Magelang, C Java (ANTARA News)- The world-famous Borobudur Temple has been temporarily closed for tourists as volcanic ash from the Mount Merapi eruptions has blanketed the area.

The closure was effective since Friday (Nov 10) at 10.00 a.m. local time, Pujo Suwarno, an officer of the agency managing the ancient shrine said here Saturday.

The temple was also blanketed with volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Merapi on October 26, he said.

Borobudur was closed for five days for an exercise to remove the layer of volcanic ash, especially on the structure`s third to tenth floors.

"Borobudur was covered in volcanic ash again after being cleaned up earlier from the volcanic ash rain that hit the temple for two days on Wednesday and Thursday last week," he said.

Pujo could not say when the temple would be reopenedto for the public as Mount Merapi was still spewing volcanic ash and sand.

Workers hired by the temple`s management had been working together since Friday (Nov 5) to rid p the temple and its immediate surroundings of volcanic ash and broken tree branches.

The cleaning up operation was expected to be finished on Monday (Nov 8) in order to open the temple to the public. However, visitors would not be allowed to ascend the temple`s stairs, and could only watch it from the ground, he said.

Borobudur Temple was covered in volcanic as thick as 0.5 - 1 cm after the Mt Merapi eruption on October 26, the head of the Borobudur Heritage Conservation Office, Marsis Sutopo said.

However, Mt Merapi`s eruptions on November 3-5 had caused the temple to be covered in a 1-2.5 cm thick layer of ash. The Arupadatu level had the thickest ash layer as the level was flat, he said.

The volcanic ash had acid properties that might mold and stale the stones of which the temple was made. Therefore, the ash had to be cleaned up immediately, he said.(*)