Tourists told off for touching statues and stupas at Borobudur temple site

“Touching the stupa can cause damage to the temple.” Pic: Isriya Paireepairit/flickr

THE Borobudur Conservation Agency has profusely advised tourists against touching statues and stupas at the Indonesian temple grounds of Borobudur, one of the world’s most sacred UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Public relations officer at the agency, Mura, said, “Touching the stupa can cause damage to the temple. Although it’s made from stone, it can be broken.”

“The bottom part of the stupa has become soft and it lost its original shape due to being touched repeatedly by tourists,” he added while pointing out a palm print over a corroded stone.

The temple management also bans tourists from touching the statues inside the stupa, as many climb onto stones to access the stupa, which could eventually lead to breakage.

Although the agency regularly cleans moss off the temple grounds using high pressure hoses, no chemicals are used. “UNESCO doesn’t allow us to use chemicals. We use clean water to remove moss from the stone,” Mura said.

Mura said that despite there currently being no fine imposed for those caught touching the stupas, the ban was implemented to raise visitors’ awareness of the importance of helping to preserve the temple.

Borobudur is the biggest Buddhist monument in the world, and is largely considered to be one of the world’s most remarkable. On Wesak Day each year, some 15,000 gather at the grounds for a candlelit procession.

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