The most popular tourist attraction in Indonesia, the majestic Borobodur temple in Central Java is also the largest Buddhist monument in the world. The colossal pyramid-shaped structure was built in the 8th and 9th centuries from thousands of huge blocks of stone, and is arranged in ascending platforms. The first five terraces are square, and the top three circular. The entire temple is crowned by a large central stupa (bell-shaped shrine) that helps give Borobudur its distinctive silhouette.
The walls and balustrades of the lower levels are adorned with intricately carved stone reliefs that tell the story of Buddha’s enlightenment and provide a feast for the eyes as well as a devotional path for pilgrims who walk around the terraces in a clockwise fashion. Once you reach the upper three levels you leave behind the ‘earthly’ atmosphere of the panelled terraces and enter a serene space dominated by hundreds of openwork stone stupas and Buddha statues.