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Borobudur Facts

Bell-shaped stupas decorating the upper levels of temple. One problem that plagues the temple is the constant downpours it experiences. Eighty inches of rain fall on the temple every year. Even before it is completed, Borobudur begins to break apart, as the rain triggers mudslides below.

Bell-shaped stupas decorating the upper levels of temple. One problem that plagues the temple is the constant downpours it experiences. Eighty inches of rain fall on the temple every year. Even before it is completed, Borobudur begins to break apart, as the rain triggers mudslides below. (View larger version)

Photograph by National Geographic Channels/ Lydia Shah

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  • Historians estimate that the construction of Borobudur in ancient Central Java spanned over a 70-year period.

  • Borobudur is adorned with rows of intricately carved bas-reliefs which covers 1460 stone panels and a total area 1900 square metres.

  • A visitor circling the galleries that spans across 4 stories of Borobudur would have walked a total distance of approximately 1.2 kilometres.

  • Some 504 statues of Buddha can be found throughout the Borobudur monument.

  • The Buddha statues throughout the Borobudur temple can be found expressing six different types of mudras (hand positions) depending on their placement throughout the monument.

  • After a visit in 1896, King Chulalongkorn of Siam asked for and received 8 cartloads of sculpture from this Buddhist temple. Some of these acquisitions from Borobudur are now on display in the National Museum of Bangkok.

  • Borobudur temple was built with 2 to 4 metre-thic blocks of stones that were laid over a hill and leveled with soil from below.

  • While legend has it that divine architect Gunadharma designed the Borobudur temple, research shows that there may have been more than one person behind the brains of the monumental architectural feat.

  • The blocks of stones used to build the majestic temple of Borobudur were not even sealed together with mortar but instead used a complex interlocking system of gripping with the use of dovetails and joints.

  • The interior of Borobudur's central stupa is currently hollow with no entrances or access to it. It is believed that its initial purpose was to act as a store for relics.
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