30 World’s Most Beautiful Temples

Since we have been fascinated by the temples and sacred sites of Eastern religions, we decided to do a collaborative article on some amazing temples from around the world.

Bali temples notki

Here is Top 30, in no particular order:

1) Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple) in Bangkok

Latitude34_ThaiTemple
Wat Benchamabophit (the Marble Temple), Bangkok, Thailand

Designed entirely of Italian marble and completed in 1899, it is both a relatively new temple and quite unique. While it holds all of the classically Thai architecture traits, it also seems just a bit different and is a nice, more relaxed visit that the more popular temples in Bangkok. The temple grounds are complete with small streams that pass through, and visitors can buy small fish, turtles and eels to release if they’d like to. The ticket is cheap, only 20 bath and is open daily from 8:30-5pm. A don’t miss temple in Bangkok for sure!

2) Wat Suwan Kuha Temple, Phuket, Southern Thailand

 Wat Suwan Kuha temple
Wat Suwan Kuha Temple

It is a cave temple close to Phuket in Southern Thailand, built into a limestone cave in a mountainside. It is very atmospheric inside, quite dark but with light filtering through gaps in the cave, and it is full of statues. And a troupe of monkeys have their home in the outer courtyard. You can get to the temple by bus, taxi or organised tour from Phuket, and the entry fee is 10 baht.

3) Way Rong Khun “White Temple”, Pa O Don Chai Road, A. Muang, Chiang Rai, 57000, Thailand

Way Rong Khun "White Temple"

Immediately upon entering the grounds of Chiang Rai’s “White Temple”, you’ll realize this contemporary, unconventional temple stands out, even in a country saturation with places of worship. Ghostly heads hang from trees in the temple gardens, trees of metal keys surround a wishing well, skulls top traffic cones and Thailand’s best “golden toilets” are available to visitors. Upon entering the temple, you’ll pass sword-wielding demons, hungry hands reaching from the depths as you cross a bridge toward the inner sanctuary, where superheroes and cartoons cavort in traditional Buddhist murals and motifs. All these fearful statues and terrifying demons symbolize a traditional Buddhist message–conquering desire, greed and passion to rise to a state of nirvana– but do it in an unforgettably, modern, unique and imaginative way.

White temple
Stunning White Temple definitely worth exploring when in Thailand

The White Temple  is 13km from Chiang Rai, Thailand and it is is by far the most unusual and unconventional temple we’ve visited. Whilst in Thailand and other SEA countries, we saw so many temples that at one point we started to feel a little ‘templed out’ and in a way we lost interest in searching for more to visit. The White Temple though was a lovely surprise because it was incredibly different and unique in its architecture, art and design. In fact it’s designed in a very modern way but still sticking to and respecting the conventional Buddhist principles. This temple is all white with many artistic decorations and statues full of mirrors that create nice silvery/glittering reflections. To enter it, there is a bridge to be crossed that goes over a ‘pond’ of sculptured hands reaching out as if they are trying to escape. Inside, to represent the transition to get to the land of Buddha, there are very futuristic murals on the walls with some of the icons we are not used to seeing in a temple, like Superman, scenes from Star Wars and Alien, Neo from the Matrix, Spongebob Squarepants, the 9/11 attack on the Twin Towers, Bush, Bin Laden and more. Simply incredible! It’s a must go if you are in the area, and it’s FREE to enter too.

We admire Chalermchai Kositpipat (the temple’s designer) for his amazing work and for having the courage to create a religious building in such a modern style that we can easily expect others seeing it as quite controversial for some aspects. The temple is not finished yet, people are still working to complete it and the surrounding structures too.

White Temple, Thailand

 It’s different from any other temple I’ve been too, but most importantly, it’s a contemporary temple built by a excentric man, which makes it a pleasure to discover. I dare you to find Superman, Batman and other characters within the interior paintings!

4) Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan

Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan
Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan

The Giant Buddha of temple of Kōtoku-in Temple in Kamakura, Japan was built in the 13th century. It used to be housed in a great hall of the temple but the hall was destroyed in the 13th century, 14th century and finally in the 15th century. Kamakura is close enough to Tokyo to make it an easy day trip and there are a wealth of Buddhist Temples and Shinto Shrines in the city, such that the area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Kamakura temple
Kamakura temple

The Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine was an impressive hilltop structure in Kamakura, Japan (about an hour from Tokyo). This is considered the city’s most important shrine and was also a Tendai Buddhist temple. It was dedicated to Hachiman who was the Shinto God of War and has been at this location since the 12th century. Climb the 60+ steps to the main hall forbreathtaking views of the area. The grounds have museums, ponds, gardens and trails. Many cultural activities still take place here and this is often referred to as “Symbol of the Ancient Capital Kamakura”. We enjoyed our day trip to Kamakura and visiting the shrine was one of the highlights.

5) Hawaii Temple, Kaneohe, Hawaii

Temple Hawaii 2
Hawaii Temple

Hawaii is known for its undulating mountains, crystal clear beaches and aloha spirit. But, do you know a smaller-scale replica of a 950-year-old temple in Japan is located in the island of Oahu? At the foot of the Ko’olau Mountains, the Byodo-In Temple was established to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii. The sight of a red and white temple surrounded by lush foliage, a large reflecting pool and small waterfalls is truly remarkable. Vibrant peacocks and hundreds of koi carp add a level of serenity to the area. The temple, which is located in Kaneohe, is open daily from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Admission is $3.

6) Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain

sagrada-familia
Breath-taking Sagrada Familia

A lot of visitors think that the Sagrada Familia is the same thing as the Cathedral of Barcelona, but it’s actually officially called the Basílica i Temple Expiatori de la Sagrada Família. This emblematic Barcelona building is famously unfinished, and even though current estimates say it could be done by 2026, there are definite doubts about that! Some residents believe its incompleteness is part of its charm. But not everyone is a fan of the Sagrada Familia – George Orwell referred to it as “one of the most hideous buildings in the world’! Love it or hate it, visiting Gaudí’s ambitious project will definitely give you something to talk about afterward. Current entry prices start from €14.80, though if you’re on a tight budget looking at the spectacular outside is totally free.

7) Golden Temple, India

Golden-Temple-Amritsar-India
Beautiful Golden Temple

Amritsar, in Western India is home to the incredible Harmandir Sahib, otherwise known as the Golden Temple. Sitting in the centre of a sacred pool, the Golden Temple floats majestically in the centre of the huge walled compound. The temple serves as the headquarters of the Sikh religion, an extremely inclusive, friendly and welcoming religion whose fundamental belief is the equality of all people. This is reflected in the kind nature of the people here, many of whom have very little and sleep on the tiled floors surrounding the temple for days just to be close to it. There is no entrance fee, you can store your shoes for free, eat for free and the entire complex is run by volunteers. It really is a wonderful place and the Golden Temple is of course the main attraction, which comes alive when it glistens in the sunlight.

8) Kek Lok Si Temple, Penang

Kek Lok Si Temple Amanda Kendle
Kek Lok Si Temple is the busiest one on the gorgeous island of Penang

Kek Lok Si Temple is the busiest one on the gorgeous island of Penang for a reason – it’s something really special. It’s a Buddhist temple started in 1890 and a bit like Barcelona’s La Sagrada Familia, it just keeps on going. There have been new parts constructed ever since and it’s still going. Kek Lok Si is colourful, crazy and a mix of all kinds of architectural styles, and that’s probably why I loved it. The only down side is that it’s a little too full of stalls selling souvenirs, though at least when I visited there wasn’t any pushy sales action. There is no entrance fee to get into the temple and you can climb the stairs all the way to the top if you’re up to it – I was with my three-year-old so we paid for the diagonal lift to get up the last part of the complex (RM2.50 for adults).

9) Gangotri in the Indian Himalayas

Gangotri temple, Garhwal Himalayas, India
Gangotri temple, Garhwal Himalayas, India

Location: Situated at a staggering altitude of 3142 meters or over 10000 feet above sea level, folded in the wraps of the splendid hills of Garhwal Himalayas in India… is situated one of the most significant temples of Hinduism – Gangotri. What makes it so special, you ask? It’s the location. Seated at the source of the River Ganga, which is considered a living Goddess for the Hindus all round the world, for a believer, Gangotri makes for a dream, the ideal pilgrimage destination. The place, complete with its aura of spiritual tranquility, is magical… Really! Here time stands still… very still! It throws you off in a trance. Even if you do not have the luxury of faith, the town still doesn’t disappoint you with craggy mountains, deep gorges, snow capped Himalayan peaks and the River Ganges flowing in a melody – leaves you mesmerized.

