Buddhism was founded in India in the 5th century, and is now one of the most prominent religions in the world. Buddhism is based on the teachings of the Nepalese preacher Siddhartha Gautama, otherwise known as “Buddha”. He believed ‘nirvana’ could be reached by the elimination of suffering and the apparent cycle of rebirth, and around 350m people across the globe now follow this beliefs. In honour of “Buddha”, many temples and monuments have been built, predominantly in Asia, and to this day they act as places of worship for his legions of followers.
Now let’s see what I consider to be the top 5 Buddhist monuments in the world, from 5-1:
5. The Shwedagon Pagoda is a temple complex in Yangon, Myanmar, and is the largest golden monument in the world dedicated to Buddhism. At all times of the day, Buddhist monks will be out in force praying around the temple. Its glittering gold can be seen from all over the former Burmese capital. For more information and photos, please check out my experience at Shwedagon Pagoda!
4. The Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal, is the holiest stupa on the sub-continent. The stupa contains a tall tower with prying eyes, which looks down over all of the city. The spectacular prayer flags all around make for a real visual treat! For more information and photos, please check out my experience at Boudhanath Stupa!
3. Candi Borobudur is a Buddhist temple and is located in Magelang Regency in Java, Indonesia, and is well known to be a tourist hotspot rather than a religious place of practice nowadays. It is mainly known for its giant stupas on the top levels of the temple and thousands of Buddha statues. For more information and photos, please check out my experience at Borobudur.
2. Taktsang Monastery in Paro, Bhutan, must surely be one of the most amazingly situated Buddhist monuments anywhere in the world! It was once partially destroyed by fire, but the rebuilding remains a working monastery, and is now very popular with tourists (well, for those brave enough to make the climb).
1. The Mahabodi Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is located in Bodh Gaya, India. It is said to be the place where Buddha gained enlightenment. The temple complex also contains a Holy Bodhi Tree. There can be no doubt, therefore, that this temple must be the ultimate Buddhist monument and pilgrimage site.
Thanks for reading about these great Buddhist monuments! Which was your favourite? This is intended to be a sister article to the Top 5 Hindu Temples in Asia.