May 29th, 2009 - The day after my Mt. Merapi extravaganza I packed up and left Jogjakarta for the village of Borobudur. This is where the famous Buddhist temple of the same name can be found. It is billed as one of Southeast Asia’s marvels and is on par with Myanmar’s Bagan and Cambodia’s Angkor Wat. It was built some time between AD 750 and AD 850 and required an estimated 60,000 cubic meters of stone to be hewn, transported, and carved. In a word: amazing. Remarkably, very little is known about the early history of the monument. It was abandoned soon after completion and was not rediscovered until 1815 when it was unearthed under a crapload of volcanic ash.
During the journey the monument guides the pilgrims through a system of stairways and corridors with 1,460 narrative relief panels on the wall and the balustrades. Evidence suggests Borobudur was abandoned following the fourteenth century decline of Buddhist and Hindu kingdoms in Java, and the Javanese conversion to Islam. Worldwide knowledge of its existence was sparked in 1814 by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the then British ruler of Java, who was advised of its location by native Indonesians. Borobudur has since been preserved through several restorations. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, following which the monument was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is still used for pilgrimage; once a year Buddhists in Indonesia celebrate Vesak at the monument, and Borobudur is Indonesia's single most visited tourist attraction.' See Wikipedia article here.