Kinkaku-ji, Kyoto

Also known as the Temple of the Golden Pavilion – for obvious reasons.  The present pavilion is a modern one, dating from the 1950s, after the previous structure was burned down by a crazed monk.  However, there has been a temple on the site since the 14th century AD.

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Stupas at Borobudur, Indonesia

Stupas, Borobudur

Stupas, Borobudur

Itself conceived as one giant stupa, Borobudur is adorned with a further 72 individual stupas, each housing a statue of the Buddha.  Each level of the monument represents a level of consciousness on the path towards enlightenment, until ultimately at the very top, there remains one giant empty stupa – enlightenment and the banishment of all want.

Statue of the Buddha at Borobudur, Indonesia

Uncovered Buddha, Borobudur

Borobudur is a giant Buddhist monument located in central Java, Indonesia.  Built over 1,200 years it is in essence a vast stupa, decorated with over 2,000 bas relief panels and 500 individual statues of the Buddha.

Long after Islam had replaced Buddhism as the major religion in the Indonesian archipelago, locals still revered the place as holy and full of mystical power and it remains one of the world’s great Buddhist monuments and piligrimage sites.