Borobudur is a temple complex located in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. Its close proximity to Special Region Yogyakarta makes it a popular destination when exploring Java. It is the largest Buddhist temple in the world and has been rated so by the Guiness Book of World Records. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Borobudur is one of the main tourist attractions in Indonesia.
It is believed that Borobudur was built during Sailendra
Dynasty, influenced by Srivijaya Kingdom in 9th century.However, there is no definite written evidence about it. The time estimation was analyzed through the architecture of the monument. It is believed that the temple took several kings to complete. Its architecture has Indian influence. Although at the time they were mostly Hindu, people of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs lived next to each other and the kings gave them permission to built temples of different religions.
The abandonment of the temple has always been a mystery. Borobudur laid abandoned under volcanic ash and jungles. Local theories are that there was a decline of Buddhist followers through the mass conversion to Islam in the 15th century or that there was a big volcano eruption so people moved away.
RediscoveryEditIn the 1800s, the Dutch was already in Indonesia and the relationship between Javanese and the Dutch was not going well. During that time, the British administration ruled Java from 1811-1816. In this brief period, British governor Thomas Stanford Rafles (the founder of Singapore that was known as Tumasik, also part of Indonesia) took an interest to the academic study of the mystical Island of Java. He heard about the 'lost' monument in Central Java and then sent a Dutch engineer to discover it. It took them a couple months to clear the jungle to find the monument. The monument was all revealed in 1855.
Interestingly, Thomas Stanford Raffles also found the Prambanan Temple. It is somehow ironic that during this brief period, the British found two of the largest temples in Indonesia as opposed to the Dutch who ruled over for 350 years and not particularly interested to find ancient civilization.
The Dutch East Indies government however, cleaned the area and restored the monument after it being ignored by the whole world. Archeologists believe that it was caused by the Ancient Egypt fascination, and Indonesia is too far to care about. There was even a proposal to dismantle the monument and send the pieces throughout the world because of the unpopularity. However, the Dutch eventually decided to fix it and in the beginning of 1900s, the restoration project began.