Some of the most iconic monuments of the world are amazing temples that have become synonymous with the particular region they belong to. Over the years, such places of worship have gone on from being just a world famous temple to a revered tourist attraction for those travelers who seek to see and experience different cultures around the world.
20 temples to visit once in your lifetime
Spread out all across the globe, these temples have redefined travel and brought home visitors from distant lands with a sole purpose of admiring its architectural beauty.
1. Tanah Lot Temple, Bali
Located on the Indonesian island of Bali, Tanah Lot or “Land in the sea” is one of the famous ancient Hindu temples around the world perched on the top of a rock formation that is a sacred religious site for Balinese Hindus. Thanks to its picturesque location, over the time, this temple has now become a major attraction in the bustling tourist hotspot of Bali.
2. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai
Located in the Southern Indian city of Madurai, Meenakshi Amman is Temple dedicated to Meenakshi, an avatar of Goddess Parvati and Sundareshwar, an avatar of Lord Shiva. The temple is famous for its 14 colorful gateways or Gopurams that are located all around the temple complex.
3. Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A temple complex that spreads over 400 acres, Angkor Wat is regarded as the biggest temple in the world. Formed in the early 12th century by the Hindu rulers, Angkor Wat gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple after a few centuries.
The temple complex has now become a significant part of pop culture and is one of the most recognizable monuments in the world after being featured in many movies and documentaries.
4. Akshardham Temple, New Delhi
The youngest temple on this list, Akshardham Swaminarayan Temple was built in 2005 in New Delhi. As a part of a cultural and spiritual movement in the Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism, this temple was one of the 3 temples established around the world for the same spiritual motives.
The temple is famous for its red sandstone carvings and intricate detail work done on its interior and exterior walls.
5. The Temple Of Chichen Itza, Mexico
Located at the archaeological site of the ancient city of Chichen Itza, this temple is considered as one of the most fantastic and most visited Mayan temples remaining. One of the amazing facts about the construction of Chichen Itza is that each side of this pyramid has 91 steps combined with the step at the top to make 365 steps (each step for one day of the calendar year).
6. Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Also known as the Golden Pagoda, Shwedagon is a gilded stupa located in the ancient city of Yangon, Myanmar. This temple is considered to be the most sacred Buddhist site in Myanmar as it is said to contain the remains of the four previous Buddhas.
7. Tiger’s Nest Monastery, Bhutan
A temple from the happiest country in the world should come as no surprise. This is world famous temple is one of the most sacred Buddhist places of worship or pilgrimage in the Himalayan mountains. Also known as the Paro Taktsang- the monastery was built 300 years ago as a place of meditation and introspection.
8. Wat Rong Khun, Thailand
Also known to travelers as the white temple, Wat Rong Khun is a temple located in the north of Thailand in Chiang Rai. The temple was originally built hundreds of year ago, but after viewing its deteriorating condition, it was redesigned and renovated in 1997.
Today, its outstanding structure, striking design, and vivacious colors attract millions of tourists every year from all around the world.
9. Temple of Heaven, Beijing
Built in the capital of China, the temple was built in the early 15th century by the same emperor who built the Forbidden City near Beijing. The temple is said to have past kings of China visit its premises to pray for good harvest. With its outstanding architectural design, this Taoist temple was recognized as a UNESCO heritage site 20 years ago.
10. Abu Simbel, Egypt
The ancient history of the Egyptian civilization has fascinated people all around the world. One such fragment of their history was the amazing rock temples of Abu Simbel. Constructed almost 3300 years ago, this temple is probably the oldest constructed temple on this list.
11. Lotus Temple, New Delhi
A temple dedicated to the Baha’i faith worshippers, Lotus Temple was constructed 32 years ago with the motive of promoting world peace, harmony, and tolerance towards all religions. The faith leaders presiding over the temple promote meditation as a medium of finding inner peace and living a better life.
12. Cao Dai Temple, Vietnam
Located just a couple of hours south of Ho Chi Minh Vietnam, lies the city of Tay Ninh- the home to the Cao Dai Temple. Constructed by the followers of Caodaism in 1955, this temple is a brilliant mixture of colors on an oriental style church of worship.
13. Kotoku-In Temple, Tokyo
A temple constructed in the Kamakura city of Japan, Kotuku-In is one of the most sacred sites of Buddhism in Japan. A bronze statue of Buddha is constructed in its courtyard, which is one of the most recognized icons/monuments of Japan throughout the world.
14. Temple of the Tooth, Sri Lanka
Located in the predominantly Buddhist city of Kandy in Sri Lanka, Temple of the Tooth or the ‘Tooth Relic Temple’ is the most important Buddhist shrine in Sri Lanka. The temple is believed to house the relic of Lord Buddha’s tooth.
15. Borobudur Temple, Indonesia
The Borobudur temple complex located in central Java in Indonesia. It contains over 2500 and 500 Buddha statues. With the help of UNESCO, the ancient site of Borobudur was restored to its former glory. The initial construction on the temple complex began as far back as the 9th century and it was halted by 14th century due to the conversion of Javanese people to Islam and the fall of the Hindu empire.
16. Golden Temple, India
Considered as the holiest pilgrimage site of Sikhism in the world, Golden Temple (Gurudwara) was built around 450 years ago alongside a man-made pool (Sarovar) in the city of Amritsar. The temple also houses the Akal Takht (center of authority) regarding all people involved in the Sikhism religion.
17. Jokhang Temple, Tibet
Another one of the Buddhist temples, which also happens to be the spiritual center of Tibet, is Jokhang Temple in the capital city of Lhasa. Jokhang, which translates into ‘House of Buddha’, is UNESCO world heritage site that has been at the forefront of the growth of Buddhism and its influence in the Indochina region.
18. Wat Pho, Bangkok
Wat Pho, or also known as the “temple of the reclining Buddha”, is a Buddhist shrine located in the city of Bangkok, Thailand. The temple complex contains marvelously constructed small stupas and a 46m reclining statue of Buddha. The temple is one of the oldest temples constructed in Bangkok, made even before the capital of Thailand was moved there.
19. Boudhanath Temple, Kathmandu
Another entry in the list of Buddhist temples to visit once in your lifetime is the charismatic Boudhanath Temple in Kathmandu. It is the largest Buddhist stupa in Nepal and the holiest Tibetan Buddhist site outside Tibet.
20. Kashi Vishwanath Temple, Varanasi
Built in the holiest city of India on the western banks of the River Ganga, Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the famous Hindu temples in the world. It is a sacred site also because of it being one of the twelve jyotirlingas across India. The modern structure of the temple was built in 1780, whereas the jyotirlinga is believed to be there since ancient times.