Regardless of one’s religion or beliefs, temples are fascinating structures that envelope mystery, devotion, divinity and culture. Here, in no particular order, let us bring you to top 10 amazing temples from all over the world, from different religions.
Covering 162.6 hectares, Cambodia’s Angkor Wat is the largest religious shrine in the world, and probably the most famous, too. This magnificent structure features over 3000 asparas or heavenly nymphs carved into its walls and astounding bas-reliefs detailed with intricate carvings of mythology and historical events. The complex is surrounded by a moat and has towers that mark every corner.
Borobudur (or Borabudur)
This Mahayana Buddhist temple is the largest Buddhist monument in the world. It was built in the 9th century and is located in Central Java, Indonesia. This gigantic temple has about 55,000m3 of stones. One can read the story of Buddha’s life and his teachings through its bas-reliefs for over 2 miles.
The Hanging Monastery or Hanging Temple
This small temple is in Datong, China. It’s mainly made of wood and is suspended in the air with only thin timbers as support. It’s notable not only for its location (it’s built into a cliff) but it is also because it encompasses three Chinese traditional religions (Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism).
Also called Takstang Palphug Monastery or the Tiger’s Nest, this Himalayan Buddhist temple clings to a cliff in Takstang Trail, Bhutan. Built in 1962 in devotion to Padmasambhava, this temple is only accessible by passing through mountainous paths. The monastery has eight caves, only four are easy to access. Fenced with emerald green mountains, the surroundings are as breathtaking as the temple.
Mahabodhi Vihar Temple
Another Buddhist temple on the list, this temple in Bodh Gaya, India features a 50-meter tall grand temple and the sacred Bodhi tree, among others. It’s believed to be where Prince Siddharta attained enlightenment and became Buddha.
The Abu Simbel Temples
The Abu Simbel Temples are two gigantic rock temples located in Nubia, Egypt built during the reign of Ramesses II. Saved by UNESCO, the complex was relocated in 1968 and now sits on a plateau. The temple’s interior shows engravings of Ramesses and his wife paying homage and making offerings to the gods and his great victory at Kadesh.
Temple of Hephaestus
This temple is located in Athens, Greece overlooking the Agora. What makes it amazing is that after all the years, one can say it’s remarkably preserved. It has sculptures that depict the battle of Thesseus and the Lapiths against the Centaurs, the labours of Hercules, and the fall of Troy. The structure features Pentelic and Parian marble, terracotta roof, wooden ceilings and limestone steps.
The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood
Dedicated to his father, Alexander II, Alexander III manned the construction of this church in 1883. It is located along the Griboedov Canal in St. Petersburg, Russia. It contains more than 7500 m2 of intricate mosaics depicting biblical scenes, which entirely cover the walls and ceilings of the church.
This is actually an ancient Mayan City in Mexico that has pyramids and temples. It’s most notable for El Castillo or the Temple of Kukulkan, which exhibits the Mayan’s expertise on astronomy. It has 365 steps, one step for each day of the year. On the equinox of Spring and Autumn, a shadow in the shape of a serpent falls on the pyramid, which descends and then joins a stone serpent as the sun sets.
This is actually a city, but it’s on the list as it has temples and palaces and was built as a ceremonial site. The Incas exhibited expertise on landscape engineering, as the buildings and terraces of the site are meticulously situated in a steep, mountainous terrain. Surrounded by tropical forests in the eastern slope of the Andes, this site is truly amazing.
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Mish worked as a travel expert, customer service specialist and a communications trainer in the past. After working for eight years straight since she graduated, she decided to give up her corporate job. She now focuses on her 4-year old son, works as a freelance writer and a real estate assistant. She is a sun-worshipper, a water baby, and an earth warrior. And oh, she’s tiny but she is an Olympic-level glutton. Let her bring your tummy around the globe! You can reach her at LinkedIn.