A temple or a Mandir houses the idol of the deity within a larger building. This space is reserved typically for all sorts of spiritual and religious practices. Varying religious faiths such as Jainism, Sikhism, Buddhism, Hinduism etc., have named their place of religion in their way. Some commonly known places of worship are temples, mosques, churches and many more. The word temple comes from ancient Rome which means a ‘sacred precinct’. Spanning the globe, this is a list of few temples that have attracted visitors from all around the world. These architectural masterpieces are worth appreciating.
1. TANAH LOT TEMPLE, BALI
The temple is located on the island of Bali, in Indonesia. This is one of the famous Hindu temples and in ancient dictionaries, it means – “Land in the Sea”. This pious religious destination is an extremely sacred venture for Balinese Hindus. Because of the scenic beauty, today this temple has become a widely known tourist attraction.
2. MEENAKSHI TEMPLE, MADURAI
Madurai is a well-known city in south India. This temple is popularly known as the Meenakshi Amman Temple which worships the avatar of goddess Parvathi and Sundareshwar called Meenakshi. At the entrance of the temple complex, there lies a welcome gateway. Each gateway comprises 14 colourful gateways and is called a Gopuram.
3. ANGKOR WAT, CAMBODIA
Angkor Wat is known to be the largest temple complex in the world that spreads over 400 acres. The historical background of this religious complex tells that this was built by ancient Hindu rulers in the 12th century. After a few centuries, this temple transformed into a Buddhist temple. Because-of its architectural beauty, this temple holds significant importance in pop culture. Various movies and documentaries have featured this recognizable monument
4. AKSHARDHAM TEMPLE, NEW DELHI
Akshardham Swaminarayan temple is one of the youngest temples on my list. The construction of this temple was completed in 2005 in New Delhi. The Swaminarayan sect of Hinduism held this spiritual and cultural movement and established 3 such temples around the world. Red sandstone was beautifully used for the construction of this temple complex. Intricate carvings and sculpting with minute details have been worked on in its interiors and exteriors.
5. THE TEMPLE OF CHICHEN ITZA, MEXICO
The temple of Chichen Itza is a well-known archaeological site located in Mexico. Out of the few remaining Mayan Temples, this one is a fabulous temple and also the most visited temples. The most amazing fact about this heritage is that all four sides of a pyramid climb a total of 91 steps including the top step. The cumulative addition of the steps on four sides adds up to 365 steps. This signifies one step for each day of the calendar.
6. THE TEMPLE OF HEAVEN, BEIJING
The Temple of Heaven is built in the capital of China that is Beijing. The emperor who built the forbidden city near Beijing also built this temple in the 15th century. The mythological stories related to this temple tell us that the past kings and rulers came to visit this temple and prayed for a good harvest. This is a Taoist temple that has an outstanding architectural design. 20 years ago, it was also recognized as a UNESCO heritage site.
7. BOROBUDUR TEMPLE, INDONESIA
At Central Java in Indonesia, lies the massive Borobudur Temple Complex. It comprises over 2500 Buddha statues. UNESCO played an important role in restoring this ancient site of Borobudur to its former glory. The first set of construction started in the 9th century. However, the construction was halted as some Javanese people transformed their fate into Islam which resulted in the decline of the Hindu Empire.
8. GOLDEN TEMPLE, AMRITSAR
The Golden Temple located in Amritsar is the holiest temple of Sikhism. This Gurudwara is a pilgrimage built around 450 years ago on the banks of a man-made pool also called Sarovar. The Centre of authority or the Akal Takht is housed in this temple premise for all the people following Sikhism.
9. ABU SIMBEL, EGYPT
Egyptian civilization is one of the oldest known civilizations that ever existed in the prehistoric era. Its ancient history has always been a fascinating venture for people all around the world. One of the fragments of this exciting venture was the amazing rock temples of Abu Simbel. This was constructed around 3300 years ago. Out of all the temples listed in the list, this is the oldest temple.
10. KASHI VISHWANATH TEMPLE, VARANASI
Varanasi is the holiest city in India. River Ganga flows through the city. On the western banks of this pious river, lies the Kashi Vishwanath Temple. This is one of the most famous Hindu temples in the world. The religious complex is also a sacred site because it is also one of the 12 jyotirlingas all over India. Jyotirlinga has been there since ancient times but the modern structure of the temple was built in 1780.
11. RANAKPUR JAIN TEMPLE, PALI
This temple is denoted as one of the holiest Jain pilgrimage sites. It houses 24 pillared halls and 1444 columns. All the architectural elements are hand-carved in amber stone. Each pillar tells the viewer a different story with peculiar creatures and intricate etching of Indian motifs.
12. WOT RAUNG KHUN, THAILAND
This temple is built on the ruins of a Buddhist temple. The white colour signifies purity and this temple also doubles as an eccentric art piece. The interiors of this temple have a good set of colours used in terms of murals. These also depict some popular fictional characters like Spider-Man and hello kitty.
13. SHWEDAGON PAGODA IN YANGON, MYANMAR
Shwedagon Pagoda is the oldest Buddhist pagoda or temple in the world. The exteriors of this pagoda blissfully shine in the sunlight. The pagoda has survived various natural disasters and political occupation but it stands upright spreading its magnificent aura.
14. MAN MO TEMPLE, HONGKONG
As mentioned on the bell in the temple hall, the construction of this temple started around 1847. This temple honours the god of literature and the god of war. It has uncountable red wishes hanging down from the ceiling. The footfall to this temple is impressively high and the temple is visited a lot by its local worshippers.
15. THE TEMPLE OF HEPHAESTUS IN ATHENS, GREECCE
The temple of Hephaestus is named after the ancient god of fire. This temple looms over the agora in Athens and is specially dedicated to Hephaestus and his sister Athena who is the goddess of wisdom and war. In 479 BC during the battle of the plateau, the temple was destroyed by the Persians. The Greeks had sworn to never restore and destroyed or harmed religious structures and leave them as the sole entity in remembrance of the wars.