Do you get the feeling that you were born just yesterday and you have no idea where all the time went by? Exactly! That’s how mechanical and busy life has become for humans on the planet. Temples stop time, at least these famous ones listed below will. Beautifully sculptured walls, sometimes set high atop a mountain, or shrouded by a rich verdure of lush green flora, and at times silhouetted by cascading fresh waters of a waterfall or lake, temples give you a magnanimous feeling of happiness and harmony.
Different religions have different themes in temples- some large domes, some huge statues of Buddha adorning the walls, or huge rotating cylinders beautifully adorned with gems and other rare shiny stones. Here are the top 10 most famous temples in the world in 2018.
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10. Wat Rong Khun
This majestic modern temple is a token of Buddhism and is located in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The temple is famously known as the White Temple. This masterwork had been designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat. The temple is still under construction and it is believed that the temple is not yet completed, there is still 90 years’ worth of work left. It is a masterpiece to behold as the spectacularly all-white structure stands in all its seraphic grandeur. The distinctly contemporary style of the structure is gilded in mosaic mirrors that shine almost magically giving the entire place a touch of paradise-on-Earth!
9. Shwedagon Pagoda
The Shwedagon Pagoda is a temple dedicated to Buddhism. It is located in Yangon, Myanmar. The Pagoda rises to a magnificent height of 98 meters. It is the most sacred temple of Buddhism in Myanmar. The place is famous for its memoirs of the four Buddhas- relics preserved for generations. These souvenirs include the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Konagamana, a small portion of Kassapa’s robe, and 8 strands of hair from Gautama’s head.
The temple is literally covered in Gold, courtesy of a queen of the Mon who donated the same amount of Gold as her weight to the temple. The spire of the temple’s dome has 5000 diamonds and 2000 rubies. The 76 karat diamond at the very tip of the dome’s top commands a majestic sophistication that draws tourists in all around the year.
8. Sri Ranganathaswamy
A Hindu worship place, Sri Ranganathaswamy is an Indian temple devoted to Lord Vishnu. It is located in Srirangam, India. The building has been designed in the Dravidian style that characterises the typical colorful buildings that command the temple premises. It is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world. The temple is famous for ‘gopurams’ which are entryways beneath the colorful buildings.
There are 21 such ‘gopurams’, the largest being almost 200 feet tall and with 15 stories. The temple is spread over a large area of almost 63 hectares and has 7 walls that demarcate enclosures. As you go deeper into the temple, the walls mark the increase in the sacredness of the premises.
A Hindu temple located in Central Java, Indonesia Prambanan is dedicated to the ‘Trimurti’ of the Hindu mythology. The ‘Trimurti’ includes Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu, and Lord Shiva. The walls are beautifully ordained with sculptures denoting various stories from the Hindu religion. The temple, a UNESCO, World Heritage Site is the largest Hindu temple in Indonesia.
6. The Harmandir Sahib
Famously known as The Golden Temple, the Harmandir Sahib is located in Punjab, India. A relic of Sikhism, this temple is a place of great wonder and peace. The Golden Temple symbolises infinite freedom and spiritual independence. The lake beside the temple is known as the Pool of the Nectar of Immortality and its waters are considered to be sacred. The temple is gilded in gold and covered in precious stones that adorn its walls.
Previously only a lake in the middle of a forest, this place was the meditation retreat of a great many sages and wise men in the old days. Amongst these wandering mendicants, one such sage was Guru Nanak who came about at this place to meditate almost 2000 years after Buddha’s time. Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion, passed away eventually but his disciples and followers made the site a place for their most holy shrine.
5. Gawdawpalin Temple
The Gawdawpalin Temple of Bagan, Myanmar is a pagoda built between the 12th and 13th century. It is a place of meditation and Buddhist rituals. The temple is designed in the hollow gu-style. It is two stories tall and has 3 lower terraces and 4 upper terraces. Though the temple has been heavily affected by the 1975 earthquake, it has been reconstructed in the following years and still stands as grandly as ever.
4. Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
A widely famous relic of the Muslim religion, Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is located in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The mosque’s contemporary style is an amazing endeavour to unite religion, history, and modern aspect fusing them in the architecture and art that the temple represents. The mosque is built with materials all around the globe. The mosque houses a library in its northeast minaret that serves the society with classic books of Islamic subjects. Books of 200 years back of rare publications are available here. Furthermore, the archways of the mosque are typically Moorish and the minarets traditionally Arab.
3. The Temple of Heaven
A Taoist temple, The Temple of Heaven is located in Beijing, China. The courtyard is a famous place dedicated for meditation and exercises like yoga. Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty constructed this temple. It was built to serve as his personal temple where he could come and confess his sins and atone for them and also pray for better harvest of his people. The temple’s most intriguing aspect is its Heaven theme- where all things in the Temple that represents Heaven is circular and everything on the ground is square belonging to the mortal realms.
2. St. Peter’s Basilica
The largest church in the world designed during the Renaissance period by none other than Michelangelo, St. Peter’s Basilica is a majestic sight to behold. Belonging to the Vatican City, the St. Peter’s Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one Jesus’ Apostles and the first Pope of Vatican City. It is a place of Pilgrimage for all Christians. The basilica is shaped in the form of a crucifix. The Basilica is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s titanic structure enthrals tourists from all around the world.
1. St. Basil’s Cathedral
This impressive Russian church is located in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. The architecture’s key points include the wildly colourful towers, and its structure shaped as a flame of a bonfire rising up to the sky. The architecture and design of the cathedral is unparalleled in Russian architecture. The Cathedral is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Despite the perfect symmetry of the side churches, the cathedral as a whole is hugely asymmetrical. The large central building was deliberately shifted to the west compared to the geometric centre for the sole purpose of accommodating its larger apse to the east.
Temples are a place of peace and harmony. You go to temples to achieve spiritual insight and meaning to a hectic life full of scheduled monotony. Temples with their ancient structures and sculptures please our senses and give us this much-needed peace. Contemporary styles mixed with religious aspects and architectural brainwaves create structures that shall leave you spellbound and intoxicated. The historical significance is also amazingly profound. So get going, here is your list!