Asia. It’s exotic, it’s vibrant, and there is a world of different architecture to discover from the ultra-modern skyscrapers in China to the ancient temples and shrines of Japan. The different styles of temples in Asia come from the many and varied beliefs that originated in this part of the world. Come with us on a tour of our Top 10 Most Famous Temples in Asia.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
The Temple of Angkor Wat surely must feature on every list of top 10 temples in Asia. Known around the world for its unique cone-like domes and sheer size, the temple has been continuously used as a place of worship since its inception. Originally the domain of the Hindus, the temple is now a spiritual homeland for those of the Buddhist faith in Cambodia and is one of the most photographed places of worship on the planet. If you get the opportunity to visit this UNESCO world heritage site you will not be disappointed as you tour all the nooks and crannies in this 12th-century marvel.
The Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji, Japan
This beautiful temple in Kyoto is a reconstruction of the 14th-century original that unfortunately was torched by a deranged monk in the 1950s. Now a Zen Temple, the upper floors are entirely covered in gold. Each level is constructed in a different architectural style and was designed for Yoshimitsu as a leisure home until his death when the building was converted to a Zen temple as per his request. The Golden Pavilion is one of Japan’s greatest sights and a designated world heritage site. Those who visit are awed by not only the spectacular gold façade but also the pleasant gardens that surround the temple.
The Temple of Heaven, China
The Taoist Temple of Heaven is a splendid sight in amongst the hustle, bustle and bright lights of modern Beijing. A world heritage site situated on a huge complex, the Temple of Heaven was a place where emperors prayed and where modern-day Beijing citizens come to stroll and exercise in the early morning. The stunning circular building makes for great photographs and the surrounding parks on the complex are an excellent spot for people watching. Built during the Ming Dynasty for Zhu Di, this is an absolute must-see when you are in Beijing.
Lotus Temple , India
Amongst our list of ancient temples steeped in history is an anomaly – the modern Baha’i House of Worship in India, also known as the Lotus Temple due to its lotus flower shape. 27 marble shapes make up the structure and make for a very interesting architectural design. Built – like many other Baha’i and other ancient structures – out of marble imported from Greece, the Lotus Temple is one of the most visited sites in India if not Asia.
Wat Rong Khun Temple, Thailand
Another modern Temple on our list is the Wat Rong Khun in Thailand. Although not fully completed (construction on the complex is estimated to be finished only in 2050). Known by others as the White Temple, Wat Rong Khun is actually a reconstruction of the ruined original temple by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. Chalermchai has used his own money to build this masterpiece and hopes that the building will become a place where locals and foreigners alike pay tribute to the Buddha. Whilst construction is currently still underway the site and surrounds are currently open for visitors who come from miles around to marvel at the white structures that are offset by the landscape.
Paro Taktsang Temple, Bhutan
Bhutan’s Taktsang monastery is precariously located on a cliff face, nestling into any available space. A visit to this beautifully reconstructed place of worship is not for the faint hearted – a long three-hour hike up the cliff edge is the only way to reach the Taktsang Dzong – but you will be well rewarded when you arrive by the stunning building that awaits you. With views over the Paro valley, this Buddhist temple is often the highlight of any trip to Bhutan.
Gawdawpalin Temple, Myanmar
Another Buddhist temple on the list, Gawdawpalin Temple in Myanmar is a must-see if you have the chance to visit. Finished in the 13th century the temple is a popular spot amongst locals and tourists alike. Striking against the more modest buildings surrounding it in Bagan, the temple is the second tallest in the region and features lots of interesting historical artifacts that are of significant interest to those visiting.
Ranakpur Temple, India
Composed of nearly 1500 marble columns, the Jain temple of Ranakpur has been painstakingly crafted by hand, with each column completely different from the next. If that is not enough reason to visit this amazing temple, then perhaps the statues will intrigue as you try to work out how on earth they were carved back in the 15th Century.
The Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib, India
This stunning golden Sikh temple is a place to visit for both local Sikhs and tourists from miles around. The original temple, constructed in the 16th century had a 19th-century facelift when the maharaja decorated the top floors in gold, giving the temple its unique and luxurious finish.
Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam, India
Our favorite temple on this list for the mish-mash of colors, Sri Ranganathaswamy is a feast for the eyes and the camera. Located in India, this stunning multi-colored Hindu temple is an absolute must-see for anyone visiting southern India. The intricately carved icons tell different stories from Hindu history and make for excellent photo opportunities.
We hope you like our list of Top 10 different temples around the world and hope you will get the chance to visit one of them on your next trip. Let us know how you get on!