Borobudur

Buddhism's grandest citadel

For the adventurers, the pre-dawn excursion to Borobudur temple to witness the sunrise is a surreal and unparalleled experience in south east Asia. As rays of light pierce the misty sky, rolling hills of tropical jungles, plains of paddy fields and swaying palms are revealed and so is Borobudur, Buddhism's grandest citadel.

Built from over two million stone blocks by the rulers of the Sailendra dynasty sometime between AD 750 and AD 850, the name Borobudur is derived from the Sanskrit words 'Vihara Buddha Uhr', which mean 'Buddhist Monastery on the Hill'.

The temple has survived a massive earthquake in 2006, terrorists bombs and ash flows from Mount Merapi. But it stands spectacular today as it must have once did.

Six square terraces make up the bottom part of the temple and on top of these are three circular terraces. There are four stairways leading up to the top arched by intricately carved gateways. The upper terraces have 72 stone lattice stupas, each with a statue of Buddha meditating within. Throughout the complex peaceful-faced Buddha statues stare out into the gorgeous Javanese landscape.

Borobudur temple wall carvings, Indonesia