There are many religions in the world and most of them build temples. Almost every fourth person in the world professes one of the eastern religions. It is about Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism or Hinduism. But how much all these religions differ from one another, so the temples in which people worship their Gods, are diversified in their architecture.
Some are ancient ruins, others are quite modern. As a result, there are hundreds or even thousands of amazing temples in the world. We will tell only about the most amazing and famous of them. To visit Asia and not to visit one of them is a real sacrilege for the traveler.
Monastery Nest of the Tiger.
This monastery is high in the mountains at the very edge of the cliff. The altitudes above sea level here are 3120 meters, and above the Paro Valley the monastery is metered for 700 meters. This place is one of the saints in Bhutan. According to the legend of Guru Rinpoche, for his contribution, the revered, like the second Buddha, flew here on the back of the tiger. After this, the saint meditated in the cave, which is still behind the monastery walls. The monastery The Tiger’s Nest was built in 1692, but after a fire in 1998 it underwent considerable reconstruction. The government of the country knows how important this place is for believers, therefore, on the basis of archival documents, it did everything to preserve the church in its original form. But only practicing Buddhists can get here, but for ordinary tourists a special permit is required. The trip to the temple itself can be done on the back of the mule, while beautiful views will open and unity with nature will be felt. Wat-Rong-kun’s
This Thai temple is considered by many to be the most beautiful building in the world. In any case, it is significantly different from any Buddhist structures in the world. The whole temple is white and very richly decorated with gilded elements. Mosaic mirrors on the patterns create a magical shine around. The temple stands out with its alabaster patterns, as if the palace of the Snow Queen, executed in the oriental style. This building appeared thanks to the famous Thai artist Chalemchay Kositpipata. He came up with all the architecture, and numerous statues. Each of them carries a certain meaning. This temple is quite young, it began to be built in a modern style in 1998. There is also a gallery in it, representing the paintings of the Kositpipata. It is curious, but the architect builds a temple exclusively at his own expense, so as not to depend on the wishes of the sponsors. As a result, the artist has already invested several million dollars in Wat-Rong-Kung.
This Hindu temple complex is located in the central part of the island of Java, Indonesia. It was built here in 856 AD, but almost immediately after the work on it began to crumble. But the real reconstruction began here only in 1918. Although officially the restoration works were completed in 1953, restorers are still working here. The complex includes three huge temples dedicated to Shiva, Vishnu and Brahma. In the center of each structure is the figure of the corresponding deity. There are less significant temples here, they are meant for other sacred and sacred animals, on which the deities moved. Almost all the walls of stone buildings are covered with relief drawings that tell stories of the deeds of the gods, stories from the Ramayana and other legends. The temple, although not the largest in the country, but notable for its beauty, grace and rich history. In 1951, Prambanan was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
About the time of the construction of this pagoda in Myanmar is not exactly known. Legends say that it is already 2,5 thousand years old. But archaeologists believe that the temple was built between the 6th and 10th centuries. Usually when people say a golden temple, they mean its golden color. But in the case of the Shwedagon Pagoda, the word “golden” must be understood in the literal sense. In the 15th century, Queen Mon donated precious metal to cover the temple.This tradition has survived to this day – pilgrims buy small sheets of gold to glue the walls of the pagoda. As if that was not enough, the spire of the dome is covered with 5 thousand diamonds and 2 thousand rubies. At the very top there is even one stone in 76 carats. Here are revered Buddhist relics – the staff of Kakusandhi, the water filter of Kanagamana, a scrap of Kassala tunic and, most importantly, the eight hair of Gautama himself. Not surprisingly, the 98-meter stupa was constantly becoming the object of claims of foreign invaders. In 1608, the Portuguese plundered the temple and stole a 300-ton bell decorated with jewels. In 1823, the other tried to take out another bell from here the British. The pagoda is a real Mecca for tourists from all over the world, especially beautiful it looks at sunset.
Temple of Heaven.
This temple-monastery complex is located in Beijing. It stands out here the only round in the city temple – the Temple of the Harvest or the Temple of Heaven. He is the main one in the whole complex. The entire structure was built here in 1420 by Emperor Yongle of the Ming dynasty. It was assumed that the building would become the personal temple of the ruler, where he would pray for a good harvest and for the redemption of the sins of his people. Since 1530, the temple began to perform the functions of worshiping the sky. An unusual building southeast of the emperor’s palaces is located. Its form is connected with the fact that the circle symbolizes in China exactly the sky. However, there was once worship in the temple and the earth, which is why there are also square elements. Almost 5 centuries annually on the day of the winter solstice, the emperors of the country came here, extolling the gifts of the air element. The master begged the wind, rain, cold and heat, so that they would arrive on time. And this object is included in the UNESCO world heritage, besides being one more symbol of the city.
