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10 New Bali's - Borobudur

If you have visited Borobudur in Central Java, you are probably aware that this iconic temple plays a powerful role in shaping Indonesian aesthetics, architecture and cultural identity and has been appointed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. With promising opportunities to put Indonesia on the circuit of cultural world heritage tourism, Borobudur is pointed as one of the five super-priority destinations in 10 New Bali's initiative to boost the country’s economic growth. Let's explore the beauty of a Buddhist temple that is comparable to the world-famous temples of Bagan in Myanmar and Angkor Wat in Cambodia.

Source: Asia News


Borobudur is located about 40 km (25 miles) to the northwest of Yogyakarta and some 86 km (53 miles) west of the city of Surakarta in Central Java. This magnificent temple is the world’s biggest Buddhist monument, an ancient site widely considered to be one of the world’s seven wonders. The temple lies in an area between two volcanoes (Mt. Sundoro-Sumbing and Mt. Merbabu-Merapi) and is situated very close to two other Buddhist temples in the Kedu Plain: Pawon and Mendut. The temple sits majestically on a hilltop overlooking lush green fields and distant hills. Built-in the 9th century during the reign of the Syailendra dynasty, its design in Gupta architecture reflects India's influence on the region, yet there are enough indigenous scenes and elements incorporated to make Borobudur uniquely Indonesian.

Source: Indonesia Travel

Borobudur was built at some point in the eighth or ninth centuries but the exact date was left unknown because there’s no written record of its construction. It’s interesting because this was a period when religion in this part of Java was in flux. Hindu was still a popular faith and, in fact, the enormous Hindu Prambanan Temple was being built not far away at the same time. While Indigenous religions also still had a hold in many parts of Central Java, Buddhism was growing in power, with the driving force coming from India’s influence. Hindu and Buddhist merchants and traders started to settle in the region, intermarried with the local population, and facilitated long-distance trading relations between the indigenous Javanese and ancient India. The design of this temple is a mix of Javanese style and Gupta dynasty architecture, thus reflecting the blend of indigenous and Indian aesthetics in ancient Java. Over the centuries, the Javanese blended the culture and religions of ancient India with their own.

The architecture and stonework of this temple have no equal as it was built without using any kind of cement or mortar. The structure is like a set of massive interlocking Lego blocks held together without any glue. Over 500 statues of Buddha are positioned around Borobudur, and it contains roughly 3,000 bas-relief sculptures. These sculptures are all unique in that they depict the Buddha’s teachings, life, and personal wisdom. When taken all together, Borobudur can claim to have the largest amount of Buddhist sculptures of any single site in the world today. It is known that in ancient times, sculptors decorated and adorned the temples' various galleries before everything was covered with paint and stucco. This method has helped better preserve these sculptures for over a thousand years.

Source: Indonesia Travel

The temple has remained strong even through ten centuries of neglect. It was rediscovered in 1815, buried under volcanic ash. In the 1970s, the Indonesian Government and UNESCO worked together to restore Borobudur to its former majesty. With funding from five other countries, more than one million stones dismantled, cleaned, catalogued, and put back in place. The restoration took eight years to complete and today Borobudur is one of Indonesia and the world’s most valuable treasures.

Source: Indonesia Tourism

During the restoration, it was discovered that three Buddhist temples in the region, Borobudur, Pawon and Mendut, are positioned along a straight line. It is believed that a ritual relationship between the three temples must have existed. Built-in the early 9th century AD, the Mendut Temple, a rectangular temple with multi-storied roofs decorated with small stupas is located 3 kilometres east of Borobudur Temple. It is the oldest among the three temples. Pawon Temple is situated between the other two temples and is also built during the Sailendra dynasty (8th – 9th centuries). The name Pawon literally means kitchen (Javanese Language) which is derived from the root word Awu or dust. The connection to the word dust also suggests that this temple was probably built as a tomb or mortuary temple for the king. In the contemporary era during the full moon in May or June, Buddhists in Indonesia observe Vesak annual ritual by walking from Mendut passing through Pawon to Borobudur.

Promising opportunities await you

With the 10 New Bali's initiative, the government would prioritise Borobudur as one of the five super-priority destinations to support economic growth. With only an hour away from the main city. Yogyakarta, it makes the temple accessible to visitors. Efforts have been accelerated to support development in three key areas of Central Java, such as Kendal Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Brebes Industrial State and the area surrounding the Borobudur temple. First, the new Yogyakarta International Airport, Kulonprogo International Airport, has been fully operated and is built closer to Magelang to facilitate the expected increase of arrivals within the next few years. Second, the government has planned to implement five more toll road projects in Central Java or at least projects that go through the province. The five toll segments are Gedebage-Tasikmalaya-Cilacap, Yogyakarta-Bawen, Solo-Yogyakarta-Yogyakarta International Airport (Kulonprogo), Demak-Tuban, and Semarang-Kendal. Besides toll road projects, the government will also optimise the development of the Southern Trans Road (JJLS) to balance the distribution of economic centres.

Furthermore, several developments have been planned to support local connectivity. Three airport facility projects have been appointed to be focused on. The land acquisition will be carried out to expand the capacity of Ngloram Airport in Cepu (Blora Regency). While the runway of Dewandaru Airport in Karimunjawa Islands (Jepara Regency) will be extended, the development of Wirasaba Airport in Purbalingga is set to be operational by May 2020, quicker than the original plan of being operational in November 2020. In addition, local government is also developing new ports in Kendal Industrial Park and Brebes Industrial State. The port project will utilise the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme, so it is open for private companies that want to invest.

Promising opportunities can also be found in Kendal Industrial Park that was launched in 2016 and is currently the home of 59 tenants. With that SEZ status, investors will be able to get more benefits. SEZ Kendal has a geo-economic advantage because the area is close to Ahmad Yani airport, Tanjung Emas seaport, and lies adjacent to the Trans Java Toll road, the Pantura road, and the Jakarta-Semarang-Surabaya double railway line. The area in SEZ Kendal will be divided into three zones, each having a different theme, namely export processing, logistics zone, and industrial zones. With an official status to be a Special Economic Zone, investors can obtain tax, fiscal and non-fiscal incentives if they expand their business or set up their factories in SEZ Kendal. For example, in terms of tax incentives, investors can obtain a tax holiday of up to 100% depending on the amount of investment. In addition, the development of SEZ Kendal was undertaken by means of a joint venture between Jababeka Group, a trusted city developer from Indonesia, and SembCorp Development, Singapore's leading developer. For this reason, investors can invest without concerns as both partners have high integrity.

Either tourism or business concerns, Borobodur and Central Java have promising opportunities that await you. You should take full advantage of the opportunities in the sexiest region of investment as advised by the Chairman of Investment Coordinating Board, Bahlil Lahadalia.

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