The dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Bangkok. It’s one must-see sight that no visit to the city would be complete without. It was built in 1782 and for 150 years was the home of the Thai King, the Royal court and the administrative seat of government.
The Grand Palace of Bangkok is a grand old dame indeed, that continues to have visitors in awe with its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of the Thai people. Within its walls were also the Thai war ministry, state departments, and even the mint. Today, the complex remains the spiritual heart of the Thai Kingdom.
Wat Saket in Bangkok Old Town is an Ayutthaya-era shrine with a gleaming gold chedi in Bangkok. Also called the Golden Mount, it occupies an 80-metre-tall man made hill that was built during the reign of King Rama III. The temple welcomes worshippers year-round, though it’s busiest during its annual temple fair in November, during Loy Krathong. The temple grounds have mature trees and typical Buddhist structures such as a main prayer hall, ordination hall and library.
Wat Saket was the capital's crematorium and the dumping ground for some 60,000 plague victims in the late-18th century. At the base of the Golden Mount, you’ll find an unusual cemetery covered in vines and overgrown trees. It emits a rather spooky out-of-era vibe. Once you arrive at the top of Wat Saket, you’ll be surrounded by a wall of bells and panoramas of Bangkok Old Town.
The charm of ancient city of Ayutthaya Thailand continues to gain tourists’ attention as a historic attraction. Not only the old moments but also the new things that shine.
When it comes to historical buildings, Ayutthaya travel is well known for temples and palaces. But in addition to that, a variety of food is also another magnet. You can find fresh river prawns, fish, noodles, and even the never-miss dessert like cotton candy wrap. So, remember to plan your eating trip whenever you visit Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya is one of Thailand’s historical and majestic highlights. The capital of Thailand, then known as the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya was a glorified as one of the biggest cities in Southeast Asia and a regional power for 417 years.
The Marble Mountains are a cluster of five hills made from limestone and marble in Da Nang. It's also a well-known pilgrimage site with peaks, caves, tunnels and temples all just waiting to be discovered. Named after the elements metal, wood, water, fire and earth, Marble Mountains exist in a coastal area that is renowned for stone-cutting and sculpture about 9km south of Da Nang.
The caves within the mountains hold many secrets including bullet holes from when troops used to spy on the US soldiers relaxing on My Khe Beach below and buildings standing within the caves and grottoes. There are also Buddhist sanctuaries and places of worship dotted across the mountains which are a much-visited spiritual site. You can even see a special circular cave here. It leads to the summit, where you can enjoy spectacular panoramic views.
The Perfume Pagoda, known locally as Chua Huong or ‘inner temple’, is at the centre of a very revered and sacred site featuring a maze of mainly Buddhist temples built into the limestone cliffs of Huong Tich. At the heart of this complex lies the Perfume Temple or Perfume Pagoda in the Huong Tich Cave.
It is believed that the first temple was built here in the 15th century, although legend declares that the site was actually discovered over 2,000 years ago by a Buddhist monk who was meditating nearby. The mountain foothills are an area of great natural and spiritual beauty filled with streams, tropical plants and temples.
There are many pagodas to visit, each offering a different shrine, most of which are Buddhist although one or two are animist. The Perfume Pagoda attracts pilgrims and tourists seeking good luck from the stalagmites and stalactites inside the cave which have been named according to the individual blessing they can bestow. Dun Tien offers prosperity and Nui Co offers the chance of giving birth to a girl whilst Dun Gao translates as a ‘rice stack’ to those hoping for a bountiful harvest.
Bright Filial Piety Temple has a long history of more than 1700 years. It is a temple with the longest history and largest scale in Lingnan area.
It was originally built as the residence of Zhao Jiande, an offspring of Zhao Tuo, the Nanyue King in the Western Han Dynasty. In the period of the Three Kingdoms, Yu Fan, a lord in the Wu State, when he was relegated to the Southern Sea, he gave lectures here and hence the Guangxiao Temple was called "Yu Yuan" at that time. The temple was also called "He Lin" because of a great many myrobalan trees there.
After Yu Fan's death, his family denoted the residence as a temple and made a slab saying "Zhizhi", and that was the very beginning of the Guangxiao Temple. Bright Filial Piety Temple has a long history and therefore there are a lot of antiques. The Grief Bell which was first set up in the 2nd year of Baoli in the Tang Dynasty (826 A. D.) is in the shape of mushroom and is made of stone with Hercules' embossments around. Those embossments are vivid in facial expressions and well shaped and elegant in postures so that they completely represent the soul of Buddhism.
As one of Hong Kong’s most famous and popular temples, Wong Tai Sin Temple is not only famous among locals, but also very well-known among Chinese from all around the world. This has mainly to do with the history and myths behind this unique temple.
