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18 Of The Most Magnificent Temples In Asia You Should Not Miss

18 Of The Most Magnificent Temples In Asia You Should Not Miss

1. Angkor Wat, Cambodia

You may have seen photos of it hundreds of times before, but nothing compares to seeing the Angkor Wat up close. Spanning about 500 acres, this vast monument was originally constructed as a Hindu temple and later turned into a Buddhist temple.

From covered galleries, elevated towers and curved roofs to decorative sculptures, extensive bas-reliefs and hidden paintings, everything seems to come together perfectly for this architectural masterpiece. Gorgeous and grand, Angkor Wat is one of the most impressive structures you’ll ever come across.

angkor

    2. Iskcon Temple, Bengaluru, Karnataka

    Another comparatively recent temple on this list is the Iskcon Temple in Bengaluru. Built in 1997, it is dedicated to the Hindu gods Krishna and Radha. This is the largest Iskcon temple anywhere in the world.

    Bengaluru is a pleasant weather city throughout the year, but if you have to choose the best months, then book a flight to Bengaluru between October and February.

    isk

      3. Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya, Bihar

      Another Indian gem on the UNESCO World Heritage site list, the Maha Bodhi temple at Bodh Gaya is an ancient temple built by the Emperor Ashoka in the 3rd century B.C. Though restored a number of times, the present day structure has most of its original elements intact.

      The main attraction of the Maha Bodhi temple is the holy Bodhi tree on its western side. It is said to be a descendant of the original tree that the Buddha sat under.

      maha

        4. Akshardham Temple, New Delhi

        This pink sandstone and white marble complex, spread over 100 acres, is one of the most recent additions to the list of most amazing Indian temples. It was built in 2005, and takes inspiration from its namesake in Gujarat.

        It surpasses both in beauty and scale. With more than 20,000 statues from the Hindu pantheon of gods and goddesses, it is wise to plan out a whole day for the visit.

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        akshardham

          5. Jagannath Temple, Puri, Orissa

          This massive 12th century temple complex is a group of 120 temples and shrines contained within huge walls. Famous for its annual Rath Yatra, which is attended by millions of pilgrims, this temple dedicated to Lord Jagannath is one of Hinduism’s top four religious destinations.

          When you take a look, observe that the image of Jagannath is made of wood, not metal or stone like most Hindu deities.

          jagga

            6. Somnath Temple, Gujarat

            This marvelous piece of Asian history has been destroyed, sacked, and rebuilt multiple times over the past few centuries. It is the top tourist spot in Gujarat, having been constructed in 1947.

            When you visit, make sure to check out the Arrow Pillar on the sea protection wall. The pillar indicates a straight line over the water with no land between the shores of the temple and Antarctica.

            somnath

              7. Khajuraho Temple, Madhya Pradesh

              This temple is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and is a Hindu and Jain temple. It is famous for the Nagara style of architecture and erotic sculptures that lie on the outer region of the temple.

              The interior part is more calm and serene than the outer part. Only a little remains of the huge complex that was built between the 10th and 12th century, but what remains behind can leave any person in awe.

              khaju

                8. Meenakshi Temple, Madurai, Tamil Nadu

                This is another 16th century wonder. Brightly painted, and elaborately sculpted, Meenakshi Temple is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Parvati and her consort Lord Shiva. This particular Temple is a perfect example of Dravidian style architecture. Make sure to look at the carvings on the two gopurams.

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                meena

                  9. Golden Temple, Amritsar, Punjab

                  This temple is ultimately the headquarters of sikh religion and is known as Harmandir Sahib. This 18th century gold plated structure is a remake of the 16th century structure once destroyed by Afghan forces.

                  A symbol of Sikh faith, it is a combination of Hindu and Muslim architectural features. The best time to visit this temple is in the early morning and you should fly to Amritsar between October and March.

                  golden temp

                    10. Sun Temple, Konark, Orissa

                    This is a 13th century temple dedicated to the Sun God. Essentially, this structure is Surya, The Sun God, being carried across the heavens in a chariot with 24 exquisite wheels, and drawn by seven magnificent horses.

                    Make sure to look at the carvings done on the walls, as most viewers get so carried away by the unusual chariot that they overlook these images.

                    sun

                      11. Ananda Temple, Bagan, Myanmar

                      The Ananda Temple located in Bagan, Myanmar is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the reign  of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty (1084–1113). It is one of four surviving temples in Bagan.

                      The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar.

                      ananda

                        12. Borobudur, Indonesia

                        Sitting atop a hill, Borobudur is famed both for its architecture and stonework. Adorning the walls and balustrades of this three-tier temple are bas-reliefs depicting the life of Buddha. There are 2,672 relief panels in all, plus more than 500 Buddha statues.

