World Religions

Places of Worship – Borobudur


Location: Java, Indonesia

Belief: Buddhism

Era: 9th Century

Borobudur Temple lies in central Java in Indonesia, and dates from the 9th century (one estimate is that it was completed around 825 CE). It was built for the Mahayana Buddhist community in Java, and it is estimated that the construction took around 75 years.

It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple and attracts over 2 million pilgrims each year from across the region. Pilgrims take a journey from the base of the monument and climb up three levels before reaching the summit [1], and this represents stages of the development of the soul in Buddhism through the stages of Kamadhatu (where the devotee is bound by their desires), Rupadhatu (where desires are abandoned but the devotee is still limited by their form) and finally Arupadhatu (the world of formlessness). 

The journey towards Nirvana in its original form would have been similar to that in Islam, of conquering the ego, whereas over time, the Buddhist philosophy was altered to a form of escapism from daily life to avoid temptation.[2]

Pilgrims follow a complex system of stairways and corridors and past 504 statues on their journey up the temple towards Nirvana, represented by the central dome at the top of the Borobudur Temple. 


[1] John Bowker, World Religions – The Great Faiths Explored and Explained (London, UK: Dorling Kindersley, 2003), 70.

[2] Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh) Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge and Truth (Tilford, UK: Islam International Publications Ltd., 1998), 143.