10 most amazing Buddhist Temples and Statues
Travel to the Far East and uncover the mysterious history and magnificence of several of the regions greatest temples. Here are 10 temples we recommend you visit:
1. Borobudur - Java
Gazing over vibrant fields and faraway hills in central Java, Borobudur is a gorgeous Buddhist monument with a history as rich as its design. Known as the world’s largest Buddhist monument, Borobudur has become one of the wonders of the world, and it attracts travellers from all walks of life all across the world. Constructed in the 9th century during the rule of the Sailendra dynasty, the temple is embellished with thousands of relief panels and hundreds of Buddha statues. The architecture of the temple is impressive, with breathtaking stonework that did not require cement or mortar and a stunning three tired formation.
2. Wat Arun - Thailand
Also known as the ‘Temple of Dawn’, Wat Arun is one of Thailand’s most beautiful temples. The structure is located by the river and offers remarkable sunset views. It’s most striking features, the prang or spires were added in the early 19th century under King Rama II. The central prang is embossed with colourful porcelain, and all the prangs are decorated with seashells and bits of porcelain imported from China. The central prang is a representation for Mount Meru, the home of the gods important to Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and the four smaller prangs represent the four winds.
3. Wat Pho - Thailand
Wat Pho is known as the temple of the reclining Buddha and was first built as a restoration of an earlier temple in the 18th century. The temple is known as the birthplace of Thai massage and the national headquarters for teaching traditional Thai medicine. It also homes to the largest reclining Buddha, that depicts Buddha passing into Nirvana (Buddha’s death), and it houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand.
4. Angkor Wat - Cambodia
This outstanding temple is the largest religious monument in the world, and it demonstrates the quality of Khmer architecture. This formidable structure is a symbol of Cambodia, exemplifying the nation’s enchanting past. Angkor Wat was constructed initially as a Hindu temple, but by the late 13th century the temple became a religious meeting place for Theravada Buddhists. Great explorers of the past have rested their eyes on Angkor Wat’s devatas, bas-reliefs and pediments and announced it as a breathtaking construction that rivals ancient monuments found in Rome and Greece.
5. Pha That Luang - Laos
Pha That Luang is Laos’ most significant national monument. The temple was constructed around the 3rd century but has gone through many reconstruction efforts because of previous turmoil in the area. Buddhist missionaries are said to have come to this temple and placed a precious Buddhist relic in its midst, one of Buddha’s breastbones. The magnificent structure sits Vientiane like a golden luminous beacon of elegance of splendour, as well as demonstrating the culture and identity of Laos.
6. Giant Buddha of Leshan - China
Located in Sichuan China, the Giant Buddha of Leshan is a colossal Buddha statue that has been carved out of a cliff situated at the convergence of the Dadu, Minjiang and Qingyi rivers. The sculpture is a depiction of Maitreya in a sitting position, a future Buddha that is to enlighten the world when the Dharma is forgotten. This Giant Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world and has inspired a copious amount of songs, stories and poetry.
7. Shwedagon Pagoda - Myanmar
The Shwedagon Pagoda is the most revered Buddhist temple in Myanmar that is shrouded in mystery. There are no known records of when the Pagoda was built, but it currently holds relics of the last four Buddha’s. Embellished with thousands of diamonds and coated with hundreds of gold plates, the Shwedagon Pagoda is construction radiating artistry and elegance. The building is a centre for the religious community, a place where locals and monks come to worship and meditate.
8. Golden Buddha statue at Wat Traimit - Thailand
This striking statue is situated in the Temple of Wat Traimit in Bangkok, and it is known as the biggest solid gold statue in the world, weighing almost five and a half tons. The sculpture is estimated to be worth over 250 million dollars, and travellers from all over the world come to rest their eyes on Buddha in the traditional pose of Bhumisparsha Mudra, which is a pose that signifies the moment of Buddha’s enlightenment. The flame that crowns the ushnisha, the oval on top of Buddha’s head, signifies spiritual energy. Visit this interesting temple and uncover the story of this stunning Buddha and the building itself.
9. Thien Mu Pagoda - Vietnam
An icon of Vietnam, this pagoda is a significant structure that has played a vital part in Vietnam’s history. The pagoda was initially built in 1601 by Nguyen Hoang but has been reconstructed due to devastation several times. The temple houses several fascinating statues of Buddha, including the Buddha of the past, the historical Buddha, and the Buddha of the future. The pagoda has been a flashpoint of political demonstrations since the 1960s, making it an unofficial symbol of the city of Hue.
10. Avukana Buddha Statue – Sri Lanka
This statue is located near Kekirawa in north-central Sri Lanka, and it is made out of enormous granite rock. Constructed during the 5th century, the sculpture depicts the Abhayamudra, a pose that conveys reassurance and safety, dispelling fear. Legend has it the Buddha was constructed as a competition between master and pupil, and if so, the completion created a grand example of standing Buddha statues in Sri Lanka. The Buddha is now a popular tourist attraction of Sri Lanka and stands over the premises at a grand 40 feet.