Top 10 Most Amazing Temples in the world

No other continent in this world contains so numerous temples as Asia and more than a quarter of all people in the world belong to Eastern religions, which include Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, and Taoism. The religions in Asia are so diverse that it gave birth to amazing structures called temples. These masterpieces are the true symbols of past and present glory.

Today these impressive constructions draw tourists as well as the faithful in droves. Many of them have been honored by UNESCO as part of our World Heritage and so enjoy a reverence that transcends the different religions.

Here are 10 of the most amazing temples in the world, in no particular order.

Harmandir Sahib, India

The Harmandir Sahib, literally means The Temple of God is a prominent worship place for all Sikhs in the world located in the city of Amritsar, Punjab, India. The temple was built in the 16th Century and constructed of white marble overlaid with gold leaf and stands in the center of a pool of fresh, reflective water which is fed by the River. Construction of the Harmandir Sahib was begun by Guru Ram Dast in the 16th century. In the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh covered the upper floors of the temple with gold, which gives it its distinctive appearance. For the Sikhs, the Golden Temple symbolizes infinite freedom and spiritual independence.

The Harimandir Sahib, commonly known as the Golden Temple, By Nicholas

Amritsar, Golden Temple, By Arian Zwegers
Entrance to Golden Temple, Amritsar, By Guilhem Vellut

Wat Rong Khun, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun, more well-known among foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary unconventional Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand. Wat Rhon Khun is built by the famous Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. The reason why it's called the White Temple is because it's made out of mosaic mirrors and it keeps on shining all day and night. Wat Rong Khun is rich with symbolism derived from Buddhist and Hindu traditions, as well as some more unorthodox sources. Inside, Wat Rong Khun contains the expected statues of the Buddha, but the Buddhist artist has also included images of Superman, Batman, and Neo from The Matrix who he believes further the Buddha's message. While outside are more traditional icons one associates with the Thai temples like elephants and dragon.

Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai, Thailand, By An-d

By Ddalbiez
By Ddalbiez

Prambanan, Indonesia

Prambanan or Candi Rara Jonggrang is one of the famous Hindu temples in the world, a 9th-century Hindu temple located in Central Java, Indonesia, dedicated to the Trimurti, the expression of God as the Creator (Brahma), the Preserver (Vishnu) and the Destroyer (Shiva). The temple is approximately 17 kilometres northeast of the city of Yogyakarta on the boundary between Central Java and Yogyakarta provinces. Prambanan temple is extraordinarily beautiful building constructed during the reigns of two kings namely Rakai Pikatan and Rakai Balitung. Almost all the walls of the temple are covered in exquisite bas relief carvings, which narrate stories of Vishnu's incarnations, adventures of Hanuman the Monkey King and the Ramayana epic story.

Prambanan temple, By Jim Maes

View from Approach Road, By Anandajoti
Ramaya Relief, By Anandajoti

The Temple of Heaven, China

The Temple of Heaven, literally the Altar of Heaven is a complex of religious buildings situated in the southeastern part of central Beijing. The temple was constructed in 14th century by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty who was also responsible for the construction of the Forbidden City in Beijing as his personal temple, where he would pray for good harvest and to atone for the sins of his people. The Temple of Heaven stands in a vast tract of land measuring 2.7 million square meters. It is divided into an inner and an outer part. It also has a rectangular southern wall that symbolizes the earth, and a circular northern wall that represents heaven. It is considered to be a historical and cultural landmark of China.

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, PD

Inside Qiniandian the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, By Malcolm Browne
Inside Qiniandian the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, By Malcolm Browne

Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

The Shwedagon Pagoda, also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres gilded pagoda and stupa located in Yangon, Burma. The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese and furthermore according to legend, it has existed for more than 2,600 years, making it the oldest historical pagoda in Burma and the world. Shwedagon Pagoda is covered with hundreds of gold plates and the top of the stupa is encrusted with 4531 diamonds, the largest of which is a 72 carat diamond. The Shwedagon Pagoda also housed one of the holiest relics in Buddhism: eight strands of Buddha's hair.

