Sunday, January 10, 2016

Borobudur Site and Sculptures

These photos are of Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple. It is located in the Central Java island of Indonesia. Borobudur has a 118x118m base, nine stacked platforms (six square and the top three are round), topped by a central dome. Built between 750 and 850 AD, it has withstood abandonment (buried under layers of ash and thick tropical growth), was rediscovered in 1815, and since then restored multiple times. 

More recently it faced more pressures, including nine bombs in 1985 by Islamic extremists, escaped without much damage from a  6.2 magnitude earthquake in 2006 that severely damaged nearby Prambanam temple, the ash from Merapi volcano in 2010, and in summer of 2014, faced security threats from Indonesian groups expressing loyalty to ISIS.  

Considered the largest single attraction in Indonesia, it is also beginning to show signs of wear just from visitors using the stairs.
Lion Guardian, still at rather early in the morning before the site's gates were open to the public.
 Borobudur has 504 Buddha statues, 32 lion guardian statues, and Maraka gargoyle heads jutting out each side. Of the original Buddha statues, over 300 are damaged (typically headless - many of these ended up in museums all over the world) and 43 are missing.
By manipulating my lens through one of the diamond lattice openings, I could get a better image of one of the Buddhas inside the stupa. Note the hand/finger positions - graceful, even with some broken fingers.

Melissa on some temple steps
Borobudur is still used as a Buddhist site for worship on some occasions. Guided by a system of staircases and corridors, they ascend to the top platform, circumnavigating each platform in a clockwise manner. The top platform is considered to signify the never-ending nirvana.  

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