The Borobudur Temple: Reading Practice 4 (descriptive)

By | October 16, 2023

Borobudur, or Barabudur, is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple located in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues.

Borobudur is built as a single large stupa and, when viewed from above, takes the form of a giant tantric Buddhist mandala, representing the Buddhist cosmology and the nature of mind. The original foundation is a square, approximately 118 metres on each side.

The monument’s three divisions symbolize the three “realms” of Buddhist cosmology, namely Kamadhatu (the world of desires), Rupadhatu (the world of forms), and finally Arupadhatu (the formless world).

Approximately 55,000 cubic metres of andesite stones were taken from neighbouring stone quarries to build the monument. The stone was cut to size, transported to the site and laid without mortar.

Borobudur contains approximately 1,460 narrative and 1,212 decorative panels. The total relief surface is 2,500 square metres. The narrative panels, which tell the story of Sudhana and Manohara, are grouped into 11 series that encircle the monument.

(Adapted from the Wikipedia, photo from

1. Borobudur is made up of … platforms.
A. 3
B. 6
C. 9
D. 12
E. 15

2. The circular platforms are built … the square platforms.
A. on top of
B. inside
C. outside
D. next to
E. over

3. The form of the Borobudur temple was built to symbolize … .
A. the Hindu sacred scripture
B. the Buddhist cosmology
C. a sacred belief system
D. Lord Buddha
E. the Buddhist belief system

4. The word giant in paragraph 2 means … .
A. great
B. large
C. huge
D. big
E. tiny

5. … tell the story of Sudhana and Manohara.
A. All relief panels
B. The decorative relief panels
C. The narrative relief panels
D. Both narrative and decorative panels
E. The circular platforms

6. The word realm in paragraph 3 most probably means … .
A. mind
B. brain
C. human
D. form
E. world

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