The Magnificent Shwe Dagon Pagoda, By Sky89

By François Bianco

Taktsang Monastery, Bhutan

Paro Taktsang is the popular name of Taktsang Palphug Monastery (also known as Tiger's Nest), a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site and temple complex, located in the cliffside of the upper Paro valley, in Bhutan. This holiest place in Bhutan was built in 1692 and rebuild in 1998 after a fire. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche, the second Buddha, flew onto the cliff on the back of a tigress, and then meditated in a cave which now exists within the monastery walls. The monastery formerly called Taktshang Goemba, is now restricted to Buddhists only during religious occasions and are off limits to tourists.

Taktshang Monastery, Bhutan, By Douglas J. McLaughlin

Tiger's Nest monastery, By Thomas Wanhoff
Paro Taktsang a.k.a the Tiger's Nest, By Juliette's

Potala Palace, Tibet

Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region of China, was the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. It is now a museum and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The palace is named after Mount Potalaka, the mythical abode of Chenresig or Avalokitesvara. Lozang Gyatso, the Great Fifth Dalai Lama, started its construction in 1645 after one of his spiritual advisers, Konchog Chophel, pointed out that the site was ideal as a seat of government, situated as it is between Drepung and Sera monasteries and the old city of Lhasa.

The Palace consists of two main buildings, the Potrang Karpo (White Palace) and Portrang Marpo (Red Palace). The White Palace is the part of the Potala Palace that makes up the living quarters of the Dalai Lama. The Red Palace is part of the Potala palace that is completely devoted to religious study and Buddhist prayer. With more than 1 000 rooms, the Potala Palace contained the living quarters of the Dalai Lamas while they lived, and their sumptuous golden tombs when they died. As the religious and political centre of old Tibet and the winter residence of Dalai Lamas, the palace witnessed the life of the Dalai Lamas and the important political and religious activities in the past centuries.

Potala Palace, By Coolmanjackey

The White Palace of Potala, By
Lhasa 1993, By John Hill

Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, India

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple or Thiruvarangam Tamil is a Hindu temple dedicated to Ranganatha, a reclining form of Hindu deity, Vishnu located in Srirangam, Tiruchirapalli, Tamil Nadu, India . It is considered to be one of the most important temples to Vishnu in the world. The temple is actually dedicated to the god Ranganatha, a form of Vishnu that opens to listen to the prayers of and blesses his worshippers. It is located in a swath of land measuring 156 acres and it features a tower that stands 236 feet. Colorfully painted towers adorn the shrines.

Gods at Srirangam, By Ajith Kumar

Roof detail, By Nagarjun Kandukuru
Eastern fifth gopuram, By Arian Zwegers

Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Angkor Wat was built in the early 12th century in Cambodia. This famous temple was first a Hindu one, dedicated to Vishnu. In the 14th or 15th century, as Buddhism swept across Asia, it became a Buddhist temple. The temple was built by the Khmer King Suryavarman II in the early 12th century in Yasodharapura, the capital of the Khmer Empire, as his state temple. Angkor Wat actually has three levels. In the center is the tallest tower standing at around 65 meters high. Four smaller temples surround this, with statues and bass relief of gods and deities spread all throughout.

Angkor Wat is considered a center of the Buddhist faithful, and pilgrims flock to the temple every year. The temple is at the top of the high classical style of Khmer architecture. It has become a symbol of Cambodia, appearing on its national flag, and it is the country's prime attraction for visitors.

Angkor Wat, the front side of the main complex, By Bjørn Christian Tørrissen

View from Phnom Bakheng, By Jadamta
Panorama of the Upper Gallery, By Deanpemberton

Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur Temple is a 9th-century Mahayana Buddhist Temple in Magelang, Central Java, Indonesia. The monument consists of six square platforms topped by three circular platforms and is decorated with 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. A main dome, positioned at the center of the top platform, is surrounded by 72 Buddha statues seated inside a perforated stupa. It is the world’s largest Buddhist temple, as well as one of the greatest Buddhist monuments in the world.

In 1956 UNESCO began an assessment process for the full scale restoration of the monument. Finally in 1968, a major plan to restore Borobudur was created, and this huge project involved a complete overhaul of the monument up until 1983. The unsteady foundations were stabilized, everything was meticulously cleaned and a major drainage system installed. After the works were finished, UNESCO formally listed Borobudur as a World Heritage Site in 1991.

Borobudur temple view from northwest plateau, By Gunawan Kartapranata

Borobudur Temple, By Sergey
Hell Panel, Karmavibhanga, By anandajoti

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