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The colossal Buddhist temple of Borobodur has stood guard over rural Java’s paddy fields and jungle forests for some twelve hundred years, yet only came to international attention following the brief governorship of Stamford Raffles during the Napoleonic Wars. It took two hundred men, led by the engineer Hermann Cornelius, to cut back the vegetation and jungle that had swallowed this long-lost temple.
Word spread of their discovery, and Borobodur is now the most visited site in Indonesia. As the largest Buddhist monument in the world, it attracts many pilgrims, who flock here to take the hour-long clockwise ascent to the top of the monument.
The best time to visit Borobodur is at dawn, when mist wreaths the surrounding coconut forests and rice paddies, and the hundreds of bell stupas and Buddha statues are bathed in the pastel sunrise.
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