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World's most beautiful temples

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54 places of worship and fascinating architectural pieces.
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Bangkok, Thailand
I had already begged a woman to write down the name of her ground—what, pork?—dish that first melted my brain. She scratched a couple Thai words on my notepad. Later, I learned she’d written “lunch.” Bangkok’s...
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Lake Chūzenji, Chugushi, Nikko, Tochigi 321-1661, Japan
The Chuzenji Temple in Oku-nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, was originally founded in 784 by a Buddhist monk known as Shodo-shonin and is located on the shore of Lake Chuzenji, which is approximately 1,300 meters above sea level. In the middle of the...
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On every trip, I try to ride my motorbike up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, a beautiful temple on the top of the mountain just outside of town. The view of the Chiang Mai valley is breathtaking on a clear day. I go to the shrine in the back of the...
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Better known as the Tomb Raider Temple since its starring role in the Hollywood movie of the same name, Ta Prohm has at least as much star quality as Angelina Jolie. Cloaked in dappled shadow and locked in the embrace of the vast root systems that...
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Jl. Ayodya No.10, Mengwi, Kec. Mengwi, Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80351, Indonesia
The temples in Bali, Indonesia are famous for their multi-tiered thatch roofs. This was taken at Pura Taman Ayun in the village of Mengwi. Visitors are not allowed to enter the temples - we could only view from outside the walls. Thankfully the...
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158 Thanon Wang Doem, Khwaeng Wat Arun, Khet Bangkok Yai, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10600, Thailand
Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) is a Buddhist temple in Bangkok's Yai district. It is situated on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The temple is one of the best known Thai landmarks. The mosaics which cover the temple create a pearly sheen during...
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Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The secret to having a good time in Bagan has nothing to do with getting there - all that takes is faith in a Burmese pilot and his ancient aircraft, or an unwavering belief that your 13-hour bus ride from Yangon will actually deliver you to the...
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Jalan Tun H S Lee, City Centre, 50000 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
These two young gentlemen were kind enough to let me take their portrait. After our photo session the one on the right gave me quick tour of this fabulous Hindu Temple.
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Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia
Crowds may swarm upon it daily from sunrise onwards, but exposure hasn’t dulled the impact of the largest religious monument in the world. Commissioned by King Suryavarman II in the 12th century as the centerpiece of the mighty Khmer empire,...
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22, 200 Nakhon Ratchasima Rd, Khwaeng Dusit, Khet Dusit, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10300, Thailand
I come often to this wat, also known as the Marble Temple. It was built by King Rama V in 1899. It’s one of the loveliest in the city, but it’s less crowded with tourists than wats farther south in Bangkok. —Tanongsak “Dtong” Yordwai See all of...
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68 Fukakusa Yabunouchichō, Fushimi-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 612-0882, Japan

Fushimi Inari Taisha on Inariyama mountain is dedicated to the Shinto gods of rice and sake, but Inari is also the god of merchants and that brings a lot of businesspeople to worship here. Everyone else stops by to see the thousands...

