Those who believe in God know the joy of bowing with reverence in front of a greater power that is all-knowing and benevolent. And those who don’t believe in God know the joy of visiting the beautiful, peaceful places of worship created by believers. Thus we can all agree, temples are a win-win situation for everyone. Since ancient times, humans have devoted their art and love into building sites to honor their deities, and these efforts result in some of the most divine, grand masterpieces that would make even Picasso and Da Vinci bow their heads. Below are some best temple architecture places which are not only artful, but radiate a powerful aura worthy of God.
Batu Caves: Selangor, Malaysia
This Hindu temple built in 1891 to honor Lord Murugan is a prime example of creativity. With the sharp contrast between an intimidating, gigantic golden statue and the fun, technicolor stairs that look fresh out of an amusement park, the temple looks majestic and welcoming to the vast number of pilgrims that continue to visit it every year. It’s construction literally lets it blend with nature, and in the deep caves reside rare fauna and an astounding range of butterflies. A whole system of temples exists within the caves, complete with stone formations and bright murals, and the combination of the weather, the natural views, and the architecture make it a breathtaking sight.
Kinkaku-Ji Temple: Kyoto, Japan
I feel like the word ‘tranquility’ must’ve been derived from this temple, because that’s exactly what you feel when you look at it. It was initially built in 1397 by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and then reconstructed in 1955 after it was burnt down by a mentally ill monk. Perhaps this was for the best, because this new temple complex had a significant upgrade- two whole floors covered with gold leaf (lots of it), becoming true to its name of “The Golden Pavilion”. This Zen Buddhist temple boasts of different architectural styles in all of its three floors- Shinden, Samurai, and Zen. From the way it sits picturesquely at the edge of a lake, surrounded by a lush Japanese strolling garden, I wouldn’t be surprised if it really was God’s abode.
Ranakpur Jain: Pali, India
The diverse land of India is known for housing a large variety of deeply devoted religious faiths. Among the numerous awe-inspiring temples it is home to, Ranakpur is one of the holiest and architecturally blessed sites for the Jain community. It was built in 1437 during the reign of a Rajput King, and it seems to have come straight out of ancient Indian texts, with its intricate amber stone carvings and looming pillars. According to the stories, the temple was designed in the shape of a Vimana (a flying chariot), though how they thought it could fly with the weight of 1444 large columns is beyond me. Each of these pillars are unique and individual in their design, displaying events and deities from ancient Jain myths, and sometimes even changing colors from golden to pale blue depending on the sunlight! Legend goes that it is impossible for a person to count the number of pillars inside the temple. Are you up for the challenge?
Borobudur: Java, Indonesia
This temple that looks legendary, especially at sunset and sunrise, is famous for being the world’s largest Buddhist monument, measuring 765 feet by 765 feet. With the history of its construction being obscure, it is estimated that it was completed around 825 AD. The bounty of medieval Indonesian art enhanced by Indian religious sculpture and design is proudly displayed in the 2,672 relief panels and the 504 statues of Buddha that sit atop this giant structure. It is said that the construction of this temple is in perfect accordance with the conception of the Universe in Buddhist cosmology. And now, for the fact that will truly blow your mind. This temple, located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes and two rivers, is an architectural wonder, for it was constructed using a system of interlocking blocks, without any cement or mortar. If that doesn’t sound divine to you, I don’t know what will.
Wat Rong Khun: Chiang Rai, Thailand
As you can guess, we saved the most amazing one for the end. There really isn’t much of a history for “The White Temple” of Theravada Buddhism, since its construction began in 1997, but we can already tell that it will be futuristic, as it is not expected to be finished until around 2070. This shimmering beauty that looks like an Ice Goddess’s home is designed and funded by Thai visual artist Chalermchai Kositpipat. With the stark white color representing the purity of Buddha and the mirrored mosaics indicating his wisdom, every single sculpture of the temple- be it of mythical creatures, deities, or objects- is said to have great symbolic meaning. The artist adds a bit of unconventional spice by depicting characters like Captain America, Michael Jackson, and even Hello Kitty on the interior walls of this temple, making it a place of comfort instead of restrictions. You might be thinking, this can’t go any more over the top, right? Wrong. The restroom building in the complex is said to be the most beautiful of its kind, with an entirely royal, golden exterior, allowing you to poop like a king. Someone, please update the 7 Wonders of the World list, because this masterpiece of art and worship needs to be on there.
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