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Thai Princess visits temple for reflection and study

On Thursday, 10 November, Her Royal Highness, Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand paid a visit to Borobudur Temple located in Magelang, Central Java. Her Royal Highness is the third daughter of the late King Bhumibol and his wife, Queen Sirikit. Last month, as covered by Royal Central, her father, the late King died, leaving the Princess and the entire country of Thailand in mourning for the beloved former King.

Her Royal Highness visited the temple to examine ‘reliefs’ of Buddha’s life from birth to enlightenment, which was first reported The Jakarta Post. The Princess and her entourage arrived in the early afternoon and entered the temple from the west entrance, which is reserved for state guests. This was her third visit to Borobudur – her first being in 1986. She was guarded by security officers from Indonesia and Thailand, and during this visit, members of the media weren’t allowed to approach the Princess for interviews or questions.

Mura Aristina is a staff member at the Borobudur Conservation Agency. She was allowed to speak with Her Royal Highness. The Princess enquired about the Kunto Bimo Statue, wishing to know why it was now off limits.

“She asked, and I told her the rule was established to protect the statue and visitors,” Mura said as quoted by kompas.com. Her Royal Highness didn’t question the explanation, foregoing the lighting of a candle for fear of causing damage to the temple which dates back to the 8th and 9th centuries.

The World Heritage Centre website provides a lovely description of the temple, which was restored 50-years-ago:

“It was built in three tiers: a pyramidal base with five concentric square terraces, the trunk of a cone with three circular platforms and, at the top, a monumental stupa. The walls and balustrades are decorated with fine low reliefs, covering a total surface area of 2,500 m2. Around the circular platforms are 72 openwork stupas, each containing a statue of the Buddha.”

The Princess spent around 2 hours at the site, where she took photos and took notes. She read the biography of Buddha, as well. She will make a return visit to Borobudur in January of next year to pray for her late father and to meet with Thai religious leaders.

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