A team of 600 workmen is toiling fulltime to try to save the crumbling Buddhist temple at Borobudur in Indonesia.
GV ZOOM TO: Borobudur Temple on hill.
GV ZOOM TO: Tourists walking around temple.
GV PAN FROM: Crane TO temple.
SV: Sing on crane 'Borobudur restoration project' ZOOM OUT TO show side of temple.
SV ZOOM TO: Bas-relief of figures. ( 3 SHOTS)
SCU ZOOM TO: Stone carving on exterior wall.
SV ZOOM OUT FROM: Steel piping shoring up wall of temple.
ZOOM TO: Workmen on scaffolding and cranes.
SV PAN OVER: Northern wall TO workmen on scaffolding.
G TV PAN ALONG: Open area filled with stones and figures removed from temple. (2 SHOTS)
SV: Workman cleaning gargoyle head.
CU ZOOM OUT FROM: Stone cutting machine TO man operating buzzsaw.
SV ZOOM TO: Workmen daubing fluid on stones.
SV PAN ALONG: Newly-cleaned and replaced bas-reliefs
SV: Workmen lowering stone into position.
CU: Workmen moving stone into place.
GV: Side of temple, headless statue in foreground to cup???las. (3 SHOTS)
BEUTLER: "The borobudur temple stands on a hill in Central Java. it's one of the world's architectural wonders. The Borobudur is known as a Candi, a Hindu-Buddhist structure built for religious purposes. Nobody knows when it was built, but experts believe it was some time during the eighth century. In this domain of the Gods, the cranes seem alien, but they are the answer to an international S.O.S. sent out in 1973, an appeal for help to save the Borobudur. The ancient temple was crumbling and in danger of collapse. The biggest threat to the Borobudur comes from water and, to some degree, earlier attempts at restoration. Centuries of neglect had left the temple badly overgrown by trees and plants, but, when they were cleared away, water seepage became greater. Soil and rubble was washed against the terraces; pressure built up; and there was a great danger that the whole structure would suddenly split at the seams. When the current restoration began, the northern face was listing by as much as 30 degrees. A restoration work force of 600 men is now engaged full-time on the temple. Following the 1973 appeal, millions of dollars were raised or pleaded, experts were hired and computers brought in to decide how to tackle the enormous task. With the start of work, an area resembling a huge parking lot was set aside to take sections of the Borobudur as it was dismantled. But the pieces are moved down here only after a careful and painstaking procedure of removal. As each stone or stature is taken out, its dimensions and its position in the temple are stored in the computer's memory. No two stones are the same shape or size. Each piece that's removed goes through a special preservation process. It's cleaned, dried, repaired, put through a chemical solution, and then stored until the time comes for it to be slotted back into its original position in Borobudur. So far, one million, two hundred thousand stone blocks have been taken away and treated. Although work began on the northern face, the side in greate
st danger, the Borobudur was in bad shape all round. The eastern and western sides had moved about 10 degrees. It's estimated that the Borobudur took more than a century to build. Even before it was finished, its architects discovered that it was in danger of toppling. They bolstered it with 160 separate footings. These footings have held it together for 12 centuries, and the experts say the current restoration will ensure that the Borobudur will stand for a least another one thousand years."
Borobudur means 'the Vihara of the Secret Aspect', and is a low pyramid composed of receding platforms. Archaeologists put its probable date of construction as the close of the 18th century A.D. It's numerous bas-reliefs depict the life of Prince Suddharta and his evolution into the Gautama Buddha; and their detail shows the pleasures and evils of the Khamadhatu, or the physical world. As archaeologists and scientists dismantled the outer shells and reached the inner layers, they found that at least four previous temples had been built and rebuilt on top of the mountain during the period from 778 to 842 - that of the Sailendra dynasty. Scientists believe that, if the sever listing is not corrected soon, the entire monument could collapse. The Indonesian government, which is deeply committed to the project, says the restoration work should be completed in another four or five years. However, scientists are worried at the pace of the work. They say that the rains of one monsoon season, or a minor earthquake, could bring everything crashing down.
REPORTER: WARWICK BEUTLER
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: A team of 600 workmen is toiling fulltime to try to save the crumbling Buddhist temple at Borobudur in Indonesia. Eleven centuries of tremendous pressure from the immense weight of Buddhist images and their casings, plus water seepage, had tilted its lower walls well out of true. Crude restoration work 70 years ago aggravated the temple's physical decline. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has raised much of the 11 million dollars needed for the work. Warwick Beutler of the Australian broadcasting Commission reports on how the restoration work is progressing.