Ticket price: The entry to the temple is free and one can spend any amount of quiet time by the banks of the River Ganga which provides for a beautiful soul soothing experience.

Other information: The Gangotri Temple remains open for just 6 months (May to November) every year as it becomes inaccessible during the harsh Himalayan winter season. The best time to visit is October end just before the Temple closes down for winter as there is practically no crowd at this time.

10) The Hanging Monastery, China

temple_hangingmonastery
A small Buddhist temple outside of Datong, China

The Hanging Monastery is a small Buddhist temple outside of Datong, China. It clings impressively to a wall of rock, half-way up a sheer cliff, supported from the bottom by thin timbers. This amazing and unlikely structure dates all the way back to 491 AD. You feel almost like a bird walking across the cliff face, hanging out over the valley, to peer into the dozens of individual shrines. As the structure is all wooden, you will notice an abundance of fire extinguishers  … it would be quite a plummet into the valley if the floor caught on fire! You can take a taxi from Datong to see this unique temple for an admission price of 130 yuan.

11) The Chi Lin temple grounds in Hong Kong

Chi Lin Temple - Charlie on Travel
The Chi Lin Temple

The Chi Lin nunnery sits majestically in Hong Kong’s Diamond Hill. The golden pavilion, known as the Pavilion of Absolute Perfection, is juxtaposed with the innumerable grey apartment buildings which surround it. The traditional timber architecture of the temple dates back to the Tang dynasty and are the only remaining buildings of this kind in contemporary Hong Kong. Locals come to escape the metropolis and find respite in the tranquil gardens. For the hungry traveller, a vegetarian restaurant (lunch costs HKD $100-150) is hidden behind a waterfall and covered by spindly trees. The Chi Lin temple grounds are free to explore.

12) Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto, Japan

kinkakuji

Kyoto is filled with beautiful shrines and temples, but in my opinion, none can be compared to the beauty of Kinkaku-ji, or the “Golden Pavilion”. Officially called Rokuon-ji, this Buddhist temple has acquired a lot of fame recently and has become one of the most visited places in Japan. Whether you visit during the fall when there are red momiji leaves contrasting the gold, in winter when the gold is topped with pure white snow, in spring with the cherry blossoms, or in summer allowing you to see the beautiful temple’s golden reflection– there is never a bad time to visit this beautiful temple. While it does cost 400 yen to visit, the cost is certainly worth it.

13) St. Sava Temple – Belgrade, Serbia

St. Sava Temple
St. Sava Temple

This is a Serbian Orthodox church located in Vracar neighborhood of Belgrade. It’s the largest Orthodox church in the world and it’s dedicated to Saint Sava who founded the Serbian Orthodox church. It dominates Belgrade’s cityscape and it’s one of the most important Belgrade landmarks and a tourist attraction. The church looks grandiose and beautiful from the outside, however work on the internal decoration is still ongoing. The ground floor can house 10,000 people. The entrance is free and if you wish you can leave donation. It’s definitely a must see in Belgrade, and you can also check out the post I wrote about the free things to do in Belgrade.

14) The Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Szentlélek-templom), Hungary

Paks-Church
Szentlélek-templom

The most beautiful church I’ve visited is also one of the most unique that I’ve seen. The Holy Spirit Catholic Church (Szentlélek-templom) is found in Paks, a small town in Hungary on the banks of the Danube. The church is made completely out of wood by Hungarian organic architect Imre Makovecz. The spires, included the expected cross, but also has the unusual shapes of a sun, and a crescent moon. The latter, a symbol of Islam, caused quite a stir in the city when they were unveiled. I especially enjoy the sense of flow and movement you get from the overall design of the church. A visit inside to marvel at the beautiful wooden designs is by appointment only.

15) The Monkey Temple and Stupa in Nepal

The Monkey Temple and Stupa
The Monkey Temple and Stupa
Although mostly famous for it’s amazing trekking in the Himalayas, Nepal is also home of some of the most breath taking temples and Stupas. I heard about the Swayambhunath or Monkey temple for a while and I couldn’t wait to visit it in person. This enormous Buddhist Stupa is located in Kathmandu, at the top of a hill. Surrounded by ancient sacred trees, it’s also called the “sublime trees” in Tibetan. Swayambhunath is one of the most ancient religious sites in Nepal.

