Asia

The 7 Most Beautiful Temples in Asia

Unless you’re born and raised in Asia, you probably haven’t even heard of some of these places. But just like the much more famous European cathedrals and churches, Asia’s temples are amazing works of art just waiting to be discovered. Here’s a look at the seven most beautiful holy places in Asia.

7. Kinkaku-ji, Japan

kinkaku-ji temple

Kinkaku-ji temple

Also known as the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji was built in 1397 as a retirement villa for one of Japan’s famous shoguns. It was his son who turned it into a Zen temple. This three-story building is where many important relics of Buddha are being kept.

Kinkaku-ji temple

Kinkaku-ji temple

It was burned down twice during the Onin War and once in 1950 accidentally, by a monk who then tried to kill himself. Kinkaku-ji was completely rebuilt in 1955 and the decaying gold leaf covering the top two stories was replaced by a thicker new one. The setting of the Golden Pavilion is also, as you can see, breathtaking.

Photo credits:1, 2

6. Prambanan, Indonesia

Prambanan temple

Prambanan temple

Built sometime around 850 CE, the Prambanan temple complex in Indonesia is one of the world’s largest remaining Hindu legacies. The foundation rises 47 meters above the ground and it symbolizes the triumph of the Hindu religion in Indonesia. It has been added on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list in 1991.

Prambanan temple

Prambanan temple

There are over 200 temples in the Prambanan temple complex, but the most impressive ones are the three set in the primary yard and dedicated to the gods Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. The highest and largest one is dedicated to the goddess Shiva and it is beautifully decorated with statues and paintings depicting Hindu legends.

Photo credits:1, 2

5. Borobudur, Indonesia

Borobudur temple

Borobudur temple

One of the oldest holy places in Indonesia, Borobudur is a Buddhist monument built sometime in the ninth century, where those of strong faith still come to pray. The three levels of Borobudur, that the pilgrims have to ascend, symbolize the three levels of Buddhist cosmology, Kamadhatu, Rupadhatu and Arupadhatu.

Borobudur temple

Borobudur temple

Borobudur was deserted for centuries until 1814 when the English ruler of Java Island at that time learned about it from the locals. Restoration started immediately and now this Buddhist place of pilgrimage is on UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list. Unlike other temples, Borobudur was built atop a bedrock hill, 265m above sea-level.

Photo credits:1, 2

4. Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

Shwedagon pagoda

Shwedagon pagoda

Measuring 98 meters in height, this giant stupa is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in all of Myanmar, hosting relics of the last four Buddhas enshrined inside it. There are no records of when the Shwedagon Pagoda was built, legends say it was 2500 years ago but archeological reports say the stupa dates back to somewhere between the 6th and 10th centuries.

Shwedagon pagoda

Shwedagon pagoda

Shwedagon Pagoda is also known as the Golden Pagoda and unlike other structures that are painted golden, this Buddhist place of worship is actually covered with real gold. In the 15th century the queen ordered that it be leafed in gold and to this day, visitors sometimes buy small gold leafs and decorate the pagoda.

Photo credits:1, 2

3. Tiger’s Nest, Bhutan

Tigers Nest Monastery

Tigers Nest Monastery

The most sacred place in Bhutan, Tiger’s Nest Monastery is also one of the most beautiful and impressive holy structures in the world. It sits atop a cliff, at a height of 3,120 meters, watching over the Paro valley below. Legend says Guru Rinpoche (an important figure in Buddhism) flew to this place on the back of a tiger and meditated in a cave for three months. The cave is said to be part of Tiger’s Nest Monastery.

Tigers Nest Monastery

Tigers Nest Monastery

The Tiger’s Nest Monastery we see today was built in 1962, but it was seriously damaged in a fire that broke out in 1998. Reconstruction was done using old photographs and writings but there was hardly any documentation on the inside of the monastery and the objects it housed. People can journey to this incredible place by foot or on mules.

Photo credits:1, 2

2. The Golden Temple, India

The Golden Temple

The Golden Temple

Sri Harmadir Sahib, as it is known in India, is one of the most sacred places for Sikhs everywhere. It started out as a quiet lake in the middle of a forest, a place where Buddha himself is said to have stopped for meditation. Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion also stopped there and after his death, his followers continued to come here for meditation. Over the centuries this Sri Harmadir Sahib became more and more beautiful under the rule of each guru of the Sikhs.

