Religions have influenced many people’s lives which is why there are many largest religious monuments. For countries that are devoted to their religions, they have built a lot of monuments to dedicate to their Gods. That is why we have 10 largest religious monuments in the world to talk about today. Each monument has fascinating carvings and constructions that make them unique and marvelous in their own ways. So let’s take a look and see if you know any of the largest religious monuments in the world we introduce today.
1Angkor Wat Temple
Location: Siem Reap Province, Cambodia
Constructed: 12th Century
Being one of the world’s largest religious monuments in the world, Angkor Wat is also the largest temple in the world. This astonishing temple was built by Khmer King Suryavarman II as his state temple and eventual mausoleum as well as the capital city. Nowadays, the temple is the symbol of Cambodia as it appears on the national flag of the country.
Due to the tradition of previous kings back then, Angkor Wat was originally a Hindu temple dedicated to the god Vishnu. Later, the temple gradually transformed into a Buddhist temple since the 12th century until today. Angkor Wat temple lies 5.5 kilometers north of Siem Reap, and the temple was built from smooth stones without mortar yet with very tight joints. The whole monument was made out of 5 million to 10 million sandstone blocks with a maximum of 1.5 tons each. As a matter of fact, the entire city of Angkor used up far greater amounts of stone than all the Egyptian pyramids combined.
Every single wall and pillar of the temple is decorated with carvings that tell stories about wars, wisdom, and history. Also, there are sculptures of Gods, Apsaras (dancing angels), and more characters from the past surrounded and in the temple. Angkor Wat temple is among the 7 Wonders of the world, and it is a huge pride for Cambodian people. The temple attracts millions of tourists each year, and there are also hundreds more temples that tourists can explore in Siem Reap province.
Location: Central Java, Indonesia
Constructed: 9th Century
With the combination of Javanese Buddhist architecture and Indonesian indigenous, Borobudur is a Mahayana Buddhist temple built with the concept of attaining Nirvana. The whole monument is a shrine to the Lord Buddha and a place for Buddhist pilgrimage. So the pilgrim journey begins at the base of the monument, and follows by a path to the top through 3 levels of Buddhist cosmology. That includes the world of desire, the world of forms, and the world of formlessness. On the monument lies hundreds of stupas that create spectacular views to see. The structure plan takes the form of a mandala which is neat and beautiful, and you will surely love to see this monument.
Location: Kathmandu, Nepal
Constructed: 5th Century
Boudhanath is neither a temple nor a monastery but a massive stupa that is very important for Buddhists in Tibet and Nepal. Having stood for hundreds of years as a beacon of Buddhist belief, the stupa is known as a giant mandala of peace and beauty. This large religious monument is said to have been built just after the passing of the Buddha. The stupa is one of the most ancient, largest, and most magnificent stupas in the world. At the same time, it is also the most important place of pilgrimage and worship for Buddhists all over the world.
This Great Stupa is believed to symbolize the Mind of all the Buddhas. Meaning whoever prostates and circumambulates with a pure heart at the Great Stupa will create good karma resulting in the fulfillment of their wishes. The interesting part is the design of the eyes of the Buddha in all 4 directions of the top part of the stupa. There are also statues of Buddhas at all 4 corners and 1 on top of the stupa as well. The statues are to represent the 5 special elements of the path to Nirvana. The first stupa was built sometime after 600D, and the current stupa structure was built in the 14th century.
Location: Istanbul, Turkey
Hagia Sophia, the Temple of the Holy Wisdom of God, is an extraordinary religious architecture ever build. The temple was built at the request of Byzantine Emperor Justinian I, and it is the largest Cathedral in the world back then. The construction is in a rectangular shape, and the interior of Hagia Sophia bears the mark of both Christian and later Islamic influences. Also, the interior is decorated with mosaics and marble pillars along with coverings of artistic value. The combination of ancient design with modern renovation makes Hagia Sophia one of the main tourist sites in Turkey.