Temple of Chion.
This temple was built in 1234 by the Yodo sect in honor of its founder, monk Honen. He taught that worshiping the Buddhist god Amide and being loyal to him, one can get to the Pure Land, that is, to paradise. In the place of dwelling and service of the monk, his death, and the church was erected. In the complex there were 21 buildings, ranging from public dining rooms to closed temples. However, time destroyed almost all of them, fires and earthquakes led to the fact that the oldest surviving houses belong to the 1630s. But this does not prevent to appreciate all the beauty and elegance of Japanese architecture. You can enter the temple through a huge two-story gate, then the path goes along a steep staircase. The gate of San Mon, built as far back as 1619, is the largest in Japan, entering the list of National Treasures. The pride of the temple is its bell. It weighs as much as 74 tons, to achieve its sound, 17 monks beat it at once. The Chionin bell is also the largest in the country. An interesting feature of the temple is the “singing” sex. When an uninvited guest enters the room, the plates begin to creak. So the monks learned about the visitors. Inside the temple there is a statue of that very monk Honen. It was in Chionin that the famous film “The Last Samurai” was filmed. Visitors can see not all the buildings inside the complex, the entrance fee is 400 yen.
This complex was built in the 8th-9th centuries by the rulers of Java from the Silendra dynasty. The name of the complex is translated as “a Buddhist temple on the mountain.” In the XIX century, the Dutch invaders of the island discovered deep in the jungle the massive ancient ruins of the temple. The complex was built of 55 thousand cubic meters of stones. The temple contains about 2700 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. Perhaps the creators wanted to repeat the outwardly legendary Mount Meru, on top of which, according to the legends, the whole world rests. Construction lasted for 75 years, and it involved a lot of workers. But only two hundred years later the complex was abandoned. It remains unclear why people left the temple in their time.The reason may have been the volcanic eruption and the shift of the center of the Javanese civilization to safer lands. The temple could symbolize the lotus located on the lake and in which the Buddha is. Especially in those places in those days there was a water surface. Today some experts believe that Borobudur is a huge textbook of Buddhism. After all, the bas-reliefs tell the main landmarks of the life of the deity and the principles of its teaching. To read all the pictures the pilgrim must climb through nine platforms and cover a distance of 2 miles. If you look at Borobudur from above, it is a huge geometric symbol, which means “universe.” The first restoration of the complex began in 1907, it gave him a solemn and imposing appearance.
This main temple of the Sikh religion is located in the city of Amritsar, in the Indian Punjab. Built it in 1589. Since 1604, it contains the original of the holy book “Adi Granth”, written by Guru Arjan. For the Sikhs, the temple is a symbol of their freedom and spiritual independence. The building is located on the shore of a small lake. They say that it was so quiet that the Buddha himself came here to meditate. Later on the shore of the lake there was a complex and a whole city. The temple itself is decorated inside with marble sculptures, they are gilded with gold and covered with precious stones. The main part of the temple is in the middle of the lake, you can walk to it on a narrow marble bridge. It symbolizes the path that people overcome from the sinner to the righteous. Every year on the first September, Sikhs from all over the world come to the temple. The Golden Temple got its name thanks to the covering of gold-plated copper in 1761. Since then, many times he tried to rob and destroy, but the believers each time restored their shrine. In 1984, militants settled in the temple, a military operation against them led to the death of 492 civilians. Although this place and saw a lot of blood, it is now open to tourists, closing only a small night interval.
Temple of Ranganath in Srirangam.
This Hindu temple is dedicated to Ranganatha, one of the forms of Vishnu. This is the largest religious building in the country. Also the temple is the largest operating Hindu in the world. It is located on an area of 63 hectares. According to the legend, one sage once carried the statue of Vishnu and decided to rest by putting it on the ground. Under the statue was a large snake. But when the man decided to continue his journey, he discovered that the statue can no longer be raised. Then a small temple was built on this place. Over the centuries, it grew and expanded. Now the complex is surrounded by seven rows of walls. Their total length is 10 kilometers. On the walls there are 21 square towers of different heights. The tallest of them has 15 floors and a height of 60 meters. The pride of the temple is the “Hall of Thousand Columns.” In fact, there are 953. Only believers can enter the central sanctuary, the main deity is there. Also in the complex there are several less significant sanctuaries with other forms of Vishnu. With this temple is connected the famous diamond “Orlov”. After all, once he was located in the temple, performing the role of the eye of the deity.
