It may seem odd to learn that the world’s biggest Buddhist sanctuary sits on an archipelago with the largest Muslim population. But the nation has gone through a long and intricate history that goes way back, including the domination of Hinduism and Buddhism before the coming of Islam.
Borobudur Temple shows us a glimpse of what life was like during its time around the 8th-century. During that time the area was governed by the Syailendra Dynasty (meaning Lord of the Mountain) who actively promoted Mahayana Buddhism in the territory.
This Buddhist empire built Borobudur Temple during the peak of their influence, a construction that took an estimated 75 years to complete. Built primarily from stones, the temple was erected block by block without the use of cement or adhesive, but instead using a delicate pattern system to lock one block with each other, all 2 million of them.
Unfortunately, the replacement of the kingdom’s capital from the eruption-prone Central Java to East Java led to the abandonment of this mighty temple. The change was made sometime around the 10th-century and impacted other temples in the area including the Hindu’s Prambanan Temple that was built decades after the construction of Borobudur.