Asia; the land of amazing temples, great food and unique culture. The continent boasts thousands of temples in various sizes and and for various religions from Buddhism to Hinduism. If there’s one place on earth to see the most magnificent temples and pagodas, then Asia is the place. Here is a list of some of the best.
10. Thatbyinnyu Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
One of the tallest pagodas in Myanmar, this magnificent temple was erected in the 12th century, during the reign of King Alaungsithu. It’s an ancient asymmetric temple, two stories high and with a massive image of the seated Buddha peacefully residing inside.
9. The Temple of Heaven, Beijing, China
Possibly the most famous Taoist temple, this beautiful structure was built in the 13th century; visited by mighty emperors and pilgrams. Today it’s a popular place of worship and also to exercise. Be sure not to miss this when in Beijing, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the city.
8. The Lotus Temple, New Delhi, India
Often considered one of the most unique buildings on earth, this lotus shaped temple is made of huge marble petals to make the form the famous symbol associated with Asia. It’s considered a Bahá’í House of Worship, which basically states that people of any religion are welcome to praise and worship their gods or goddesses.
7. Wat Rong Khun, Chiang Rai, Thailand
One of the most famous modern temples, it’s a contemporary temple started by one man with a dream. It’s build with stunning white glass, constructed painstakingly piece by piece and won’t be finished until 2070. It is already looking magnificent with many unique (if not scary) structures to behold.
7. Sri Ranganathaswamy, Srirangam, India
One of the coolest and most unique temples you’ll probably set eyes on. Sri Ranganathaswamy is a Dravidian style Hindutemple. There’s an annual festival held every year here that attracts over a million pilgrams and worshipers. The details of the temple are very hypnotic and the temple itself induces a trance like state just by entering. A truly unforgettable experience.
6. Gawdawpalin Temple, Bagan, Myanmar
Myanmar makes the list again, this time with another spectacular temple constructed in the 12th century. The temple is still utilized by Buddhist monks today and is one of main tourist sites in Bagan, which has over 3000 temples and pagodas in various sizes and shapes. Unfortunately you are no longer allowed to climb the temple and view the amazing scenery of Bagan.
4. Fushimi Inari Taisha, Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, Japan
This Shinto shrine is Considered to be the most important for “Inari,” the Japanese spirit of rice, tea, sake and foxes. Dating back to the 8th and 9th century, this famous shrine seen in movies and photos overlooks the city. The path up the hill to the temple is an intriguing and mesmerizing journey through the orange archways.
3. Prambanan, Central Java, Indonesia
A UNESCO heritage site, Prambanan is a unique and historic architectural wonder of the world. Constructed in the 9th century as a dedication to Vishnu, Brahmā, and Shiva, known together as the Trimurti. The Hindu complex consists of statues, shrines, stairs, walls decorated with inscriptions and carvings telling of ancient religious stories and fables.
2. Shwemawdaw Pagoda, Bago, Burma
Yet again Myanmar makes the list with the Golden God Temple (Shwemawdaw), known as the tallest pagoda or shrine in the coutry. Inside is a massive bell erected and inscribed by King Dhammazedi, which is still visible today. This rivals even the golden temples and pagodas in Thailand, definitely not to be missed.
1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A visit to Southeast Asia is not complete without seeing one of the most famous temples in the world. An instant recognizable site, this is considered one of the biggest religious complexes and the largest Hindu temple in the world. Originally dedicated to the Hindu god Vishnu in the 12th century, it is now used by Cambodian Buddhist monks.