This place is situated in Jadugora of Potka block. The temple of Rankini, it is said was formerly situated on a rock where human sacrifices used to be offered to her, the belief being that the Goddess herself killed the victims. The priests during those days mainly hailed from Bhumij Caste.
The Mahabodhi Mahavihara or more popularly known as the Bodhgaya Temple or the Great Stupa, is one of the shrines out of the 84000 shrines erected by King Asoka the Great in the 3rd century B.C. The Mahabodhi Mahavihara is the sole surviving example of what was once an architectural genre.
Situated on the banks of Krishna River, Kanaka Durga Temple is nestling on top of Indrakiladri hill. The origin of the temple is unknown and it is believed that the deity of the temple is 'Swayambhu', that is self manifested. Hence the deity is believed to be immensely strong.
One of the world's most important spiritual sites is home to the historic birthplace of the Buddha. Today you can visit over 25 international Buddhist monasteries, study Buddhism, meditation and visit Buddha's birthplace itself within the sacred Mayadevi Gardens!
Kashi Vishwanath Temple is one of the most famous temple in Varanasi, also known as the Golden temple dedicated to the Lord Shiva. It was constructed in the year 1780 by the Maratha monarch, Maharani Ahilyabai Holkar of the Indore.
arnath is a famous place in Varanasi and it is the destination for cultures like Hindu, Buddha and Jain. Sarnath is the place where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma then Buddhist Sangha has originated as well as came into existence because of the enlightenment of Kondanna.
Kabir Math is located at Lahartara, Varanasi on the Saint Kabir road. Kabir Jayanti is specially celebrated at the Kabir math every year. Many people come to the Kabir math to take part in the Kabir Jayanti celebration
Hsinchu City god Temple (Chenghuang Temple) is regarded as the highest-ranking of all City God temples in Taiwan, due to the superior spiritual power of its City God in protecting the town. In front of the temple is a market with a lot of small stalls selling delicious Taiwanese snacks, including rice noodles, meat balls, thick cuttlefish broth, and Zhuqian Biscuit (Zhuqian is the original name of Hsinchu).
Hsinchu is famous for a number of specialty foods, especially Hsinchu rice noodles, which are produced in Nanshr Village, Hsinchu City. Another famous product of Hsinchu is shiangfen, a traditional cosmetic powder which was used by women throughout Taiwan before the arrival of foreign-style cosmetic products. The powder is also used in offerings to Qiniangma, the guardian spirit of children. Only one store, run by the Tsai Family in Julian Street, still produces this powder. Although there are many stalls from which Hsinchu meatballs can be purchased, many are concentrated around the Chenghuang Temple.
Daming temple was initially erected in 457 to 464 A.D of the Southern Song Dynasty. During the changes of dynasties, the temple had several name changes and were demolished at least three times by fire or by political chaos.
Tana Toraja is safely protected beyond the lofty mountains and rugged granite cliffs of the central highlands of the island of Sulawesi and the home of the Toraja people. 'Discovered' and opened to the world from their long isolation only since the beginning of the last century, the Toraja today still adhere to their age-old beliefs, rituals and traditions. The nobility of Toraja are believed to be descendants of heavenly beings who came down by a heavenly stairway to live here on earth in this beautiful landscape. To keep up the energy of the land and its people, the Toraja people believe that these must be sustained through rituals that celebrate both life and death, which are attached to the agricultural seasons. Tourists to Toraja, therefore, are either attracted by its unique culture and rituals, most of which are mostly centered around graves and death ceremonies. While others prefer to avoid the morbid images and go trekking through the spectacular, almost untouched Toraja countryside visiting remote villages, or exhilarate in rafting the Sa'dan river rapids.
Tanah Lot is one of Bali’s directional temples, and is situated on a rock in the ocean, just offshore. From all the beautiful temples on Bali, Tanah Lot is quite special and for many one of the "must-things-to-do".
It is said that Pura Tanah Lot has been built on the recommendation of an important Hindu priest Danghyang Nirartha in the 16th century, who has shaped Bali's Hinduism and religious architecture for the centuries to come.
Tanah Lot is a very important site for pilgrimages and plays an important role in Balinese spiritualism and mythology. The rock that the temple sits on has been eroded by the ocean over the centuries, and is now undergoing a process of restoration.
This stunning pagoda is the oldest and highest wooden structure in China. Regarded as the ‘First Pagoda in the World’ and a gem in the architectural field, it was built during the Liao Dynasty (about 1056), and has been around for about 900 years.
Chamunda Mataji was Rao Jodha’s favourite goddess and so her idol was bought to the Mehrangarh Fort. Thus, the fort became a place of worship and was turned into a temple. Since then, locals have followed the culture of worshipping Chamunda Mata.
