Understanding the Thousands of Relief Panels of Borobudur

Relief Panels of Borobudur Temple

Relief Panels of Borobudur Temple

Understanding the Thousands of Relief Panels of Borobudur Temple is a majestic masterpiece. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Borobodur is the largest Buddhist monument in the world and the single most visited spot in Indonesia. 75 years in the making, Borobudur is constructed from 2 million intricately carved volcanic rocks, and assembled using a complex interlocking technique without the use of cement or mortar. Aside from its enchanting beauty and high artistic value, Borobodur is a structure rich in history, culture and religion.

The ten levels of Borobudur are believed to be representations of the Mahayana school of philosophy which describe the ten levels of Bodhisattva that must be passed to attain the Buddhist perfection. The monument is decorated with 2,672 relief panels that if aligned in a row, would stretch a length of over 6 kilometers. Of these panels, 1,460 are narrative, while the other 1,212 are decorative. The narrative panels tell the story of Sudhana and Manohara – every scene of the story, a sculpted work of art of extraordinary value. UNESCO has recognized these panels as the largest and most comprehensive ensemble of Buddhist reliefs in the world.

Reading the panels on the Borobudur temple walls requires a specific technique

Reading the panels on the temple walls requires a specific technique. The panels on the wall read from left to right, while those on the

the relief of borobudur temple

The relief of Borobudur Temple

balustrade read from right to left, conforming with the pradaksina, a ritual performed by pilgrims who move in a clockwise direction, whilst always keeping the sanctuary to their right. The story begins and ends at the eastern side of the gate at every level. Stairs connect each level to the next from each direction of the compass, but the idea is to always ascend from the stairs at the eastern corner. The panels depict stories of Karma, of passion, robbery, murder, torture and humiliation. But not all are negative. Some panels also tell of the cause and effect of good deeds, and describe the behavior of the Javanese Society of that day, from religion to livelihood to social structure, fashion, and even the various types of plants and animals. Ultimately, it describes the human life cycle: Birth – Life – Death.

Kamadhatu is a picture of highly populated world still dominated by Kama, or lust. This zone is at the bottom level of Borobodur, and is therefore not visible due to some added construction. Some say these structures were added to strengthen the building’s foundations, while others speculate that they have been added to conceal the obscene content of the reliefs. For visitors that wish to see these reliefs, the Karmawibhangga Museum displays pictures of the Kamadhatu.

Reading the panels on the Borobudur temple

Reading the panels on the Borobudur temple

Reliefs that depict the history of Buddha

Lalitawistara are a series of beautifully sculpted reliefs that depict the history of Buddha, starting from his descent from Heaven, to his enlightenment under the bodhi tree, and finally to his first teachings in the city of Banaras. Lalitawistara consists of 120 panels, but yet does not tell the complete story of Buddha. These reliefs are found on the temple walls in hallway 1 on level 2.

Jataka and Awadana are reliefs telling of Buddha, before he was reborn as Prince Siddharta. These are also engraved in hallway 1 on the second level, and tell of Buddha’s kindness and self-sacrifice as he was reincarnated in various forms of human or animal. It explains of how good works are what set humans apart from animals, and tells of the stages of preparation to the next and higher level of Buddha.

Awadana also tells the story not of the Buddha figure, but of the Prince Sudhanakumara. The stories on the awadana reliefs are compiled in the books Kitab Diwyawadana, (A Diety’s noble deeds,) and Kitab Awadanasataka, (A hundred awadana stories.)

These panels are based on the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures

Bhadracari is a row of 460 neatly carved reliefs along the walls and balustrades. These reliefs are scattered throughout various levels of

Reliefs that depict the history of Buddha

Reliefs that depict the history of Buddha

the temple and tell of Sudhana, the son of a wealthy merchant, who wanders in quest of the ultimate knowledge or truth. These panels are based on the Mahayana Buddhist scriptures, entitled Gandawyuha. The story tells of 10 great vows made by Bodhisattva Samantabadhra concerning his Buddhist practice, which later became the leading guidelines of all Bodhisattvas, and particularly of Sudhana.

From the 5th to 7th levels of the temple, there are no reliefs on the walls. This is because these levels represent the nature of the “Arupadhatu,” which means “without tangible form.” At this level, people are free from all desires of any shape or form, but yet have not attained Nirvana. On this level, there are several Buddha statues placed inside stupas.

At the 10th and highest level of the temple, is the largest and tallest stupa in Borobudur. Within this stupa was found the Imperfect Buddha or Unfinished Buddha, which can now be found in the Karmawibhangga Museum.

