Rising high above the rolling rice plains of central Java island is ancient Borobudur, the largest Buddhist monument in the world. Built between A.D. 778 and A.D 850 by the Syailendra princes it took almost a century for more than 10,000 laborers, carvers, and sculptors using basic hand tools to complete the colossal structure For centuries, Borobudur temple remained W W buried under volcanic ash and tropical growth. Then in 1814, the British governor of Java, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, began uncovering what was rumored to be a “mountain of Buddhist sculptures in stone. Unfortunately, once it was uncovered, Borobudur temple was plundered by the Dutch for the next 100 years. Sections of carved panels and Buddha heads were removed for use as decorations in the gardens of the rich or as gifts to visiting dignitaries.
International criticism halted the plunder, and the Dutch made another unsuccessful attempt at restoring the monument, but every time it rained, the soft base would wash out until finally, the structure was in danger of collapse.
In the 1965, several nations collaborated with the United Nations agency, UNESCO, to save Borobudur temple. Seven hundred people worked six days a week for 10 years. They dismantled: inspected, numbered, scrubbed, chemically treated, and then replaced each of the 1.300.23′ stone slabs like a giant jigsaw puzzle. It was a monumental task that cost $25 million.
The relief and carvings along the narrow corridors and galleries represent stages in a person life as he/she aims for perfection. The lower square terraces show passion and desire. The nei levels depict tales from the Buddha’s life, and at the three circular terraces right on top (the are symbolizes heaven), we enter the world of formlessness and perfection. At this level there a 72 stupas with perfectly carved life-size Buddhas sitting inside. For good luck. one should real through the stone lattice to touch the sacred statues within.
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