Gandan is the largest and most significant monastery in Mongolia and one of Ulaanbaatar 's most interesting sights.
Built in the mid 19th century, it is the only monastery where Buddhist services continued to function even during the communist past. Temples are flocked by visitors during religious services that start at 10 a.m. and last until midday.
The Migjid Janraisig Temple is an important part of the Gandan Monastery. The temple houses the majestic new gilded statue of Migjid Janraisig, decorated with jewels. This 26-meter high 20-ton statue is a copy of another statue that was destroyed in the 1920s by communists. The statue was built with donations of Mongolian people as a symbol of Buddhist revival in the mid-1990s.
The ancient temple of Saidaiji Kannon-in was built around 1,200 years ago. Walking along the approach, visitors will pass by rows of traditional shops before entering the shrine’s gate and arriving at the main hall.
In Osaka, the shrine is known affectionately as "Sumiyossan." Every year, from January 1st to 3rd, the shrine welcomes more than 2 million people for Hatsumode, the traditional first shrine visit of the year. The head shrine for Japan's approximately 2,300 Sumiyoshi shrines, Sumiyoshi Taisha is the most important shrine in the Osaka area. Praying to the gods here is believed to ensure maritime safety, as well as good luck in farming, waka poetry, martial arts, and sumo wrestling, and to ward off disasters of all kinds. Built more than 1,800 years ago, the buildings are arranged to resemble a fleet of ships headed out to sea. The shrine was built in an architectural style known as Sumiyoshi-zukuri, the oldest style used in shrine construction, and is registered as a national treasure. Sumiyoshi Taisha has more than 30 auxiliary shrines, as well as a number of festivals and rituals, including Sumiyoshi Matsuri. The grounds of the shrine are carefully preserved as a national treasure and important cultural property for their architectural and cultural value.
Shitennoji (四天王寺, Shitennōji) is one of Japan's oldest temples and the first-ever to be built by the state. It was founded in 593 by Prince Shotoku, who supported the introduction of Buddhism into Japan. Although the temple's buildings burned down several times throughout the centuries, they were always carefully reconstructed to reflect the original 6th-century design.
The outer temple grounds are free to enter, but admission to the inner precinct, the Gokuraku-Jodo Garden and the treasure house is paid. In the pebble covered courtyard of the inner precinct stand a five-storied pagoda that can be entered and ascended and the Main Hall (Kondo) in which Prince Shotoku is enshrined as a statue of Kannon.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is one of Kyoto’s top sights and for good reason: standing amid these soaring stalks of bamboo is like being in another world.
If you’ve been planning a trip to Kyoto, you’ve probably seen pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove – along with the torii tunnels of Fushimi-Inari-Taisha Shrine and Kinkaku-ji Temple, it’s one of the most photographed sights in the city. But no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.
The best way to explore the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is by following our Arashiyama Bamboo Grove Walking Tour, which outlines the best route to follow.
Tenryuji (天龍寺, Tenryūji) is the most important temple in Kyoto's Arashiyama district. It was ranked first among the city's five great Zen temples, and is now registered as a world heritage site. Tenryuji is the head temple of its own school within the Rinzai Zen sect of Japanese Buddhism.
Tenryuji was built in 1339 by the ruling shogun Ashikaga Takauji. Takauji dedicated the temple to Emperor Go-Daigo, who had just passed away. The two important historical figures used to be allies until Takauji turned against the emperor in a struggle for supremacy over Japan. By building the temple, Takauji intended to appease the former emperor's spirits.
Ryoanji Temple (龍安寺, Ryōanji) is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden, which attracts hundreds of visitors every day. Originally an aristocrat's villa during the Heian Period, the site was converted into a Zen temple in 1450 and belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, whose head temple stands just a kilometer to the south.
As for the history of Ryoanji's famous rock garden, the facts are less certain. The garden's date of construction is unknown and there are a number of speculations regarding its designer. The garden consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. An interesting feature of the garden's design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.
The image of the temple richly adorned in gold leaf reflects beautifully in the water of Kyokochi, the mirror pond.
It is perhaps the most widely-recognized image of Kyoto. Seen reflected in the adjoining "mirror pond" with its small islands of rock and pine, Kinkaku-ji Temple, "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion," is a breathtaking must-see.
The building's first purpose was to serve the retiring Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1409) as a residence. The gold-leaf-adorned building was converted into a Zen temple shortly after his death. In an event that was later fictionalized by the renowned author Yukio Mishima, a 21-year-old monk burned Kinkakuji down in 1950. The temple was rebuilt in 1955 and continues to function as a storehouse of sacred relics.