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Southern Asia
The Veerabhadra temple in Lepakshi, India (also simply known as the Lepakshi Temple), isn't the easiest place to get to. It's a 120 km journey north of Bangalore through rural villages. Your best bet for getting there is to hire a driver for the...
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Bagan, Myanmar (Burma)
The ancient history preserved in the architecture of Bagan provides a unique insight into some of the country's modern political struggles. Throughout Burmese history, religion and rulers have been inextricably linked. The temples of Bagan were...
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296 1 หมู่ 7 ถนน สุขุมวิท ตำบล บางปูใหม่ อำเภอเมืองสมุทรปราการ สมุทรปราการ 10280, Thailand
The Ancient City, or Muang Boran, is one of the world’s largest outdoor museums. It features a 200-acre city with 109 scaled down copies of Thailand’s most famous monuments and architectural attractions all in one place. Located in Samut Prakan...
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Jl. Raya Solo - Yogyakarta No.16, Kranggan, Bokoharjo, Kec. Prambanan, Kabupaten Sleman, Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta 55571, Indonesia
Go back in time with these partially ruined temples from the 9th century. Celebrating the hindu trinity (Brahma-Vishnu-Mahesh, Creator- Sustainer-Destroyer), these temples have seen their cycles of creation and destruction more than once.
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Angkor Thom, Cambodia
Carved bas relief on the walls of the Elephant Terrace near Angkor Thom, Cambodia.
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Aswan Governorate, Egypt
Traveling from Alexandria to Abu Simbel gives you an astonishing sense of Egypt and it's ancient treasures. Pyramids, tombs, and heiroglyphics are set on a burning hot backdrop of smoggy cities, tour busses, and one salesman after the next...
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100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091, USA
There is only one Baha'i temple in every continent. In North America, it's in the unexpected city of Wilmette, Illinois. Just a ten minute drive from Northwestern University, the Baha'i is open to the public, complete with a visitor center and...
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China, Gansu Sheng, Gannan Zangzuzizhizhou, Xiahe Xian, 人民东街
Xiahe has one of the largest functioning Tibetan Buddhist temples outside of the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) with 1,200 monks. Running around the perimeter is a succession of prayer wheels that make up the kora. As you walk (clockwise, always...
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ตำบล ป่าอ้อดอนชัย อำเภอเ มืองเชียงราย เชียงราย 57000, Thailand
While there’s no shortage of spectacular temples in Thailand – or Asia for that matter – one of my absolute favorites is without doubt the distinctive Wat Rong Khun. Perhaps better known by the name ‘The White...
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Kounxoau Rd, Ban Phonehueng 01160, Laos
It's impossible to not fall for the colors on the exterior of the Wat Xieng Thong (Temple of the Golden City) at that golden hour before sunset in Luang Prabang, Loas. I'd been working in nearby Vietnam for a few months and decided to take a solo...
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100 Linden Ave, Wilmette, IL 60091, USA
Suburban Chicago isn’t the first place that comes to mind when you think of major religious centers. But Wilmette, a small town located less than 10 miles north of the Windy City, is home to the only Bahá’í House of...
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The Golden Temple is found near the India/Pakistan border and is the holiest place of worship for the Sikhs. Never before or since, have I experienced a place where true faith is proven through a feeling of calm, happiness, peace, trust, respect,...
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Al Bairat, Luxor, Luxor Governorate, Egypt
Without the crowds busling through, we have access to compose some phenomenal shots and take advantage of the perfect light. Here, at Medinet Habu, Temple of Ramses III, we captured the detailed reliefs and vibrant color remaining on the columns...
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Noida Mor, Pandav Nagar, New Delhi, Delhi 110092, India
Explore 10,000 years of India's history, culture, architecture, and spirituality on over sixty acres of manicured grounds. Akshardham is an elaborate Swaminarayan temple complex that features an IMAX theater, musical fountains, sunken gardens, and...
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Orachha, Madhya Pradesh 472246, India
Orchha, located on the Betwa River in Madhya Pradesh, is known for the 15th century temples and palaces that dot the landscape. The shape of the towers is familiar - one sees it all over India, Southeast Asia, the Silk Road and into Spain - they...
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131 Fuchengmen Inner St, Xicheng Qu, Beijing Shi, China
It's easy to get temple fatigue in China. Many tourists make the mistake of trying to see as many temples as possible, as if checking them off an invisible checklist. If you want to add this temple to your list, it is a very famous one. It is...
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Kandy - Jaffna Hwy, Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Entrance to a Buddhist museum at the foot of the hill housing the Dambulla Cave Temples in Sri Lanka. Although quite a hike up to the top, the physical exertion is worth it to see the 5 caves, which contain hundreds of statues and paintings of...
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Mandir Marg, Near, Gole Market, New Delhi, Delhi 110001, India
The Laxminarayan Temple (also called the Birla Mandir) is an elaborate Hindu temple of red and white columns, artificial mountains, and waterfalls. The temple was inaugurated by Mahatma Gandhi with the condition that the site would be open to all...
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Calle de Ferraz, 1, 28008 Madrid, Spain
Stone by stone, second-century BC Debod Temple was reconstructed in Spain in an effort, called to action by UNESCO, to save its demise when the site was threatened by the construction of the Great Dam of Aswan. As a sign of gratitude for the help...
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JL Labuan Sait, Pantai Suluban (Blue Point Beach) Uluwatu, Pecatu, Kuta Selatan, Pecatu, Kec. Kuta Sel., Kabupaten Badung, Bali 80364, Indonesia
The monkeys that live here are very mischievious!!! Be careful...they will snatch water bottles and food right out of your hands and even sunglasses straight off your head! We even saw one with some unlucky visitors slippers !!!
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1 Tiantan E Rd, Dongcheng Qu, China, 100061
This complex of Taoist religious buildings was constructed in the early 15th century under the Yongle Emperor, who also commissioned the Forbidden City, just to the north. The temple's central building is the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests, a...
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The furthest west that the Romans reached was Volubilis, in northern Morocco. They are on the road from Meknes to Fez, and are open for touring for a small fee. A local guide is recommended.
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You might be surprised to see so many Indians in Fiji. Many arrived as indentured servants between 1879 and 1916, brought by the British to work on sugar cane plantations. Today, people of Indian heritage make up about 40% of the population. This...