Although mostly a Buddhist religious site, it’s importance attracts also Hindus who come to pay respect to this Sacred complex. The stupa consists of a dome where the eyes of the Buddha is looking in all directions with the word Unity in between them. The whole complex is combined of Stupas, a variety of shrines, temples and a stairway of 365 steps that will lead you directly into the temple. There is an entrance fee.. Stay in for sunset, it will take your breath  away.

16) Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple in Fiji

FIJI-Sri Siva Subrahmaniya Swami Temple

An original temple was opened on this site in 1926.  This newer version completed in 1994 is now the largest Hindu temple in the Southern Hemisphere. It features traditional Dravidian architecture and is decorated with wood carvings of Hindu deities imported from India and colorful frescos adorning n the ceilings. Entrance is free.

17) 100 Chickens Temple, or Baiji Si, in Shangri-la, China

Baiji Si Prayer Flags
Baiji Si Prayer Flags

I’ve seen so many stunning temples around the world, it’s difficult to single out one as being the fairest of them all. Thailand’s temples took my breath away with their outrageous colors and ornamentation while those of Japan impressed with understated elegance. So instead I will choose the one which most moved me: 100 Chickens Temple, or Baiji Si, in Shangri-la, China.

To get there, we followed a poorly-marked path through a field filled with grazing yaks until we reached a tall staircase carved out of mud. A paved staircase pointed the rest of the way up. It was slow going due to the high altitude, but our effort definitely paid off. We were rewarded with an expansive view of charming old-town Shangri-la and the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Colorful prayer flags flowed across the hills while chickens and pigs meandered around the grounds hunting for food. Aside from a lone caretaker, we were the only ones there, and for once it was surreal to be in the world’s most populous country and so completely alone.Much of Shangri-lahas now sadly been lost to fire. Its tragic destruction makes my memories of the place even more special. You can read more about Shangri-la and the temple here.

18) Garni Temple, Armenia

Garni Temple, Armenia
Garni Temple, Armenia

In a land full of Armenian Monasteries and Churches, it seems slightly out of place and odd to find a Greek style Temple in amongst the dominated Christianity. This peculiarity is one of the things that attracted us to visit Garni and we loved it. Garni Temple is situated out in the countryside, down a hill from the small village of Garni which is about 40 minutes drive from Yerevan. You pay 1000 Armenian Dram to get inside – this place is a UNESCO listed World Heritage spot too. It’s in remote countryside and sparkles in this dreamy landscape. Within the area of Garni Temple, you can admire the stunning views, go inside the main temple, which dates back to the 1st Century! The most remarkable thing about the Garni Temple is that it’s a Hellenic Greek Temple which survived the Christianity revolutions in Armenia and still stands, proud and pretty to this very day. There are also some souvenir stalls within and some strolls and walks around the nearby countryside. You can read my full report on visiting Garni Temple.

19) Beer Bottle Temple, Isaan, Thailand

water-tower-made-from-bottles-thailand
Beer Bottle Temple

Nearly everyone that travels to Thailand visits at least one temple, and mostly likely lots of temples. But there are some truly remarkable temples that are completely off the beaten track that not many people get to see. On such temple is Wat Lan Khuat in Khun Han, in Isaan, which is in the north east of Thailand. The temple is known locally as the Beer Bottle Temple or the Million Bottle Temple.

20) The Church of the Savior on Blood in Saint Petersburg

The Church of the Savior on Blood in Saint Petersburg.
The Church of the Savior on Blood in Saint Petersburg

It is located in the very centre of the city, easily accessible from the Nevsky Prospect metro station. It took its name after the murder of tsar Alexander II, who was killed in 1881 in the place where the church stands today. The Griboyedov Canal, which leads to the church, used to be named the Catherine Canal (after Catherine the Great), but as it often happened, the name was changed under the communist rule. Admission: 300 rubles (c. 7 euros).

21) Ta Prohm, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Ta Prohm temple
Ta Prohm

My absolute favorite temple in the world is Ta Prohm inside of the ancient city of Angkor in Cambodia. One thing not everyone knows is that ‘Angkor’ is the name is an ancient city, not to be confused with its main temple, Angkor Wat. The city has five main temples and once had around 1 million inhabitants, making it the largest city of its time in the early 1200s. Ta Prohm was created over eight hundred years ago, so it actually pre-dates most of the trees that exist today. That has caused them to grow through the bricks producing one of the most spectacular views in the world today. The movie Tomb Raider was filmed here because of its true ‘ancient ruins’ look. Ta Prohm is bundled with your entrance into Angkor which costs $20 for a 7 day ticket.

