Park, Prambanan Temple, Ujung Kulon National Park, Sangiran Early Man Site, Lorentz National Park, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra.

Since 1991 Borobudur has been accredited as one of National Heritage Sites by UNESCO.


What does Borobudur have?

Built on a bedrock hill with nine platforms consuming 55000 meter cubic of stones taken from neighboring rivers, it is an amazing masterpiece at its time, namely at around 8-9th century.

It has six rectangular platforms and three circular platforms . When looked from above the construction of Borobudur temple looks like a giant tantric Buddha mandala. It has a shape of pyramid. It has its own drainage system, and it has no inner space. Its foundation is a square.

On the circular layers there are total of 72 bell-shaped stupas. Hidden in each stupa is a Buddha statue on lotus position (sitting on crossed leg). On top of the monument at the last circular platform is a 10m height large stupa centered representing the center of energy and perfection.

Visitors can reach the top by stairs which is guided by lion statues at each side. On each wall of the first six platforms there are many Buddists reliefs/galleries, that when stretched will reach a distance of 5km.

Borobudur temple at sunrise

Borobudur temple at sunrise

Discovered in 1814 after being lost for centuries...

Discovered in 1814 after being lost for centuries...

Borobudur Temple contains interesting Buddhist philosophy reflected in its unique architecture on fabulous geometrical calculation.

Unfortunately, many of statues and reliefs were destroyed, lost or stolen. (For example: in 19th century during Dutch colonial, there were many statues taken from the site to be delievered as special gifts to the King of Siam. Thus many of those can be founded at Museum of Bangkok, Thailand)

Borobudur keeps its mystery of how long was it was built and how many tremendeous labor and workers it needed, why exactly it was built, and why exactly was it buried unfounded for centuries.

Borobudur has gone through huge restoration programs during 1907-1911 (under Dutch government) and in 1973-1983 (by Indonesian government and Unesco).

Now you can enjoy the results and wonder this ancient cultural heritage.

Standing on a 123m hill of Borobudur top, you can see the mountain chains on North, from whose back the sun is arising at around 5.30, coloring the sky with complete color palettes from grey, darkblue,blue, yellow, rose red, to white sky blue.

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Scribbling Geek from Singapore on December 13, 2017:

A lot of these tourism lists are skewed, esp when they involve public polling. As I recall, the Great Wall made it to the top because the whole of China was voting for it.

Sher on June 12, 2017:

Lol im an indonesian and grow up there and all my life i was told that borobudur is one of the seven wonders of the world, even written in textbooks. Not until twenty years later (2017 right now) i googled it and there is no proof XD it is true it's beautiful, but it's less popular because our government didnt promote and maintain the site well. And then again most foreigners only know bali hahaha

Mark on June 16, 2015:

I just visited this beautiful place today

David Broadley on December 28, 2011:

This site is testament to the five main elements, at work , inharmony and balance.

Soni on October 11, 2011:

No problem we Indonesia always looked down by so many peoples ,many peoples in the world even don't know about the past of Indonesian glory build ship 35m sailed to east Africa beyond the ocean more than 2000 years ago nor Indonesia today achievement :)

john-vegan from USA on August 18, 2011:

Yes still a lot of places with amazing thinks being ignored ...We have to discover all and let the people know about it...

Good job..keep it up.

gpm55 on November 09, 2010:

Ok so Borobudur amy not be one of the top wonders according to that poll but that hardly tells the whole story. For a start if you ask most people just where Borobudur is most likely they wouldn't have a clue!! For myself I have been, back in 1982 just after it had just opened after extensive renovation. Hand on heart I can honestly say that it is one of the top places to visit in Asia, more especially if you are interested in Buddhism.

Roffi Grandiosa from Bandung, Indonesia on September 14, 2009:

borobudur is a great place to visit!

febriedethan from Indonesia on September 03, 2009:

I have been to Borobudur Temple before and I still could not learn all the reliefs even if I had all day long. It's so amazing, and I did not find any glue between the rocks :) I wonder how they glued the rocks with ? Some said they used honey and white eggs ? Really ? Wow..

To me, Borobudur is a true wonder of the world.

bekaze (author) from Germany on September 03, 2009:

PBudoyono: thanks for commenting. What I was trying to say was that Borodudur world's popularity has not increased over the years, the online poll organised by a private Swiss foundation was a small proof representing about 100million people voices. If these people had had known better about Borobodur, it could have been voted to one of the new seven wonder again.

Bbudoyono on September 02, 2009:

People are subjective when they have to judge places of interest. It is difficult to find objective judgment. Popularity of a place is debatable.