When humans found religion, temples were born and they became houses of worship to the many gods we worshiped. Still, to present day, most of these temples are still active and still conduct daily prayers and offerings. Below are 8 incredible temples around the world that will inspire you to take a trip this winter.
Mon State, Myanmar: Kyaiktiyo Pagoda
The legend of this place tells of a hermit who placed the hair below the rock ensuring its stability on the side of the mountain. The boulder is said to be over two thousand years old and many devotees take a pilgrimage to this location; from November to May many worshippers make their way to Mon State and it is said during these months chants can be heard from the mountaintop. This is the best time to visit Kyaiktiyo or Golden Rock because it is an experience to witness culture in raw form.
Zhejiang, China: Liuhe Pagoda
Translating to Six Harmonies, the pagoda was built in 1200 and underwent renovations in 1900. Located in Hangzhou, China, the temple gives visitors an astonishing view of the Qiantang River and the bridge connected to it as well as a 360 degree view of the entire city. Inside is seven floors covered in hand carved wood, paintings, and written poems hanging on the walls from the dynasties that had lived before. The most popular time to visit is in the fall, when the river’s water rises, having the best view from the top of the pagoda.
Pulau Pinang, Malaysia: Kek Lok Si Temple
Known to be the biggest temple in Southeast Asia, Kek Lok Si also known as The Temple of Supreme Bliss is the highlight of Phanang, Thailand. Located at Air Itam mountain in George Town, the temple was built to face toward the sea and serve as a house of worship since 1903. Along with the main temple there are many of buildings and sights to explore such as the Pagoda of 10,000 Buddhas, Amitabha Cloister, and pictured below, the Ordinance Hall. In front of the Ordinance hall is a miniature 7 story pagoda that sits in the main courtyard; this is the first sight you see as you enter the complex.
Sririangam, India: Vishnu Temple of Srirangam
Located in the southern part of India, on an island named Srirangam in the town of Tiruchirappalli is the intricately designed Hindu temple. A statue of the god Vishnu is enshrined in the temple, holding a mysterious legend to its existence. The legend tells of the idol (known as Sri Ranganatha) was being transported from India to Sri Lanka by a sage. Along the way the sage took a break, setting the idol down on the ground for a brief moment. As the sage went to pick the idol up he could not move it, 100 hands could not move Sri Ranganatha from the ground so the devoted men built a temple surrounding it.
Inside the main temple is Ayiram kaal mandapam also known as the hall of 1000 pillars is was built during the times of the original temple; the hall consists of 900 granite carved pillars. Along with the hall, there is said to be over 50 shrines inside along with a couple small ponds and fountains adorned Indian detail.
Nadi, Fiji: Sri Siva Subramaniya Swami Temple
Located on the west side of the island in Nadi, Fiji sits the largest temple of the Southern Hemisphere where Hindu worshipers have been bringing offerings for centuries; there are also two other temples that accompany the main. Visitors can walk the main part of the temple’s interior, but there is a sectioned part only for worshipers. The walls inside are painted colorfully with Hindu gods and deities and the rooms are decorated with statues and other artifacts.
Allentown, Pennsylvania, U.S.: The Pagoda of Sunsetdrive
Originally built to be a luxury hotel in 1908 the project quickly flopped leaving the building vacant; two years later the pagoda was bought by the City of Reading (Reading, Pennsylvania) for only a dollar. And to this day, the pagoda is the only one in the world that has a fireplace and a chimney and is the most popular on the East Coast of the United States. And although this seven story pagoda is not a place of worship, it is still a great place to visit with friends and family.
Ontario, Canada: Cham Shan Temple
The Chinese styled temple, located in Ontario, Canada, has been active to worshipers 1975. It is located on the same land as the Niagara Falls, where many go before visiting the temple (or vice versa); the temple is open to the public and free. Once inside, there are free tours that will show you around the seven story temple, giving an inside look at Buddhist artwork and a listen to those praying inside.
Kyoto, Japan: Kinkaku-ji
Located in the south part of Kyoto, Tokyo sits the ‘Golden Pavilion’; the two outside layers of the temple are painted in gold leaf. This Buddhist temple’s original building was built in 1397 and was converted in 1950 by the owner’s son; from there the building became a house of worship to Buddhist devotees. Then three floors of the wooden structure, which yo are able to explore, each hold a different meaning both to the building and the people.