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                        Peer through the perforated stupas at the upper level and you can actually spot a Buddha figure in each one. What makes the whole structure even more remarkable? No cement or mortar was used in its construction!

                        bor

                          13. Kinkakuji Temple, Japan

                          We don’t know what’s more remarkable: the fully gilded top floors of the Kinkakuji Temple or its shimmering golden reflection on the pond before it. Either way, this elegant structure is also notable for pulling off three different architectural styles.

                          The first level, with its white plaster walls and natural wood pillars, is patterned after palaces of the Heian period. The second story is inspired by samurai residences. Topped with a golden phoenix, the uppermost section is reminiscent of Chinese Zen halls.

                          kin

                            14. Prambanan Temple, Indonesia

                            The Prambanan Temple is actually a complex of more than 200 temples sitting on three concentric squares. Its focal point? The Shiva temple, which rises up to 47 meters!

                            North of this is the Brahma temple and south, the Vishnu temple. If you want to learn about the epic story of Ramayana, keep an eye out for the outstanding reliefs carved across the temples. Also check out a few of the surrounding shrines.

                            pram

                              15. Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar

                              What could be better than a temple gleaming in gold? One that’s studded with diamonds! And the sprawling Shwedagon Pagoda is a combination of both.

                              Every inch of its main stupa is covered in gold, with the upper parts showcasing more than 2,000 carats of diamonds along with other precious stones like rubies and sapphires. See if you can spot the 76-carat diamond sitting at its highest tip. On the same platform as this stupa are shrines, sculptures and prayer halls.

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                              shwe

                                16. Taktsang Dzong, Bhutan

                                Defying gravity is Taktsang Dzong (or Taktsang Monastery), a fortress set on the side of a granite cliff, just above clusters of blue pine and rhododendrons and with breathtaking views of the northern Palo valley. It actually also has a temple built inside a cave – believed to be the site where Guru Rinpoche landed when he introduced Buddhism to Bhutan.

                                Legend has it that he rode on the back of a flying tiger, giving rise to the monastery’s name, which in English, translates to Tiger’s Nest. You can hike from the riverbed below to the temple in three to four hours. Or, if you don’t feel like walking, you can arrange for a pony ride.

                                taks

                                  17. Temple of Heaven, Beijing

                                  The tranquil Temple of Heaven spans 267 hectares, making it the largest complex designed for sacrificial rituals to Heaven. That’s 92 ancient buildings housing 600 rooms, plus 4,000 ancient cypress trees!

                                  From its overall layout to the individual structures, the altar is designed to reflect the relationship between earth and Heaven. The notion that Heaven is round and the earth square, for instance, is depicted in the round temple halls with square bases and the semicircular and square forms of the northern and southern ends of the park, respectively.

                                  If you don’t have enough time to explore the grounds, just make sure you drop by the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and view its three-tiered marble terrace.

                                  heaven

                                    18. Wat Arun, Thailand

                                    For the best of riverside temples, seek out the majestic Wat Arun. Here, the main attraction is the 82-meter-high spire (or tower), which you’ll get to appreciate even more the moment you lay eyes on its colorful, ornate floral mosaics.

                                    The mosaics feature bits of colorful Chinese porcelain and seashells arranged in intricate patterns. At the base of this tower, you’ll find a variety of soldier and animal sculptures. To get the most out of your visit, also make it a point to spend some time exploring the temple’s green granite pavilions and the richly decorated Ordination Hall.

                                    wat

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                                      Ramanpreet Kaur

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                                      Last Updated on November 17, 2019

                                      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                                      20 Creative Ways To Say Thank You

                                      Saying, “Thank you,” can be difficult to do. Some things just demand a little something extra because of the magnitude of the favor or the depth of appreciation involved. But what can you do to say thank you in a meaningful way? Sometimes you have to get a little more creative than just firing off an email. Here are 20 creative ways to say thank you that your friends and family will remember and cherish!

                                      1. Make a gift bag.

                                      A unique, homemade gift bag with a custom label or a note is a simple but heartfelt way to show your appreciation for the wonderful things your friends or family have done for you.

                                      2. Give a toast.

                                      Many people fear public speaking more than death, giving this particular thank-you a little extra meaning. Composing a sincere, eloquent toast and delivering it is a nice way to show appreciation that truly comes from the heart.

                                      3. Write a poem.

                                      “Roses are red, violets are blue…” Uh, you could write that...but why not put a little extra zing in it? Find out what their favorite kind of poetry is: haiku, free verse, iambic pentameter, and so on. (Google them if you don’t know what they are.) Then write one that expresses why they deserve your thanks…and why you’re glad to give it!