Unlike most temples, Borobudur did not have actual spaces for worship. Instead it has an extensive system of corridors and stairways, which are thought to have been a place for Buddhist ceremonies. Borobodur also has six square courtyards, three circular ones, and a main courtyard within a stupa at the temple’s peak. The entire structure is formed in the shape of a giant twirling staircase, a style of architecture from prehistoric Indonesia.

Because of the uniqueness, beauty, historic value and priceless works of art manifested in Borobodur, this temple is certainly worth of the title as one of the greatest masterpieces of Indonesia’s vast archipelago.

 

Favorite Tour Packages

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (5 hours)

Price : IDR  399.900 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple / Pawon Temple

SUNRISE BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (6 hours)

IDR  450.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (8 hours)

IDR  500.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

SULTAN PALACE + WATER CASTLE + PRAMBANAN + BOROBUDUR (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE CHICKEN CHURCH + BOROBUDUR + KALIBIRU NATIONAL PARK (10 hours)

IDR  650.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE CHICKEN CHURCH + BOROBUDUR + KALIADEM LAVA TOUR (10 hours)

IDR  650.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR + PRAMBANAN + RATU BOKO TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + DIENG PLATEAU (12 hours)

IDR  700.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple

BOROBUDUR SUNRISE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  600.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Looking from inside Borobudur temple or on the Hill

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel 03.45 AM

Extra visit : Mendut temple, Kalasan temple

see the articles about : Sunrise Borobudur Temple

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + LAVA TOUR KALIADEM + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

BOROBUDUR TEMPLE + PRAMBANAN TEMPLE + PARANGTRITIS (10 hours)

IDR  550.000 / CAR (capacity 1-5 persons)

Include  : Car, Driver, Fuel

Exclude : Entrance fee, Meal, Donation, Parking, Travel Insurance, Guide.

Pick up and drop at your hotel

SUNRISE FROM THE SETUMBU/BAREDE HILLS AND BOROBUDUR TOUR (6 hours)

IDR 425.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

Many tourist hunting the sunrise on this hill, Enjoy the beautiful view of the mountain and borobudur from the top of hills. After enjoy the sunrise continue to the most famous greatest budhist temple in the world, Borobudur.

SUNRISE FROM THE SETUMBU/BAREDE HILLS CONTINUE TO BOROBUDUR TEMPLE AND PRAMBANAN (9 hours)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

IDR 525.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Include : car, fuel and driver

AMAZING SUNRISE FROM INSIDE BOROBUDUR TEMPLE (6 hours)

IDR 425.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

Amazing experience to see the sunrise inside Borobudur temple. You can enjoy and capture the sunrise also the temple before any people else arrived, it will be unforgettable moment. Before enter Borobudur temple, you must pass the gate of Manohara hotel

AMAZING SUNRISE INSIDE BOROBUDUR AND PRAMBANAN TOUR (10 hours)

Start 04.00 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

IDR 525.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Include : car, fuel and driver

EXCLUSIVE SUNRISE INSIDE BOROBUDUR AND DIENG PLATEAU TOUR ( 12 hours)

IDR 700.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.00 am

Include : car, fuel and driver

To see the sunrise in Borobudur temple, you must enter the Gate of Manohara hotel. Continue to Dieng plateau to visit oldest hindust temple in Java ; Arjuna temple, also enjoying beautiful nature around, likes vegetable terrace, farming plantations, Sikidang crater and Color lake

 

BEAUTIFUL MORNING BOROBUDUR TEMPLE TOUR (5 hours)

IDR 400.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.45 am, min 2 persons, *Simple breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

BEAUTIFUL MORNING BOROBUDUR TOUR AND PRAMBANAN TEMPLE (8 hours)

IDR 475.000 / CAR (capacity : 1-5 persons)

Start 04.45 am, min 2 persons, *No breakfast

Include : car, fuel and driver

 

Java Heritage Tour TripAdvisor Reviews

  •   Firstly thank you Abg Suriyanto for the awesome hospitality, we cover all of our itinerary and done all of our wishlist from day one to day three. It was affordable and splendid experience much blessed for this trip ♡😚

    thumb Tiara A
    5/11/2018

      The room design very nice Big and comfort.whole room switches is systematic and look elegant..the staff was very helpful and friendly

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    6/08/2018
  •   Our driver for adventurous 3 days in jogjakarta..founded pak agus contact and mas supri was appointed to us, he's very friendly and comfortable to talk with..Thank you once again...😍

    thumb shelvee e
    4/21/2018

      Our 4D3N trip at Yogyakarta has been very super enjoying n memorable with Pak Budi as our tour guide. We are very lucky to be able to experience sunset at Timang beach n sunrise at Merapi Mount. Pak Budi is a very punctual, eventhough we...More

    thumb LD A
    7/07/2018

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