The temple's garden is also a scenic delight and contains in its grounds a charming teahouse.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (Fushimi Inari Taisha) is an important Shinto shrine in southern Kyoto. It is famous for its thousands of vermilion torii gates, which straddle a network of trails behind its main buildings. The trails lead into the wooded forest of the sacred Mount Inari, which stands at 233 meters and belongs to the shrine grounds.
Fushimi Inari is the most important of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari, the Shinto god of rice. Foxes are thought to be Inari's messengers, resulting in many fox statues across the shrine grounds. Fushimi Inari Shrine has ancient origins, predating the capital's move to Kyoto in 794.
While the primary reason most foreign visitors come to Fushimi Inari Shrine is to explore the mountain trails, the shrine buildings themselves are also attractive. At the shrine's entrance stands the Romon Gate, which was donated in 1589 by the famous leader Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Behind stands the shrine's main hall (honden) where visitors should pay respect to the resident deity by making a small offering.
Kiyomizudera ("Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto, and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools within Japanese Buddhism, but formed its own Kita Hosso sect in 1965. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO world heritage sites.
Part of the fun of visiting Kiyomizudera is the approach to the temple along the steep and busy lanes of the atmospheric Higashiyama District. The many shops and restaurants in the area have been catering to tourists and pilgrims for centuries, and products on sale range from local specialties such as Kiyomizu-yaki pottery, sweets and pickles to the standard set of souvenirs.
The Higashiyama district together with Kiyomizudera, Yasaka Shrine and other temples in the area, have special evening illuminations during the annual Hanatoro event held in mid March. Kiyomizudera also has special illuminations during the autumn leaf season in the second half of November.
Sensoji (浅草寺, Sensōji, also known as Asakusa Kannon Temple) is a Buddhist temple located in Asakusa. It is one of Tokyo's most colorful and popular temples. The legend says that in the year 628, two brothers fished a statue of Kannon, the goddess of mercy, out of the Sumida River, and even though they put the statue back into the river, it always returned to them. Consequently, Sensoji was built nearby for the goddess of Kannon. The temple was completed in 645, making it Tokyo's oldest temple.
When approaching the temple, visitors first enter through the Kaminarimon (Thunder Gate), the outer gate of Sensoji Temple and the symbol of Asakusa and the entire city of Tokyo.
Various events are held throughout the year in the Sensoji Temple area. The biggest of them is the Sanja Matsuri, the annual festival of the Asakusa Shrine, held in May. Other events are the Asakusa Samba Carnival in August and the Hagoita-ichi (Hagoita Market) at which decorated wooden paddles used in the traditional game of hanetsuki are sold.
The 19th-century Amir Chakhmaq Complex with its imposing three-story facade is one of the abundant tourist hotspots of Yazd, an oasis city in central Iran. Located on a square of the same name, the prominent complex is noted for its eye-catching rows of symmetrical sunken alcoves, which are perfectly lit up following the sunset.
The structures that make up the complex include a mosque, a caravanserai, a bathhouse, a cold-water well and a tekyeh where Shiite Muslims come together for observing special religious ceremonies, all of which have been designed in accordance with traditional layout principles.
The perfectly proportioned niches on the façade may seem at their best and most photogenic late in the afternoon, when towering exterior appears to glow against the darkening sky and copper-coloured sunlight is captured within each alcove.
A pedestrianized square overlooking the complex is usually full of visitors. It is landscaped with a vast pool, illuminated fountains, well-manicured trees and shrubs that lend an attractive foreground to the splendid vista at night.
The ancient red rock formations of Kata Tjuta rise from the dusty land to make an incredible sight in Central Australia. Witness the spectacular rocks as they appear to change colour and immerse yourself in the Aboriginal stories of this special place, 500 million years in the making. Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is jointly managed by its Anangu traditional owners and Parks Australia. Kata Tjuta is sacred to the Anangu people, who have inhabited the area for more than 22,000 years. The sandstone domes of Kata Tjuta are believed to be about 500 million years old
The Chinese Temple was built in 1940 by the shire's Chinese population who were drawn to the agricultural industry and the gold rushes of the region.
Far North Queensland is a very special part of Australia. It is lush and Tropical with green intrusive mountains complementing the adjoining blue-water Great Barrier Reef. Innisfail is situated in the heart of Far North Queensland, and it is to this area that peoples from across the globe migrated, to share in Nature's bounty.
The Chinese were one such small group and contributed to the community with their industrious ways and a subtle spiritual and cultural centre, referred to as the "Joss House", but now more appropriately named as the "Innisfail Temple".
Mada’en Saleh, also known as Al Hijr, is a series sandstone outcrop of various sizes and heights surrounded by a ring sand mountains. It is a pre-Islamic archaeological site located in the Al-Ula sector, within the Al Madinah Region of Saudi Arabia.