22) Wat Palad, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Wat Palad
Wat Palad

I had been directed into a temple built within the jungle, enshrining elephants and dragons, the worldly and unworldly side-by-side. Streams poured out of the hills, culminating into a large rock waterfall overlooking the Chiang Mai skyline. Dogs roamed freely and, above me, a large spider clung to its capacious web. Small bridges and footpaths joined statues of Buddhas, dragons, worshipers, candle-holders and stone carvings. I could sense the connectedness of this temple, its people and the earth. It had been built under the pretense of harmony, and I could feel it.

23) Kaesong Temple, North Korea

Kaesong Temple
Kaesong Temple

Kwanŭm-sa is a Korean Buddhist temple located within Taehung Castle on Mt. Chonma near Kaesong, North Korea. The site is one of the National Treasures of North Korea.

24) Shinto shrine, Hakone lake, Japan

Shinto shrine
Shinto shrine

25) Sravanabelagola Jain temple

Gommateswara Bahubali
Gommateswara Bahubali

The huge monolithic idol of Gommateswara Bahubali, located on top of a hill called Vindhyagiri, was built nearly 1000 years ago.

Odegal Basti
Odegal Basti

Considered to be the world’s largest monolithic statue,situated at the village of Sravanabelagola near the Indian IT hub of Bangalore, this idol should be a must visit on any traveler’s visit to India’s IT city.

Beautiful Skies at Sravanabelagola
Beautiful Skies at Sravanabelagola

26) The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine

The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine
The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine

When it comes to exotic Asian temples, then the Batu Caves shrine in Selangor, Malaysia would certainly be in the “must visit” toplist. Although this Malaysian religious site isn’t very old, the atmosphere there is unparalleled and visiting it can be the experience of a lifetime. It’s a mysterious place that creates and uplifting feeling… The Batu Caves shrine is the largest Hindu shrine outside India. It’s not ancient, but has a strong vintage feel and it’s also a thrilling scenic place (a great location for taking photos), as we can find out (along with other information) from Escape Hunter, the mysterious incognito traveler. The site is not remote and you don’t have to hike through dangerous jungle, expose yourself to snakes and dangerous spiders to get there. It takes roughly half an hour to reach it from central Kuala Lumpur’s KL Sentral station, by train. Entry is free and taking photos isn’t a taboo like at some religious sites. If you haven’t been to India, this Hindu shrine will be your little piece of India in Malaysia.

The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine
The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine

In fact, this temple complex is composed of multiple small shrines, buildings and statues. If you arrive by train, coming out from the Batu Caves station, you will first encounter Hanuman’s statue (a Hindu deity who has a human body with light green skin and a monkey face) before getting to the gigantic golden Lord Murugan statue – the prominent attraction there. The gigantic statue is more than 42 meters high. Lord Murugan with a warm smile does indeed have a great view from up there! But it’s actually the caves where the most important shrines are found. You will have to climb 272 steps to reach up there and you’ll encounter nasty monkeys along the way. They might provoke you aggressively, proceed with caution. The monkeys can cause terrible wounds with their sharp long teeth, they are also tricky little thieves. They love snatching cameras, sunglasses, small bags – usually shiny objects… They also spread diseases… keep a safe distance. Although the Batu Caves temple was established in 1891, the immense Lord Murugan statue was only added in 2006. It shines in the Sun’s light, guarding the entrance to the caves. Murugan is actually the Hindu god of love, war, wisdom.

The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine
The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine

During the Thaipusam Hindu Festival, daring members of the Tamil community perform ritualic skin and flesh piercings – the scenes might seem horrific to those who aren’t used to this. Besides walking around, admiring the delicate details of the architecture, contemplating the colourful statuettes on the individual shrines, you can also buy unique souvenirs that you won’t find in Kuala Lumpur (for instance). Any visit to Kuala Lumpur should include the Batu Caves. It’s close, it’s cheap getting there, it’s free getting in, but most importantly – It’s an unrivaled mysterious place that doesn’t resemble other temples.

