After several hundred meters' walk through the well-kept park, this impressive, grey stone, centuries old monument reveals itself framed by leafy trees. Borobudur, situated a scenic bus ride from the city of Jogjakarta in Central Java, was built by the Silendram dynasty in 8th and 9th centuries when Buddhism was flourishing.


When the central Javanese court era vanished in 10th century, this monument lost its status as a powerful, supernatural center, was covered with ash from volcanic eruptions, overgrown by trees and almost totally forgotten. After lying dormant for a thousand years, it was partially reclaimed from the jungle by the Javanese and later was excavated by Sir S. Raffles.


However on being exposed to the environment, the monument started to deteriorate and had to undergo two major restorations. Nowadays, everyone can appreciate the beauty of Borobudur, which was constructed on a natural hill, consisting of five square terraces and three circular platforms encircling the last and highest platform.


The square terraces are surrounded by walls covered with reliefs, which depict the life of Buddha and lives of Buddhists preparing for Buddha-hood. They also carry Dhyani Buddha statues with different positions, representing a variety of states such as charity, fearlessness and reasoning. The circular platforms contain 71 bell-shaped trellised "stupa", each containing a Buddha statue inside.


Every last piece of Borobudur is a lesson in Buddhism, with the total structure representing the total teachings of Buddha. Although nowadays the serenity of Borobudur is disrupted by crowds of tourists and it is no longer used to meditate, it still maintains an air of majesty and calm. Early morning is one of the best time to see Borobudur rising out of the mist in an aura of its supernatural glory of ancient times.


#66 Parkway Vol.8 No.3 June 1994