This temple is the largest in history, it is described in many novels and is featured in several Hollywood films. The complex was built at the beginning of the 12th century on the territory of present-day Cambodia. It was the first Hindu temple dedicated to Vishnu. And in the 14th-15th centuries Buddhism came to these lands, the church began to serve the new faith. Today, it is possible to find traces of both religions. Once the complex was part of the ancient capital of the Khmer, the city of Angkor. It occupied an area of 200 km2, and lived here up to half a million people. The Western world first heard about Angkor Wat in the 16th century, when a Portuguese monk visited here.He wrote: “This rather extraordinary construction can not be described in words, including because other such buildings in the world simply do not exist. In the complex there are such towers and ornaments that only the human genius can create. ” These words are largely true today. The complex was finally opened by the French in 1861. Since 1992, the structure of Angkor is under the protection of UNESCO. From the point of view of architecture, the temple unites the typologies of the temple-mountains and galleries. Angkor Wat consists of three rectangular buildings, whose height to the center increases. The perimeter is surrounded by a watery moat. Its width is 190 meters, and the total length is 3.6 kilometers. Inside the structure are five towers in the form of a lotus. To climb here, you need to overcome a fairly steep staircase. Handrails or other means of security are simply absent. But only from the top you can contemplate all the magnificence of the forms, seasoned with skilful carving.
Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple.
At the top of the Red Mountain in Lhasa, China, this complex was built in 637 by the first emperor of Tibet. He did not carry religious functions, being only the palace of the ruler. The construction lasted 200 years, and was destroyed by wars. In the middle of the 17th century, the fifth Dalai Lama decided to rebuild the Potala Palace at an altitude of 3,700 meters. For three years, the main building – the White Palace – was erected, and the Red Palace later appeared. For a long time, the Dalai Lama lived here, until the present one was forced to leave Tibet after the Chinese invasion in 1959. Now here is the state museum.
Temple of Jokang
is the spiritual center of Lhasa. This is the most important and sacred place in all of Tibet. The temple was built in 642, today the original ancient layout was preserved, despite many changes. Today, the temple houses more than 20 pavilions, whose area exceeds 25 thousand square meters. The most important four-story pavilion was erected in the center of the monastery. It is in it that the bronze statue of the Buddha is kept. To reach the temple of Jokhang in the city of Lhasa there are three concentric paths. Walking along them, many prostrate themselves to receive spiritual enlightenment in this holy place.
Let Varanasi not be a temple, but this Hindu holy city is often called a “city of temples”. It is located on the banks of the Ganges River, and at almost every intersection there is a church. Every year, Varanasi is visited by millions of pilgrims. After all, the city is sacred also for Buddhists, and for Jains. One-third of the city’s population is Muslim, so Islam is revered here. Even Christianity found a place here – the colonial past of India makes itself felt.
Keck Lok Si.
This temple is the largest in southeast Asia, it is located in Malaysia on the island of Penang. The very name of this complex is literally translated, as “Temple of the highest happiness”. Construction began in 1893, and ended only in 1930, the erection of the Pagoda Rama Six. The tower of a height of thirty meters connected the traditions of Thai, Burmese and Chinese architecture. The base has eight corners, as is customary in China, the middle is traditional for the Thais, and the top is made according to the traditions of Burma. Inside the building itself is a lot of Buddha statues, which were specially collected around the world. Impressive and a statue of the Goddess of Mercy Kuan Yin, as well as the tortoiseshells located here. These animals live in abundance in the ponds nearby to the temple. Tortoises are a symbol of longevity. Tourists are allowed to feed these animals living near the cult church.
Temple of Mahabodhi.
This famous temple is in the very place where, according to the legend, inspiration descended on Gautama, and he became a Buddha. It is believed that for the first time the church on this site was built 2,200 years ago, during the Kushan kingdom in the I century it was rebuilt. With the decline of Buddhism in India, the temple was abandoned and decayed.Only thanks to the English in the XIX century was carried out the reconstruction of this holy place. Near the temple is the holy tree of Bodhi, under which Gautama was located for meditation. It died many times, but it was grown every time from the seed of its predecessor. The temple is made in the form of a pyramid 50 meters high. There are a lot of columns and ornaments here, which form its unique appearance. Since 2002, the temple is a UNESCO protected object.
Monastery of Shaolin.
There are a lot of legends about this monastery, as well as about the novices inhabiting it. The Buddhist temple complex is located in central China on Songshan Mountain. Shaolin was founded in 495 by an Indian monk Bhadra. In 530, Bodhidharma, the patriarch of Ch’an Buddhism, stayed here. It was he who gave the monks new methods of practice, meditation and maintaining health. In 620, 13 Shaolin people helped Li Shiminu save his throne. As a reward for this, the monastery was given the right to maintain its own army. Since then, Shaolin is a center of martial arts known all over China. In 1928, the monastery was destroyed, but after half a century, thanks to mass culture and cinema, it was rebuilt and expanded. The temple complex itself is quite beautiful, but it is interesting because of its extraordinary and famous history.