Location: Normandy, France
Having been standing for more than a millennium, Mont-Sain-Michel is one of the most impressive works of religious architecture in the world. You can see the beauty of the structure from every angle and even from the above, simply astonishing. This Europe’s most unforgettable sight attracts around 3 million tourists per year. The monastery is located on an island that you can see even from great distances. There is no doubt why Mont-Sain-Michel is popular, the construction and the design are mesmerizing. You can see the beauty right from the distance, let alone getting closer. There are a lot more sites and attractions that tourists can explore and experience, you should consider going there as well.
Location: Bodhgaya India
Constructed: Between 2nd & 3rd Century
Mahabodhi Temple is the first temple to be built from brick to dedicate to Buddhism that is still standing today. This ancient religious temple is in the exact location where the Budhha is said to have attained enlightenment. Since the site contains a descendant of the Bodhi Tree, it has been a major pilgrimage destination for Buddhists for over 2000 years now. Apart from the wonderful temple, there is also a huge Buddha statue with his right hand holding the earth. The structure of the temple is absolutely beautiful, and there are many things to see and learn from Buddhism there.
Location: Athen, Greece
The Parthenon is the temple built when the Athenian Empire was at the peak of its power. The temple was the dedication to the goddess Athena who was the patron of the people of Athens. Parthenon is the enduring symbol of Ancient Greece, Athenian Democracy, and Western Civilization. The origin of the name Parthenon is from the Greek word meaning “unmarried women’s apartments”. The construction of the building is in Greek style, and the architecture is so wonderful. Even though some parts of the monument are damaged, Parthenon is still one of the best monuments to see.
8Pyramid of Giza
Location: Giza, Egypt
Constructed: 2560 B.C
You might wonder why the Great Pyramid of Giza is here since it is more like a tomb. However, the pyramids play a significant role in the religious beliefs and practices of the Egyptian people. The pyramid was the place of rebirth for the ka or the soul. Unbelievable as it may sound, the pyramid is built by farmers during the flood seasons. With stones weighing over 2 tons each, the pyramid is one of the most amazing constructions in the world. The mathematical precision with which the pyramid was built was so perfect there is no doubt it is one of the 7 Wonders of the world.
9Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple
Location: Tamil Nadu, India
Constructed: 11th Century
The Ranganathaswamy Temple is the temple with the largest temple tower and most entrances in the world. This Hindu temple was built to dedicate to Ranganatha who is a reclining form of the Hindu deity Vishnu. The structure of the temple makes it the largest temple compound in India, and one of the largest religious monuments in the world. The interesting about this temple complex is the shrine, there are more than 50 of them. The best shrine of them all is the shrine of Garuda which is the biggest Garuda shrine in the world. There are a lot of things to see there, and this temple complex is one of the must-see monuments.
Location: Lantau Island, Hong Kong
The combination of the large bronze statue of Buddha Shakyamuni and Po Lin Monastery makes the place mesmerizing to see. The statue is the symbol of harmonious relationship between men and nature, people and faith. The statue is 34 meters high, and weighs 250 tons, and it is also the largest Buddhist statue in the world as well. The right hand of the Buddha is raised to carry the sorrow while the left hand is open on his lap to represent happiness.
You can see the statue across the bay from Macau on a clear day. For visitors, they have to climb 268 steps to reach the Buddha. There are 3 floors beneath the statue including The Halls of the Universe, Benevolent Merit, and of Remembrance. The fascinating thing is the huge carved bell in the showroom that is inscribed with images of Buddhas. The bell was designed to ring every seven minutes which equals 108 times a day to symbolize the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.
The Monastery and the Buddha are open to the public between 10AM and 5:30PM, and access outside the Buddha is free of charge. If you want to go inside the Buddha to see more, there is an admission fee for that. Visitors can reach the site by bus or taxi, and it will be a long journey that totally worth your time.
Related Post: Amazing Structures In History That Took Year To Build