Religions around the world have built temples to worship gods and goddesses since ancient times, a place of worship, spirituality and sacrifice. From floating shrines and prominent synagogues to golden monuments and elaborate shrines, we look at the stories behind these incredible buildings.
1# Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London, England
With its magnificent appearance resembling a shrine you can find in India, it is hard to believe that Sri Swaminarayan Temple is truly a hidden gem in London. The temple was built using over 5,000 tons of Italian Carrara and Indian marble and Bulgarian limestone and was hand-carved by India before being shipped to the English capital and opened in 1995. Also known as the Neasden Temple, it was the first Hindu stone temple in Europe.
2# Itsukushima Shrine, Hatsukaichi, Japan
On an island in the Gulf of Hiroshima, Japan, this mythical shrine appears to be floating on water. Centuries ago, the Shinto Temple was built as a holy site for Shintoism, a Japanese devotion to spiritual beings and Kami powers. Itzukushima Shrine is best known for its Tory Gate, which symbolizes the entrance to the shrine, which appears to float magically at low tide. The shrine was built in the 12th century by the powerful military leader Taira no Kiyomori. With its mythical appearance, this shrine has become a popular tourist hotspot.
3# Krishna Temple, Durban, South Africa
To the south of downtown Durban is this amazing Hindu temple in Chatsworth. Built and built in the 1980s, the Krishna Temple combines traditional, contemporary and futuristic styles and is often hailed as a masterpiece of architecture. Surrounded by its ornately decorated, lotus-shaped garden, including marble tiles from Portugal and oak from Japan, this temple is often regarded as one of the most beautiful on the African continent.
4# Virupaksha Temple, Hampi, India
Situated on a hillock on the south bank of the Tungabhadra River in southern India, this temple complex is believed to have been in operation since the 7th century. The shrine has been a place of worship for thousands of years and is dedicated to the local worship of Lord Shiva, one of the most famous deities in Hinduism.
5# Japanese Peace Pagoda, Unawatuna, Sri Lanka
Built by Buddhist monks in Japan in 2005, this magnificent monument is one of several dots built around the world to commemorate the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II in 1945. Such stupas have been built in India and beyond for centuries. As a stylistic representation of Mount Meru, the ancient world mountain that is considered the centre of the universe and the abode of the gods.
6# Temple of Poseidon, Cape Sounion, Greece
Situated on a rocky hilltop in the Cape Sounion in southern Greece, this ancient temple serves as a testament to the golden age of Athens. Poseidon Temple Built between 444-40 and dedicated to the god of the sea, it is believed to be part of a building project initiated by the Athenian statesman Pericles (493-29 BC). With its strategic hilltop location, the temple protected the shipping lanes that connected Athens with the rest of the world. This beautifully preserved shrine has attracted many visitors, including the famous 19th century English poet Lord Byron.
7# Wat Xieng Thong, Laos
Located in northern Laos, Wat Xieng Thong is one of the most important temples in the country. This temple was built in the middle of the 16th century by King Sethtathirath to commemorate the legendary King Chanthapanith. With its beautiful, gilded roof, ornate gold stencils and stunning sculptures, Wat Xieng Thong is often regarded as one of the most beautiful temples in Laos. This image depicts one of the temple’s colourful mosaic walls, with trees, animals, crops, and priests praying and sailing boats.
8# Trán Quóc Pagoda, Hanoi, Vietnam
Situated on a small island in the western lake of Hanoi, the Tyrann Kwok Pagoda has a history of over 1,500 years. Although a Buddhist temple has existed here since the 6th century, the present structures date back to the 17th century. During a visit to Hanoi in 1959, a Bo tree was planted from the cuttings of the original tree gifted by the President of India.
9# Eldridge Street Synagogue, New York, USA
The Eldridge Street Synagogue is one of the few remaining 19th – century buildings in the heart of New York City. Built by Eastern European Jews in 1887, the synagogue was one of the first buildings of its kind, and before its decline in the late 1920s, it became a haven for Jewish immigrants in the lower East. After a renovation project in the early 20th century, the Synagogue on Eldridge Street continues to be used as a place of worship as well as a museum to explore its history.
10# Boudhanath, Kathmandu, Nepal
Dominated in the northeastern district of Kathmandu, Nepal, this spectacular stupa is about 118 feet (36 m) high. Buddhanath serves as a symbolic reminder of the Buddha’s path to enlightenment. The base represents the earth, its slopes are spherical water, the square tower is fiery, and the pointed end is air. According to some sources, the soup was originally intended to house the relics of the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama. Boudhanath has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979 and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the province.
11# The Golden Temple, Amritsar, India
Located in the city of Amritsar in India, this glittering shrine derives its name from its magnificent gold-plated exterior. The Golden Temple, built between the 16th and 17th centuries, was built to create a central place of worship for the Sikhs. The temple has a turbulent history, it was covered with marble and copper strips in the early 19th century and destroyed several times by the Afghan invaders until it was rebuilt. Later it became the Golden Temple.
Cover Image – pinterest.com