The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine
The Batu Caves Hindu Shrine

 

The combination between: the location (the temple is based in and around caves), the monumental golden statue of Murugan and the roaming nasty monkeys make it so unique. Today, the Batu Caves is the among Malaysia’s most well-known temples, it’s also on the list of the country’s most advertised travel attractions. If you haven’t been there, you haven’t been to Malaysia!

27) Temple of Heaven, Beijing

Temple of Heaven
Temple of Heaven

It was founded in the first half of the 15th century and surrounded by historic pine woods. It symbolizes the relationship between earth and heaven, the human world and God’s world, which stands at the heart of Chinese cosmogony.

28) Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia

Uluwatu
Uluwatu

This is the most spectacular temple on the island of Bali. The inner sanctum of the temple is perched majestically on the edge of a steep cliff that towers above the legendary surf breaks of southern Bali.

29) Ulun Danu, Bali, Indonesia

Ulun Danu
Ulun Danu

It was built on the lake and its scenery is amazing and unique. Locals will pray from the temple on shore and go all the way out to the temple on the lake by crossing two bridges.

30) Ranakpur Jain Temple

Ranakpur Jain Temple
Ranakpur Jain Temple

The 15th century temple, located 90km/56mi north of Udaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan, is one of the five major Jain pilgrimage sites. It was built with light-colored marble and features three stories, numerous halls and domes, plus over 1,400 intricately carved pillars. Non-Jain visitors are not allowed in the center part of the temple, but the entire complex includes several shrines, so get your money’s worth by walking around. The marble floor stays cool even on the hottest, sunniest days. Here’s a photo of me inside the temple, after receiving blessing a happy life from one of the priests (for a small donation, of course…).

Entry fee for foreign visitors: 300 rupees, plus a camera fee (if applicable). Shoes and any leather items must be removed prior to entering the temple.

Have you visited one of these? Which one made the strongest impression on you? What temple is missing from this list?

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123 Comments

    • Saint Petersburg has been always on my bucket list and I hope to make it there soon, perhaps next year :).

      • You should try visiting the modern temple in Quezon City Philippines build by Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ). EVERYONE can visit it and see its beauty during the worship service usually done wednesday,thursday saturday and sunday.Google it and be mesmerized:-)

  • That is quite an interesting collection of temples, shrines and churches Agness! While I was fortunate enough to visit a lot of these places already, I just noticed that I must have missed the beer bottle temple somehow… :)

    • Same here Dennis. There are still temples I have not been to, but they are on my bucket list so it’s time to catch up!

  • Awesome selection! It completely didn’t occur to me that the Sagrada Familia would be in here too – I’m always too busy marvelling at it to actually remember it’s a place of worship it seems haha! Well, that and I got too used to Asian temples.

    I can’t wait to see even more of them :)

    • To be honest, I didn’t know that Sagrada Familia was a temple, but I am heading there this summer so I can’t wait :-).

  • Hey Agness,

    This is a beautiful post. You have collected some amazing examples of temples from across the world. Two of my other favorites – the Sacre Coeur in Paris and the Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, India.

  • What a brilliant list! I feel happy that I’ve been to around ten of those I think. Thank you too for the marble one in Chang Rai – I was told about that and somebody told me that it was in Chang Mai, which I visited many a moon ago now, and I didnt see it. And I have bummed about that. But I never went to Chang Rai! That’s definitely on the list!
    After living more than two years in Japan, when I saw the title I thought – ‘oh no, more temples’ but this list is truly inspiring! Did you get to the Batu Caves at festival time? That is seriously wild, people with giant hooks through their skin! And I totally agree – Ta Phrom is just stunning. My favourite of all of Angkor. You could spend the whole day just exploring and running around it like a child. Which I believe I did. Thanks for this wonderful post guys!

    • Hi Andrew!
      No, I didn’t get to Batu Caves at festival time. I’ve actually never been there. This temple was contributed by a fellow travel blogger :-), but I hope to make it there in the future.

      • Certainly, you must visit the Batu Caves!
        It was one of the top most interesting places I’ve ever been to…
        Hope to add as many new places to my list as possible.

  • Thank you so much for including me! I’m a huge fan of temples and some of these I’ve never heard of– more places to want to visit!

