The Most Beautiful Temples in the World
Asia’s cultural heritage is as far and wide as its geography. From Buddhism to Hinduism, Taoism and beyond, Asia’s deep religious traditions vary from country to country, and in some cases, region to region.
Asia-wide temple trail will take the traveler from the Buddhist monasteries of the East to the elaborate Hindu Temples of the Southwest, exploring ancient edifices and contemporary architecture.
Below is a selection of the most beautiful temples in Asia, as follows:
Wat Rong Khun – Chiang Rai, Thailand (pictured above)
One of the most famous temples in the world is Wat Rong Khun is a privately owned temple/art gallery located in Northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai Province.
It underwent extensive renovations in the 1990’s and has since become a center for Buddhist learning and meditation, as well as 1 of Thailand’s most popular tourist attractions.
With white, ice-like details reflected in a still lake, it is not hard to see why this temple stands out above the rest of Thailand’s 33,000+ Buddhist temples.
Taung Kalat Monastery- Mount Popa, Myanmar
Located in Mandalay, Mount Popa is a volcanic peak that sits more than 1,500 meters above sea-level. On the southwestern slope, Taung Kalat is a ‘lava neck’ with sheer cliff-like sides, on top of which you’ll find the dramatically-placed monastery.
This temple requires visitors to scale the 700 steps to the Top, and the view is worth the climb.
Dhammayangyi Temple – Bagan, Myanmar
Just 60 kilometers from Mandalay, Bagan is 1 of the best places in Asia to go Temple-visiting. With more than 2,000 temples spread across the lush countryside, 1 could spend a lifetime in Bagan and still have spots left to explore.
Old Bagan is filled with beautiful holy sites, the Andaman Temple is another favorite, but we think the Top 1 is Dhammayangyi Temple with its ornate mortar-work and tiered rooftop. Not only is it the largest in the region, it is 1 of the most intact, and offers a great views.
Angkor Wat – Siem Riep, Cambodia
Listed as 1 of the 7 Wonders of the World and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat has long topped the lists of adventurous travelers and culturally minded tourists. Apart from being the single largest religious structure in the entire world, the complex is even more unusual to its unique mix of Hindu and Buddhist history. Today it’s Cambodia’s Top tourist attraction, drawing thousands of visitors each year.
Paro Taktsang Monastery – Paro Valley, Bhutan
Known as the Tiger’s Nest, the Paro Taktsang Monastery is high on the edge of a cliff overlooking the stunning Paro Valley. Considered 1 of the most beautiful examples of a Himalayan Buddhist temple, the monastery is made up of 4 separate structures. It is the crowning jewel for this isolated nation, drawing travelers and adventurers with its placement and super views.
It is 1 of the most isolated temples on this list, and it should not be overlooked.
Borobudur – Java, Indonesia
Located in Central Java, this 9th-Century Mahayana Buddhist temple is one of the oldest on this list. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it towers above its surroundings, giving visitors a terrific display.
This temple features 9 towering tiers and is intensely decorated with statues of the serene Buddha and perforated stupas, creating a symmetrical effect. It is 1 of the largest Buddhist temples in the world, and 1 of the most recognizable.
Daigo-ji – Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan, is a city famed for its Imperial palaces, lavish gardens, and fascinating religious sites.
The city teems with temples worth visiting, but Daigo-ji Tops the list. Elegant bridges cross over tranquil streams leading to a pagoda half-hidden by flowering trees. It is a serene location for a Buddhist temple, and the complex has been around since Y 1115. For the most stunning visuals, visit during sakura, the cherry blossom season or Autumn when the Maple leaves turn crimson Red.
The town of Bishnupur in West Bengal is famous for its many Bengali temples, most of which were constructed from terracotta by the Malla Kings.
The histories of these temples is as intriguing, as are the buildings themselves. But, only a few attract tourist attention. The intent traveler can explore the hidden ruins of these intricately carved temples with the help of a local, which is recommend.
Hanging Temple – Shanxi, China
Set into the side of a cliff 75 meters above the floor of the terrain, The Hanging Temple aka Xuánkōng Sì, is 1 of the most dramatic in China. But, getting here is not easy. Beyond its placement, the Hanging Temple is 1 of the only known temples that combines practice and prayer from Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.
Jokhang Temple – Lhasa, Tibet
Perched high on a plateau in the Heart of Tibet’s capital, Jokhang Temple is the symbolic center of spirituality in Lhasa and 1 of the most sacred spaces in Tibet. It’s located just 1 click away from the Potala Palace, the former Dalai Lama’s residence, and now falls under the same UNESCO protection as the Palace itself.
The Jokhang Temple was badly damaged in a fire in February 2018, but repairs are already underway to restore this temple’s beauty.
Have a terrific week.