Temples, Devotees and Rituals Enrich Travel to Asia
From the holy city of Varanasi in India, to the world’s largest Buddhist monument in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, to the Emerald Buddha in Thailand, this divine list of the top ten temples, shrines and places of worship portrays Asia’s most intriguing sacred sites:
1. TAKTSHANG MONASTERY (Bhutan) - Easily Bhutan’s most iconic temple and the country’s most sacred spot, Tigers Nest monastery clings dramatically to a cliff almost 3,000 feet above the Paro Valley floor.
2. VARANASI (India) - It is said that this holy city for Hindus rests on the trident of Lord Shiva and a ritual cleansing in the holy waters of the Ganges at Varanasi absolves the believer of all sins, enabling a higher birth in the next life. Millions of Hindus make their way here annually and so do travelers from around the world.
3. SHWEDAGON PAGODA (Myanmar/Burma) - Sheathed in gold plates and topped by a 76-carat diamond, the great golden dome that rises 322 feet above its base in Yangon is Burma’s most sacred site, visited by Buddhist worshippers and monks daily. You can perform a clockwise walk around the complex that is believed to have been constructed over 2,500 years ago, praying at various stations, to complete a personal pilgrimage.
4. DAMBULLA (Sri Lanka) - The most impressive of Sri Lanka’s cave temples, Dambulla is a World Heritage site consisting of five caves with over 6,000 square feet of painted walls and ceilings, creating the largest continuous series of paintings in the world.