    Also, for your #24– the shrine is called “Hakone Shrine” and it’s located on Lake Ashi, in Hakone, Japan. :)

    • Thanks Beth for the info :-). I’ve never been there, but I hope to see the Hakone Shrine soon!

  • What a great list of temples, churches and places of worship. They’re all so beautiful and unique. I’ve only been to 3 of these so clearly I need to do some more traveling around Asia. Thanks for including me!

  • Thank you guys for having us here contributing to this awesome post. What a great collection of temples of which some I’ve never heard of. I particularly like the look of the unusual Hungarian church and the Beer Bottle Temple in Thailand.

    • Thanks for contributing. The Hungarian church looks amazing. I can’t wait to see it live!

      • That architect of that church, Imre Makovecz has designed lots of other unusual buildings.
        Among others, the Hungarian Pavilion in Sevilla, which still stands…
        Better look his buildings up and visit them one-by-one.

  • Wow, so many gorgeous temples! I thought I was all “templed-out” after visiting India, but these pictures are fantastic! Thanks for including me, Agness. Happy to be part of such a cool collaborative effort. Cheers, everyone!

    • Thanks Pola for contributing. I can’t wait to make it to India to explore some of the temples there.

  • Thanks so much for having me on Agness! I haven’t heard for many of these temples so this was a really interesting post with beautiful photos. I really love the Uluwatu one, it’s location is amazing!

    • Uluwatu was truly amazing and it’s a part of Monkey Sanctuary, so that was a great choice!

  • The Marble Temple in Bangkok and Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto are my favourites – how beautiful are they?!?!? And I love the fact that you included Sagrada Familia there – we often forget that cathedrals are a kind of temple.

    • They are just breath-taking Tim!! Great choice.
      I’m heading to Barcelona very soon so I can’t wait to see Sagrada Familia in person :-).

  • Great post and amazing photos! I love temples so this is right up my alley :) I have actually visited every temple from Japan on your list as well as a couple other ones here and there. I’d love to see the Hanging Monastery and the White Temple in person!

    • Thank you. Me too, I would love to see the Hanging Monastery when on the road. Hope I can make it there soon :).

  • Churches and temples are some of my favorite places to visit when traveling. They’re always special. I’d love to see the hanging temples in datong but thats a LONG ways away from Sichuan so we’ll have to see if that works out or not. Really an amazing list, I hadn’t heard of a lot of these places

  • Great post! I love visiting religious building all around the world when I travel. I’ve been to a few of these but my favourite is Kinkaku-ji in Kyoto. Although it gets very crowded there I love how its perfectly situated on the water for reflection and how its completely covered in gold.

  • Fabulous and varied selection from Western to very Oriental.

    I keep reading about the White Temple (and the Black Temple) which seem fascinating. I’d like to see them at some point, they are stunning.

  • Why, I do believe I hit a few of these on my trip to South East Asia this past winter!:-) Hehe, they all started to blend together while I was over there, but I so love going back through my photos and reliving the history of each!

  • What a fantastic collection! I would love to visit all of these someday. It is amazing how they are all just so different from one another and all beautiful in their own unique ways.

  • This is a very impressive list of amazing temples. And some of these places are on my future travel list!

    You might want to include some of the ancient temples and temple pyramids of middle America as well to get a more complete “around the world” picture. Chichen Itza or Palenque would be my first suggestion from the Maya world, even there are many more. And not to forget Incas and Atztecs.

      • Agness, next time you come to Indonesia, please come to Yogya. Near Yogya you’ll find two great temples, Borobudhur (Buddhist) from 9th century and Prambanan (Hindu) from 10th century. There’s even smaller Hindu temple in a nearby city called Sukuh Temple from 15th century which design mysteriously looks like ancient temples from Incas or Mayan culture that it baffles historians.

  • I’m so happy you included the Monkey Temple in Kathmandu! It really is a mystical place, even when packed with tourists. And the MONKEYS! I had never been so close to “wild” monkeys before, it was crazy, exciting, and slightly terrifying.

  • What an inspiring and informative post! I have been to several of those temples like but there are so many more I haven’t seen yet and even some I have never heard of. The more we travel, the more we realize how many places we haven’t been to yet. This really makes me want to pack my bags and depart on another exiting and interesting journey.

  • There are so many incredible places on this earth and I want to go see them all! Thanks for letting me contribute to this great round-up :-)!!

