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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

                                      Currently a student but don't know what direction to go in: Let us see if writing gets me anywhere :)

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                                      Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                      10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                      There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                                      One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                                      In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                                      Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                                      1. Cat Camel Stretch

                                      Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                                      Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                                      Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                                      Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                                      2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                                      This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                                      Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                                      The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                                      Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                                      Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                                      3. Jumping Jacks

                                      Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                                      Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                                      4. Abductor Side Lifts

                                      Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                                      Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                                      5. Balancing Table Pose

                                      This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                                      Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

                                      ablab

                                        6. Leg Squats

                                        Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                                        Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                                        The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                                        7. Push Ups

                                        You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                                        An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                                        Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                                        This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                                        8. Bicycle Crunches

                                        There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                                        Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                                        9. Lunges

                                        Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                                        Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                                        This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                                        10. Bicep Curls

                                        You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                                        Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                                        Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                                        Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                                        Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                                        These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                                        You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                                        Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                                        More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                                        Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                        Reference

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