Borobudur, Prambanan & Ratu Boko


A truly magical way to see Borobudur is at sunrise

Using a torch you rise up through the levels of the temple whilst it is still dark, and then can watch as the sun rises up, behind Mount Merapi in the distance. With the surrounding valleys undulating in mist, the experience is extraordinary as the complexity and scale of Borobudur comes to light.

Many comment that they feel incredibly honoured to be able to experience the temple with so few others.

It is also both the quietest and coolest time of day to visit the temple.

A special ticket is purchased from the Manohara Centre For Borobudur Study close to the base of the temple. Contact our helpful Visitor Assistance Centre for more on the time you will need to be there (this changes with the time of year), and the cost of the tickets.


Guiding the way

For a richer cultural experience, hook up with a local guide to fill you in on a wide range of historical, artistic and religious intricacies.

You also get great insight on how the local people understand religion and its place in contemporary Javan life. It is fascinating stuff. Inexpensive and worthwhile, it is also a great way to support the local community. Our Visitor Assistance Centre can help you book a local guide.


Borobudur Museum

The base level of the temple plays an important role in illustrating the first of the three zones of consciousness. Apart from one corner which has been ‘revealed’ for visitors, it is not possible to see the remaining reliefs remain hidden below the supporting foundation. The hidden base of the Borobudur temple was dissembled and the reliefs were photographed by Casijan Chepas in 1890.

It is these photographs that are displayed in the dedicated museum building within the Borobudur Archaeological Park.

This series of reliefs is known as the Mahakarmawibhangga and represents the world of desire.

The depiction of theft, murder, rape and torture appear amongst other immoral acts. The direct or indirect result of these acts is shown to be a tortuous afterlife. The depiction of hell includes the cutting up of bodies with a saw, burning bodies, and bondage with hot chains.

The reliefs also depict more harmonious topics including working together, agricultural methods, and planned parenthood.

Some of the panels have inscriptions which are believed to have been instructions to the carvers. Some panels remain unfinished, and this gives rise to the theory that the additional base was added before the temple had been completed.

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