  • I love temples, despite having lived in Asia for two years. My absolute favourite by miles is Ta Prohm in Cambodia though. Maybe I am biased because I lived there and have seen the temple twice actually, but it has got something magical, eerie and adventurous about, which I just love.

  • Ranakpur jain Temples are acclaimed world-wide for their intricate and superb architectural style.This temple is wholly constructed in light colored marble and comprises a basement covering an area of 48000 sq feet. There are more than 1400 exquisitely carved pillars that support the temple. Ranakpur temple is dedicated to Lord Adinath, who is the first ‘Tirthankara’ of the Jains
    For us (Jains) these temples form one of the five major pilgrimages.

    Namaste
    Sunil Dugar
    Hyderabad, India

  • Wow! That is an amazing list and so much beauty packed in one single post! Kudos, Agness and thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this awesome collaboration. I wish to see all these temples in person someday, okay if not all, may be half of them at least! Thanks so much again, and here’s hoping you are having a great start to the week! :)

  • A great list of temples and places of worship! We’d probably add the 3 temples at the Sacred Monkey Forest Sanctuary in Ubud, Bali (as much for the macaque monkeys as for the crumbling, moss-covered temples themselves). And we’ve heard great reports about the temples at Borobudur, Indonesia too (but we’ve not visited there yet). Oh, and you’d love the gold-covered Shewedegon Pagoda in Rangoon, Burma (Myanmar). So many fabulous places!

    • Thank you. I’m a big fan of temples and if you are as well, send me a photo of your favorite place and I’ll add it to part 2 :). Cheers!

  • Lots of travel inspiration here – a few I’ve visted and a few I had on my list, but lots of fantastic places that I didn’t know about too!

    • Thanks Lucy. I also visited most of them, but there are still many temples I want to explore in the future :).

  • Nice roundup! Lots of sacred sites to see. I was particularly impressed with the bottle cap temple and the hanging temple. Those were pretty unique. I think the Chiang Rai White temple was by far the most unique and distinct temple I’ve seen yet.

  • Wow these temples are stunning! I’m going to have to start a temples bucket list haha. I haven’t been to too many of these but would love to see all of them!

  • Wow what an incredible collaboration list! I’ve only been to a few around Thailand and Cambodia, but can’t wait to get back to Asia later this year to knock a few more off the list. The intricate details and designs are just fascinating!

  • Powerful article! and amazing collection! great job on compiling it!
    I’ve been to many… but, am really sorry that I’ve missed the White Temple in Thailand.

  • I heard the white temple was damaged in the recent earthquake. Hope they can fix it up. A lot of beautiful temples here. I think the Marble Temple is the only one I have visited in person.

    • Thank you Marie for stopping by and sharing. I hope to explore Sagrada Familia soon :) perhaps this summer if everything goes great!

  • Wow, what an awesome article!!! I love temples. Each and every one of them looks interesting. The white temple in Thailand looks really unique!

  • Great list, Agnees !
    Asia is known for its scenic and natural beauty. And temples are on the list too, indeed. Infact, I am planning to visit Thailand this summer vacations. Thanks for sharing the information about its beautiful temples. Hopefully, this will help.

    • The bad news is that the White Temple has been destroyed lately, but I hope they can re-build it soon!

  • Hi,Agness, Great Post and nice list of most-beautiful-temples of world..But i think you missing a most beautiful Dilwara Jain Temple, Located in Mt Abu, Rajasthan, India..

  • Nice post,
    I think the Angkor Wat temple is one of the largest Hindu temples in the World which is placed in Cambodia. This beautiful temple also listed in the UNESCO World heritage site and famous icon of Cambodia.

  • Thanks for the survey. Loved it. These 30 are of course stand-outs but in essence and conversely, there are no ugly temples.

  • Have you checked out the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, Tamil Nadu, India or Brihadeeswarar temple in Thanjavur, Tamil Nadu, India and many more architectural wonders. I am not saying any of the above is not impressive than the temples which I mentioned but people underestimate as they are not very popular. If people would see and learn about them they would really marvel at these wonders.

  • Hlo,but where is the Nepal famous temple…there r also be the beautiful temple all of u my frn …….but i think now myself also visit in amazing temple .like a golden temple …thank for subscribing temple name ………i lop visiting temples .

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