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                                      4. Create your own labels.

                                      There are a number of websites that offer custom gift labels. Find one that fits your personality and that of your friends and create a personalized thank-you label!

                                      5. Give a gift card.

                                      Sometimes choosing what to give a friend can be tough. A gift card is a good way to get around this problem. As always, be sure to include a personalized note or card thanking the recipient for their friendship and help.

                                      6. Send a letter.

                                      Snail-mail is a largely lost art form. Don’t worry about how long the letter is, though. What really matters here is that you took the time to put pen to paper and express your feelings sincerely and honestly!

                                      7. Use social media to send a special message.

                                      If someone’s done something you think the whole world should know about, why not put out a social media blast? Use your blog, your Facebook, your Google+ account, and your Twitter to spread the word about why this person’s someone your friends will want to know too!

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                                      8. Make your own digital greeting card.

                                      While an email isn’t always the best way to go when saying thank you, a digital greeting card that you put time and effort into creating can really brighten someone’s day! Make the card reflect the recipient’s personality and compose a short message of thanks for their generosity.

                                      9. Make a YouTube video.

                                      Sometimes, actually hearing someone say, “Thank you,” can make all the difference. Why not take it a step further and create a special video of thanks for your friends, family, and those special people who helped make your day so important…or who helped you through that rough time?

                                      10. Deliver cookies or candies.

                                      Making something yourself is a fun and delightful way to say thank you to someone. Create a sampling of baked goods or homemade candies and decorate them with a simple message, or make them so they form letters! (Think Valentine’s candies, only situationally appropriate.) Attach a thank-you note or label and surprise those special people with the gift of your time and creativity.

                                      11. Make surprise gifts for guests.

                                      There’s no need to wait until “later” to send a thank-you message. Why not do it at the time? Create little gift packets or bags for your guests with surprises inside. This is a great way to say thanks to the people who attended your event, and make sure they won’t want to miss the next one!

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                                      12. Put together a flower basket.

                                      Whether you prefer fresh or artificial flowers, assembling a flower basket with a thank-you note is an excellent way to brighten someone’s day and show you appreciate them.

                                      13. Take a picture.

                                      Sometimes capturing the moment is the best way to put a smile on someone’s face. Have someone take a picture of you receiving that special gift or opening that surprise package and send the giver a copy with a quick but sincere note to say thanks!

                                      14. Repay their generosity by paying it forward.

                                      The best gifts come from the heart, and the best way to repay a gift is to pay it forward. If your friend has a special cause they care about or something they believe in passionately, why not make a donation in their name or volunteer some of your time to the cause? This will mean more than any number of cookies, candies, or thank-you notes because you’re taking your friend’s love and spreading it around to others.

                                      15. Do something special for them.

                                      Take them out to dinner. (See “make a toast.”) Give them that movie they’ve been wanting forever. Cook them dinner and give them a present when they arrive. Any of these are good options for showing someone you really appreciate them and how grateful you are to have them in your life.

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                                      16. Reciprocate their help.

                                      Everyone needs help sometime. Whether it’s holding their hand through a particularly traumatic incident or helping them replace the alternator in their car, being there when they need it shows you remember what they did for you and how much it meant. It also shows that you’re willing to be just as good a friend to them as they were to you!

                                      17. Be there for them.

                                      Not every thank-you gesture has to be a grand public spectacle. Sometimes just giving them a place to come hang out when they’re lonely or showing up to offer them a sympathetic shoulder means the world to a person.

                                      18. Listen to them.

                                      Listening is almost as lost an art as the handwritten letter. When your friend or family member needs to talk, listen to them. Ask questions when appropriate, but just letting them know you’re there and paying attention to them to the exclusion of all else for a little while is a great way to say thank you for the times they listened to you.

                                      19. Say it in another language…or two…

                                      A simple thank you is great…but why not spice it up a little? Instead of just saying, “Thank you,” write or make a video of you telling them thank you in different languages. Some examples might be, “Gracias! Merci! Danke schoen! Spasibo! Mahalo!” and any other ways or languages you can think of. (The ones listed above are Spanish, French, German, Russian, and Hawaiian, in case you were wondering.) If you want to really get tricky about it, say a short phrase in each language that conveys why you’re thanking them!

                                      20. Show them some love.

                                      A simple touch, a hug, or helping out when they need it without being asked may be the most powerful gratitude message you can send. Offer to take the dogs for a walk, sit for the kids for a few hours, or run to the grocery store so they don’t have to. The little things are often the most important and meaningful. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still send a note, but sometimes your simple presence and willingness to help is all that really matters.

                                      Featured photo credit: Hanny Naibaho via unsplash.com

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