The narrator tells us that the temple has the shape of a mandala and then describes the site as a “pyramid” mostly on the vague idea that any building with rising platforms must be a pyramid, regardless of its purpose or architecture. (UNESCO describes the structure's base as "pyramidal.") As a Buddhist temple it wasn’t a place for connecting with “the gods” in a literal sense, unless you think the Dali Lama is in contact with aliens right now. The narrator wonders why the mandala’s shape can “only be seen from the air,” which is exactly the wrong question to ask. Do any ancient astronaut pundits wonder why many Christian churches are shaped like crosses that can “only be seen from the air”? The symbolism of having a shape through which the worshiper can move is what is important, not whether the shape can be appreciated from afar as art.
William Henry plays some verbal games that are meant to establish a spurious connection between the stupa-topped Buddhist temple and the Step Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, but it just makes him look both stupid and deceptive. Here’s what he claims:
“It’s fascinating because in India the word for stupa is the word śikhara, which means ‘tower.’ Śikhara is very much like the Egyptian word Saqqara, which is a place, the place of the Step Pyramid, or the Stairway to Heaven. And it makes me wonder if the ancient Egyptians and the ancient Indians were telling us the same thing about the stupas, that these are in fact wombs of transformation, ladders, or cosmic stairways into the heavens.”
Tsoukalos concludes by saying that the non-existent journey to “the stars” didn’t happen “in their heads,” nor was it “ethereal” or “spiritual,” which he mispronounces spi-RIT-ual; instead he says “extraterrestrial contact took place in Indonesia thousands of years ago.” Neat trick considering the temple site supposedly built in honor of the aliens was only constructed in the eighth and ninth centuries CE, by known kings, following Hindu and Buddhist teachings that are equally well-established in origin and location.
If this is the best they could do, the material the show wanted to promote to entice viewers, it will be a long slog through the show's other 39 to 41 minutes.