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Borobudur is a ninth-century Mahayana Buddhist monument in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument comprises six square platforms topped by three circular platforms, and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, located at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside perforated stupa.

Candi Borobudur
Borobudur to offer new night attractions

The Borobudur temple in Magelang will stage a ballet performance at night, reminiscent of the popular Ramayana dance-drama performed in the compound of the Prambanan Hindu temple some 80 kilometers apart. The first performance will be staged on Wednesday night, with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono among the audience.

A collaborative work of experts of various backgrounds, including a choreographer, musician, historian, and archeologist, the one-hour ballet is a colossal performance involving some 150 local and professional dancers from the Surakarta-based Indonesian Arts College (STSI). The dance performance Mahakarya Borobudur tells about the creation of Borobudur, which has been named a world heritage site by UNESCO.

"We plan to regularly perform the ballet at the temple in the near future, but we have not yet arranged the schedule," PT Taman Wisata Candi Borobudur, Prambanan, and Ratu Boko temple management manager Guntur Purnomoadi told The Jakarta Post. "It will be like the Ramayana performance regularly held at Prambanan temple."

Mahakarya Borobudur will also mark the launch of the new lighting design of Borobudur by world-class American designer Robert Daniels. with financial support from U.S. electronic giant General Electric (GE), which also provides the lighting design for the stage. The temple management president director, Wagiman Subiaro, said the new lighting design would highlight the temple's beauty and is expected to attract more tourists.

"The lighting will also provide a magnificent background for the performance," he added. Wagiman said the performance was expected to boost the tourist industry in the region and have a multiplier effect on the local community. "We do hope all parties who are committed to national culture conservation support Mahakarya Borobudur," he said. An average of two million people visit the temple annually.

Speaking separately to the Post, Daniels said that main difference between the previous and present lighting design for Borobudur laid in the use of what he called the cross-fire lighting technique and the light-beam control in the present design. "The previous design basically was just putting light straight onto the temple. It washed out all the details," Daniels said.

In fact, he said, because of the magnificent carvings and the statues that the temple has, it actually needed light that works in different ways to create a three-dimensional effect on the temple at night and even make it look more beautiful under the light. "By day, this magnificence is apparent. By night, it's a bit harder to appreciate. My mission is to create a design that truly punctuates the depth, detail and sheer brilliance of the temple," he said.

During his visit to the temple for the preparation for Wednesday's event, President and CEO of the GE Consumer and Industrial of Asia-Pacific Darryl Wilson said the lighting design was the second that the company had provided for Borobudur temple in 2003. So far GE has spent a total of US$70,000 for the construction and installation of lighting. The project itself, according to Wilson, was part of the firm's community service.

"We have the facility here in Yogyakarta. We have the technology and the idea. So, we do it. We see it is important for the community and the world to understand what is here; the beauty of the structure, even during the night," Wilson said.

Last revised on September 16, 2009
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