Buddhism is one of the most peaceful religions on earth, and though I don’t happen to follow that path myself, I have a deep respect for those who do. One of the things that caught my eye when looking at temples in Asia was how ornate they are. For those seeking peace, beauty and harmony, these Buddhist temples will inspire you, and awaken an appreciation for the years – and centuries – it took to create them. As with all Buddhist temples, be respectful of those who live and work in them, and remember to remove your shoes before entering into sacred spaces.
List of 05 Famous Buddhist Temples in World
01. Wat Rong Khun – Chiang Rai, Thailand
From the minute you set eyes on this temple, you’ll be amazed at the precision and detail, as well as wonder why this temple chose to remain all-white, and not include the gilded and ornate colours of other temples. The temple is ‘still under construction,’ and is expected to be finished in around 90 years, give or take. It is made from white concrete and decorated with thousands of small mirrors.
02. Oeosa – Cheonghagol Valley, Korea
Best seen in autumn, when the surrounding trees burst into fiery reds, yellows and oranges, the Oeosa temple is situated alongside a man-made dam. Its name comes from a legend in which two brothers studying asceticism tried to revive two dead fish. One fish remained dead while the other miraculously came back to life. Being brothers, they squabbled over who it was who brought the fish back from the dead – thus the Oeosa temple they founded, when translated, means “My Fish.” Within the temple is the Dongjong bell, which is a sacred treasure.
03. Byodo-In – Oahu, Hawaii
Situated within the cliff-lined Valley of Temples, in Oahu, is a replica of the 900 year old Byodo-In, which is located in Uji, Japan. Within these sculpted gardens and koi ponds is the temple that houses a 9-foot Lotus Buddha, which is the largest to have been carved in over 900 years. It is adorned with lacquer and gold, and wears the mysterious, peaceful smile all Buddha’s do. The Meditation House behind the temple is a sanctuary for those who seek some solitude, and when struck, the 3-ton brass Peace Bell emits a deep tenor sound.
04. Shwedagon Pagoda – Myanmar
Though most temples have ornate gildings and décor, this temple outshines them all, and will conjure up images of the fabled cities of gold of South America – as it is quite literally covered by gold. A tradition was started in the 15th century by the queen of the Mons, which still continues today. The queen was so impressed with the sight of it; she donated her total body weight in gold to the temple. As if that wasn’t enough wealth on its own, many marvel that the tallest spier has 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies embedded within it, and a 76 carat diamond is at the very tip.
05. Taktsang Palphug Monastery – Paro Valley, Bhutan
Known as “Tigers Nest,” this monastery was founded around a cliff side cave that Padmasambhava was said to have mediated in, during the 8th century. Padmasambhava is credited with bringing Buddhism to Bhutan and is considered to be the guardian spirit here, and legends about his arrival mention that he arrived on the back of a flying tigress. Visitors will need to traverse the steep pathways that wind up to the monastery, and can then enjoy a meditation session. At 4:00 AM every day a prayer wheel is turned by an elderly monk and the sounds echo down into the valley.