The Borobudur Temple is one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world, and was built in the 8th and 9th centuries AD during the reign of the Syailendra Dynasty. The temple’s design in Gupta architecture reflects India’s influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian. The monument is located in the Kedu Valley, in the southern part of Central Java, at the centre of the island of Java, Indonesia.
The main temple is a stupa built in three tiers around a hill which was a natural centre: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,520 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.
A statue of the Budha
The vertical division of Borobudur Temple into base, body, and superstructure perfectly accords with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology. It is believed that the universe is divided into three superimposing spheres, kamadhatu, rupadhatu, and arupadhatu, representing respectively the sphere of desires where we are bound to our desires, the sphere of forms where we abandon our desires but are still bound to name and form, and the sphere of formlessness where there is no longer either name or form. At Borobudur Temple, the kamadhatu is represented by the base, the rupadhatu by the five square terraces, and the arupadhatu by the three circular platforms as well as the big stupa. The whole structure shows a unique blending of the very central ideas of ancestor worship, related to the idea of a terraced mountain, combined with the Buddhist concept of attaining Nirvana.
About 60 minutes by car from Yogyakarta
Mendut Temple is a ninth century Buddhist temple, located in Mendut village, Mungkid sub-district, Magelang Regency, Central Java, Indonesia. Mendut Temple was built in 824 A.D. by King Indera of Syailendra dynasty. The temple is located about three kilometres eastward from Borobudur Temple. Mendut, Borobudur and Pawon Temples, all of which are Buddhist temples, are located in one straight line. There is a mutual religious relationship between the three temples, although the exact ritual process is unknown.
There are three big statues inside, they are:
- Cakyamuni sitting in cross legged pose with dharma cakra mudra (= turning the wheel of dharma hand pose)
- Awalokiteswara, a bodhi satwa as human being helper. Awalokiteswara is a statue with Amitabha on her crown, Vajrapani. She is holding a red lotus and put on her palm.
- Maitreya, a savior of human beings in the future.
There are stories for children on its walls.
Candi Mendut (Mendut Temple) is frequently used to celebrate the Waisak day every May full moon and the pilgrims from Indonesia and all parts of the world come to this ceremony.
It is older than Candi Borobudur. Its architecture is square, and having an entrance on its steps. Its roof is also square and terraced. There are stupas (= bell-shaped structures) on it.
About 50 minutes by car from Yogyakarta
Prambanan Temple Compounds consist of Prambanan Temple (also called Loro Jonggrang), Sewu Temple, Bubrah Temple and Lumbung Temple. All the mentioned temples form the Prambanan Archaeological Park and were built during the heyday of Sailendra’s powerful dynasty in Java in the 8th century AD. These compounds are located on the border between the two provinces of Yogyakarta and Central Java on Java Island. Prambanan is known locally as Roro Jonggrang, coming from the legend of the ‘slender virgin’.
This temple compounds cover 39.8 hectares. Prambanan Temple itself is a complex consisting of 240 temples.In the main yard, there are the three main temples, as well as three Wahana temples, two Apit temples, and eight Patok temples surrounded by fences. In the second yard, there are another 224 Perwara temples. The biggest temple is dedicated to Shiva – the destroyer, and the two smaller ones which sit on its right and left are dedicated to Brahma – the creator and Wisnhu – the sustainer. The tallest temple of Prambanan is a staggering 47 meters high.
On four nights during each full moon between May and October (dry season), an open-air theatre inside the park, just west of Candi Prambanan right across the Opak river, has ballet Javanese dance performances of the great Hindu epic Ramayana. The performance involved 200 artisans; dancers and gamelan musicians, and only performed in Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights. This performance, set against the stary sky and the lit back drop of Prambanan.
About 30 minutes by car from Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta Palace (Kraton)
Keraton Kasultanan Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat or now better known by the name of Yogyakarta Palace is the center of Javanese culture living museum that is in the Special Region Yogykarta (Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta). Not just becomes the place to live for the king and his family, the palace is also a main direction of cultural development of Java, as well as the flame guard of the culture.
Yogyakarta Palace was built by Pangeran Mangkubumi (Prince Mangkubumi) in 1755, several months after the signing of the Perjanjian Giyanti (the Agreement Giyanti). Banyan forest (Hutan Beringin) was chosen as the place for building the palace because the land was between two rivers that were considered good and protected from possible flooding. Although already hundreds of years old and were damaged by the massive earthquake in 1867, Yogyakarta Palace buildings still stand firmly and well maintained.
The Keraton is located in the centre of Yogyakarta and can be reached easily by taxi, becak, or by public bus.
Malioboro is the most famous street in Yogyakarta. Located in the heart of Yogya, this is the city’s main street, and was once the ceremonial avenue for the Sultan to pass through on his way to and from the Keraton. During such occasions Malioboro would be festively decorated with flowers. Some say that the name “Malioboro” derives from the name of the British governor Marlborough from the era when Britain ruled the archipelago, between 1811-1816.
Carnival and the events taking place in the area of Malioboro are normally incidental to the perfomance time that is uncertain. But there are some activities that are regularly held every year such as Jogja Java Carnival that is always held every October, the Yogyakarta Arts Festival in June to July, and the Chinese Cultural Week held close to the celebration of Chinese New Year (Imlek).
Malioboro is located in the centre of Yogyakarta and within walking distance from Stasiun Tugu (Tugu Railway Station).
Useful Sites for Planning a Trip to Yogyakarta
Indonesia Official Tourism Website
by Ministry of Tourism and Creative Economy, Republic of Indonesia
The #1 Travel Portal of Yogyakarta
Yogyakarta Travel Information and Travel Guide
by Lonely Planet