For thousands of years the nations of Asia have been undertaking immensely stunning projects of architecture. Here are some of the lesser known, but remarkably breathtaking, temples of Asia.
5.Wat Rong Khun, Thailand
Wat Rong Khun stands out among other temples in Thailand. A modern-day architectural project, it will remain under construction for decades to come–long after the architect is dead. Wat Rong Khun, located near Chiang Rai, is entirely white; a symbol of purity that breaks with the usual bright colours of Thai temples. But here’s where it gets really strange. Inside the modern-day monument are paintings of modern day heroes: Neo from the Matrix, Superman, Batman and others. The architect believes these characters convey the message of Buddha.
4. Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar
Myanmar was once one of the most isolated nations on Earth, and has only recently opened up for tourism. So national treasures such as the Shwedagon Pagoda are lesser-known by many travellers. It’s rumoured that the pagoda is over 2,600 years old, which would make it the oldest in the world. At night it is brightly lit, and the golden hues that it reflects stun visitors.
3. Daejeonsa, South Korea
The beauty of Daejeonsa comes not only from its ancient Korean architectural style, but from its surroundings. Located in Juwangsan Mountain National Park, the temple is perfectly situation among the vast beauty of Korea’s mountainous terrain. Visitors to the temple can ascend the distinctive peaks that protrude from behind the temple for breathtaking views of untouched wilderness.
2. Xuan Kong Si, China
Situated precariously on a mountain’s edge, Xuan Kong Si is over 1,500 years old. Taoism suggests that one break away from the chaos of noise, and this temple takes the concept to a whole new level. Of course the design certainly protects the temple from flooding as well, which is another consideration in flood prone regions. It’s a place where three schools of thought combine: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Also vertigo.
1. Paro Taktsang, Bhutan
If you have a fear of heights, and Xuan Kong Si didn’t quite do it for you, I’m afraid it only gets worse. Also known as the Tiger’s Nest, Paro Taktsang sits quietly overlooking the Paro valley and nauseating heights of 3,120 metres (10,240 ft). It was said that in the eighth century, Guru Padmasambhava meditated on this spot for three years, three months, three weeks, three days, and three hours. In 1998 a fire broke out in the temple, killing one of the monks; one can only imagine the terror of being in a burning temple on the side of a mountain and having no escape. The damaged portions of the temple were rebuilt shortly thereafter, but the temple originally dates back to 1692. Unfortunately, the monastery is now off limits for tourists, and only Buddhists may enter on religious occasions.