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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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                                      Published on November 14, 2018

                                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                      Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

                                      With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

                                      For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

                                      In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

                                      Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

                                      Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

                                      It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

                                      For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

                                      Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

                                      Symptoms of Fatigue

                                      Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

                                      • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
                                      • mental blocks
                                      • lack of motivation
                                      • headache
                                      • dizziness
                                      • muscle weakness
                                      • slowed reflexes and responses
                                      • impaired decision-making and judgement
                                      • moodiness, such as irritability
                                      • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
                                      • reduced immune system function
                                      • blurry vision
                                      • short-term memory problems
                                      • poor concentration
                                      • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

                                      Causes of Fatigue

                                      The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

                                      • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
                                      • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
                                      • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
                                      • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

                                      Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

                                      Medical Causes of Fatigue

                                      If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

                                      Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

                                      Anemia

                                      Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

                                      Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

                                      There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

                                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

                                      Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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                                      This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

                                      Diabetes

                                      Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

                                      Sleep Apnea

                                      Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

                                      Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

                                      Thyroid disease

                                      An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

                                      Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

                                      • Lack of sleep
                                      • Too much sleep 
                                      • Alcohol and drugs 
                                      • Sleep disturbances 
                                      • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
                                      • Poor diet 

                                      Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

                                      • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
                                      • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
                                      • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
                                      • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

                                      Psychological Causes of Fatigue

                                      Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

                                      • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
                                      • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
                                      • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

                                      How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

                                      Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

                                      1. Tell The Truth

                                      Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

                                      To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

                                      Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

                                      The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

                                      One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

                                      • How you feel
                                      • What time of day it is
                                      • What may have contributed to your fatigue
                                      • How your mind and body reacts

                                      This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

                                      2. Reduce Your Commitments

                                      When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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                                      If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

                                      When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

                                      Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

                                      3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

                                      If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

                                      Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

                                      If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

                                      Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

                                      Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

                                      4. Express More Gratitude

                                      Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

                                      It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

                                      Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

                                      5. Focus On Yourself

                                      Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

                                      There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

                                      But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

                                      We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

                                      6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

                                      Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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                                      Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

                                      The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

                                      Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

                                      7. Take a Power Nap

                                      When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

                                      Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

                                      This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

                                      8. Take More Exercise

                                      The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

                                      Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

                                      The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

                                      You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

                                      9. Get More Quality Sleep

                                      To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

                                      Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

                                      My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

                                      10. Improve Your Diet

                                      Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

                                      Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

                                      On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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                                      To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

                                      Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

                                      Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

                                      11. Manage Your Stress Levels

                                      Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

                                      When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

                                      Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

                                      My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

                                      12. Get Hydrated

                                      Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

                                      Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

                                      If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

                                      The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

                                      The Bottom Line

                                      These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

                                      If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

                                      Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                                      Reference

                                      [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
                                      [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
                                      [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
                                      [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
                                      [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
                                      [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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