The Golden temple

The Golden Temple

Today, the Golden Temple is regarded as a symbol of original Sikh architectural style where the Moslem and Hindu ways of construction come together in harmony. The Golden Temple is built out of marble and gold and decorated with countless valuable gems. It is as peaceful as it is beautiful.

Photo credits:1, 2

1. Wat Rong Khun, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun

The White Temple built in the Chiang Rai province is unlike any of the other temples of Thailand. It is a modern masterpiece built by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a popular artist who dedicated 10 years of his life to this grand project, in the name of Buddha. It is a modern project built almost entirely out of white materials and decorated with small pieces of mirrored glass that make it glitter, especially during the night.

Wat Rong Khun

Wat Rong Khun

Asked about his project, Chalermchai Kositpipat said he intended to build a replica of the magnificent and resplendent heaven. He managed to blend traditional Buddhist elements with modern, contemporary themes and that’s what makes Wat Rong Khun unique. If you‘re ever in Thailand be sure to stop by the White Temple, it is more than worth the time.

Photo credits:1, 2

25 Comments for "The 7 Most Beautiful Temples in Asia"

Micaman says on September 4th, 2008 at 9:22 am:

uau!

Peg says on September 5th, 2008 at 5:51 pm:

Beautiful. To this list I’d have to add Angkor Wat and adjacent Angkor Thom in Cambodia.

Saurabh Chavda says on September 8th, 2008 at 9:05 am:

All the mentioned temples are really great but still I think Newly built Akshardham Temple in New Delhi is also one of the GREAT Temple in the current history. If we can add that temple in the list, the temple list will become more fescinating.

Anna says on September 18th, 2008 at 4:57 am:

Hi, I believe that Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, Tibet’s Potala Palace and Kyoto’s Chion-in Temple can also make the list!

kathleen schuitema says on September 19th, 2008 at 10:19 am:

wow they are all so amazing.

Thai Hotel Expert says on September 27th, 2008 at 9:07 pm:

wow number one from Thailand. Actually i went there last year and i have to say it’s really beautiful. If any of you wanna visit this temple in Chiang Rai I recommend the best time is from Oct. to Feb. because the weather in the north of Thailand is very nice during this time of the year.

The Fitness Diva says on October 6th, 2008 at 5:50 pm:

Those are amazing. Wow!

Alvin says on October 7th, 2008 at 10:37 pm:

How about Templo Central in Quezon City, Philippines?

glenn k says on February 17th, 2009 at 2:14 pm:

Interesting blog, look forward to more.

jalaj yadav says on April 13th, 2009 at 11:49 am:

temple and their short description is really very nice.i really appreciate that

Abby says on September 2nd, 2009 at 1:27 pm:

. ders no Philippines.??

. how dare you. :))

Abby says on September 2nd, 2009 at 1:28 pm:

.. those temples are really nice.!!

..especially in Indonesia and India.!!

Arvind singh says on December 9th, 2009 at 9:51 am:

*These temples are so beautiful

Cindy says on February 7th, 2010 at 7:34 pm:

Wow they are all really nice. I like all of them but i especially like Shwedagon pagoda from myanmar and Wat Rong Khun from thailand

zmah says on November 30th, 2010 at 1:48 pm:

I must go there to take some picture

supriyadi says on August 30th, 2012 at 3:29 pm:

Prambanan temple is the most beautiful temple by originality,natural color of volcanic rock..never been painted,no renovation/never add new material,preserved like the first time built in the 9 th century…
the other temples can be renovated,but prambanan in java indonesia…keep originality.
thank you.

Trackbacks

  1. The 7 Most Beautiful Temples in Asia - Pictures | Maathiyoose
  2. Brendan van Son
  3. Cam & Nicole
  4. Andreas Susana
  5. Kit Bigelow
  6. EuroTravelogue
  7. EuroTravelogue
  8. offbeattravel
  9. Kathrin Bauer

Leave your Comment

Name *

Mail (will not be published) *

Your comment



* denotes a mandatory field