Places of worship are often imagined and built ambitiously. No matter the religion or the faith, a place of worship always exudes positivity that brings peace of mind. Temples or shrines or sanctuary as we call them are built all across the globe. Some are humble and some magnanimously opulent. But what remains the same everywhere is the devotion that’s beyond limits. Here’s a list of the most beautiful temples of the world that are a must visit for their grandeur, serenity, and magnetism. Read on.
Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Known as one of the best of world famous temples, Angkor wat was originally constructed as a Hindu temple for the Hindu God Vishnu, and is the largest religious monument in the world. Built in the 12th century, this temple is admired throughout the world for its grandeur and the architecture including the various gods adorning its walls. This Hindu temple was during late 12th century converted into a Buddhist temple by king Jayavarman VII. It was never fully abandoned even after his reign and it functioned as a Buddhist temple.
Prambanan temple, Indonesia
A collection of 240 temples in one compound, the Prambanan temple is dedicated to the 3 Hindu gods, Brahma- The Creator, Vishnu – The preserver, and Shiva – The destroyer. A UNESCO world heritage site, this is the largest Hindu temple site in Indonesia. This temple was built in the mid 9th century and a public water project was undertaken to change the course of the river during the construction of the temple. In the 1930’s, the kingdom shifted the court to the east probably because of the eruption of mount merapi volcano. And this temple started to deteriorate thereafter. Most of the stones of the temples were used by locals for other masonry work and many of the original stones are missing. But even after this, the Prambanan temple makes for a spectacular site.
Tirupati Balaji Temple, India
Believed to be built in 300 AD, this beautiful temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Built in Dravidian style, it is the richest temple in the world in terms of daily donations received. This temple is visited by 50 thousand to 1 lakh people every day, while on special occasions this number increases to 5 lakhs. To manage the immense crowd, two queue complexes are built which have rooms where the devotees can sit and wait. The most amazing part of this temple is the dome of the inner sanctum sanctorum which is entirely covered in gold. The credit to this goes to the Vijaynagara empire in the 14th and 15th century.
Temple of Heaven, China
A complex full of religious buildings from the 15th century, the Temple of Heaven is a Taoist temple used by the emperors of Ming and Qing dynasty for their annual prayers to Heaven. The temple complex was built between 1402 and 1420. It was declared a UNESCO world heritage site in 1998. This temple complex is spread in an area of 267 hectares and is surrounded by parks, that consists of game areas, exercise areas and playgrounds for children.
Gawdawpalin temple, Myanmar
Built in the year 1227, this Buddhist temple is a two-story building with three lower terraces and four terraces upper ones. The beautiful temple was damaged heavily during the 1975 earthquake but was later restored close to its original beauty. This temple is built in the gu-style often used for meditation, Buddhist rituals or to conduct devotional Buddhist workshops. A visit to the place is sure to bring you some calm and peace, no matter which faith you belong to.
Borobudur temple, Indonesia
Built in the 9th century, Borobudur is a Mahayana Buddhist temple. Being one of the largest Buddhist temple in the world, Borobudur temple is decorated with 504 statues of Buddha, and 2672 relief panels. This temple has the influence of India so much so that the temple shows Gupta art as well. This temple was abandoned in the 14th century after Javanese conversion to Islam, but was discovered by Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles, the British ruler of Indonesia. He was advised by the native Indonesians about the temple. The Borobudur Temple has seen massive restoration projects after which it was declared a UNESCO Word Heritage Site.
Golden Temple, India
The Golden temple is one of the most famous temples of the world. Built in the year 1577, Harmander Sahib or the Golden temple is the holiest temple of Sikhism and contains the Adi Granth of Sikhs, an equivalent of Bible to Christians. In the 19th century, Maharaja Ranjit Singh secured the Punjab region and covered the upper floors of the temple with gold giving the temple a distinctive appearance. This temple was built as a place of worship for people from all walks of life irrespective of caste creed or religion. For this purpose, the Sufi saint Hazrat Mian Mir was requested to lay the foundation stone. The present day gurudwara was renovated by Jassa Singh Ahluwalia with the help of other Sikhs.
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Mahabodhi temple, India
The Mahabodhi temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is believed to be the place Gautam Buddha attained enlightenment. Located in Bodh Gaya city in the state of Bihar, this temple contains the descendant of the Bodhi tree under which Buddha gained enlightenment. The temple supposedly belongs to an era between 5th and 6th century. As against other temples and structures from its time that were built with stones, the Mahabodhi temple was built with bricks. This temple was renovated heavily during 19th century and the dome was covered in gold in 2013 after the king of Thailand and its citizens gifted it.
The list does not end here. There are many more temples across the world that we want to include and share. While we compile a new list, help us to add more names by telling us about the temples you’ve visited and would want more people to know about it.