The modern erosion of Borobudur

With 2.5 million visitors a year and poor tourist management procedures in place, it looks like Borobudur is crumbling faster under the weight of tourist visits than being the sacred spot it was built to be.

Jogjakarta Trip
photo credit: irwandy

Borobudur at the crossroads
Jakarta Post, 23 February 2009

Once past the entrance, it was quite a challenge trying to navigate the stairways. The narrow stone stairways were choc-a-bloc with people, so climbing was a slow process, often with a view of nothing else but someone else’s posterior. When I got to the top, several visitors, mostly teenagers or children, were seated on top of the stupas, despite signs forbidding visitors to do so.

Strewn across the floors of Borobudur’s many terraces was litter – cigarette butts, empty bottles of mineral water, plastic bags. The few dustbins that were available were already full to the brim. It was not a pretty sight.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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