Asia is sometimes referred to as the land of 10,000 temples because of its inordinate number of temples. Asia has many shrines than any other continent on the planet because it is the native land of the majority of mainstream religions in the world. What is even more fascinating about these religious structures is that each has a breathtaking architecture than the last, whether is modern or ancient. Many visitors from around the world come to Asia to admire the gilded temples and learn about their histories. Though there are literally thousands of temples in Asia, we are going to share with your 12 most popular ones.
The Angkor Wat, Cambodia
Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Angkor Wat and Siem Reap is arguably the most popular temple in the world. It is a national symbol of Cambodia and the most visited site in the country.
The temple is believed to have been constructed back in the 12th century to represent Mount Meru, the five-peaked Hindu mountain before it was later converted into a Buddhist temple.
Situated in the site of the former largest metropolis on earth, the Angkor Temple is believed to be the largest religious building on the planet.
It covers an estimated area of about 400 square kilometers and comprises small gilded temples in a different stage of decomposition.
Ta Phrom, a temple used in Tomb Raider is also in Angkor.
Another World Heritage site, the Borobudur Temple is located on the Java Islands, northwest of Yogyakarta. This Buddhist temple is the largest in Indonesia and was completed between the 8th and 9th centuries during the era of Sailendra Kingdom.
It took a whopping 75 years and more than 2 million stone blocks to build the temple, and after being in use for many centuries, it was abandoned.
It was discovered in 1814 amidst jungle and deposits of volcanic ash.
Harmandir Sahib, India
Also known as the Golden Temple, Harmandir Sahib is located in the Indian state of Punjab. The temple was completed in 1589 while Adi Granth was added in 1604. Its construction was initiated by Guru Ramdas Ji and was completed by Guru Arjan.
Its centerpiece, the gilded façade, was added in the 19th century by Maharaja Ranjit Singh, who also gave it the name Golden Temple.
Baalbek is also a World Heritage Site. This ancient city was founded by the Phoenicians, who erected a giant temple for the god of Baal.
But when the Romans came, the temple was transformed and dedicated to the god of Venus and when Islam invaded the city in the 637 AD, they added a Mosque on the site.
The Romans built two additional temples, Venus and Bacchus.
The decline of the temple began during the era of the Ottoman Empire and it was subsequently abandoned.
Yellow Crane, China
The Yellow Crane Temple is located in the city of Wuhan in Hubei Province. Dubbed one of the most stunning temples in Asia, this Buddhist shrine played an important role in the history of Chinese art.
The first part of the temple was completed in 233 AD but over the years the structure has been destroyed and rebuilt on different occasions.
Besakih Temple, Indonesia
Located on the island of Bali, the Besakih Temple is one of the most popular temples in Indonesia.
Bali is locally known as the island of One Thousand Temples and Islands of the Gods because almost every house on the island has at least one temple. Despite the high Muslim population, Bali still has thousands of Hindu temples within its borders, and the most standout of all the temples is the Besakih. It is the oldest and largest temple on the island.
The complex features more than 80 temples that somehow avoided destruction from the volcano eruption from Gunung Agung.
Lotus Temple, India
The Lotus Temple is consists of nine groups of three marble-covered petals that form a lotus shape. It was opened to the public in 1986 and today is one of the top tourist attractions in New Delhi.
Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Shwedagon Pagoda temple is one of the greatest stories in Myanmar, especially considering it has survived a lot of adversity over the years including fires, extreme weather, and wars. The country is also known for having the largest number of temples in Southeast Asia.
The temple of Shwedagon is found in Rangoon and is considered one of the most striking Buddhist temples in the whole of Asia.
Having been completed in 1387, its top dome is made of 700 kilograms of gold
Wat Pho, Bangkok
Bangkok is not new to travelers. It was the most visited city in the world in 2019 and was on course to retain that title again in 2020, and it is not hard to see why tourists love coming to this city.
Also known as Wat Phra Chetuphon, the Wat Pho is the oldest and largest temple in Thailand. It was built in the 16th century and later rebuilt in the late 1700s. However, its stunning design was added in the 1830s by Rama III who also included traditional massage and medicine salons at the premises.
Taktsang Monastery or as it is popularly known, Tiger’s Nest, is the holiest place in Bhutan and one of the most visited sites in the country. Set on the edge of a 3,000 feet overhang, the temple unofficial national symbol of Bhutan and one of popular World Heritage Sites in Asia.
Temple of Heaven, China
Visiting the Temple of Heaven is one of the best things to do in China. Located in the capital, Beijing, the temple is widely regarded Taoist even though regards indicates the temple was built between 1402 and 1420, earlier than the emergency of Taoism.
The temple was constructed in the same era as the Forbidden City.
Potala Palace, Tibet
Found in Lhasa, Tibet, Potala Palace is the highest ancient palace on earth and the main residence of the Dalai Lama. The sanctuary was constructed atop Red Mountain at a height of 3,700 meters.