Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples & Monasteries Worldwide

Buddhism is one of the influential religion in the world. Buddhism is not only established as a religion but it also inaugurates philosophies that play an important role in the history of philosophy. It was evolved in northeastern India in the 5th century BC as a counter of Hindu religion (Santan Dharma).

Buddhism is based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, commonly known as “The Buddha”, who was born in Nepal. The purpose of Buddha was to overcome Dukkha (sorrows) and to get rid of the dualism that mankind is crawling in his whole life. In a word, it is a goal to attain “Nirvana”.

The renowned Buddhist Temples are the center of Buddha’s teaching. They also bear the symbol of peace and serenity. Today we are overviewing some of the most famous as well as important Buddhist temples and monasteries in the world.

Most Famous Buddhist Temples & Monasteries

10. Haeinsa Temple

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Haeinsa Temple
Haeinsa Temple; image credit

Haeinsa, well known as “Temple of Reflection on a Smooth Sea” is one of the three jewel temples in South Korea. The temple has been quite famous for being the home of the Tripitaka Koreana, the whole of the Buddhist Scriptures engraved onto 81,350 wooden blocks.

First built in 802, Haeinsa had to rebuild in the 19th century after it was burned down in a fire in 1817. According to Korean Legend, two Korean monks, Suneung and Ijeong returned from China and healed King Aejang’s wife of her illness. The king ordered the construction of the temple ingratitude of the Buddha’s mercy.

Major attractions:

  • Janggyeong Panjeon
  • Hall of Great Silence
  • Gaya Mountain & National Park
  • Junam Wetlands

9. Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Wat Arun
Wat Arun; image credit

Wat Arun Ratchawararam Ratchawararamahawihan, located on the Thonburi side of the Chao Phraya River. This is one of the oldest temples in the world. This remarkable Buddhist temple is also arguably the best tourist attraction in Bangkok. In fact, tourists all around the world consider this monument among Thailand top attractions.

The name of the temple attains from the Hindu god “Aruna” who is represented as the radiations of the rising sun. The central prang represents Mount Meru of the Hindu cosmology. Despite it is called “The temple of Dawn“, the best views of it can be seen in the sunset.

Major attractions:

  • Khao Sok National Park
  • Royal Grand Palace
  • Ayutthaya Ancient City

8. Pha That Luang

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Pha That Luang
Pha That Luang; image credit

Situated in Vientiane, Pha That Luang is a gold-covered stupa. This is undoubtedly the most important Buddhist monument in Laos. It was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier Khmer temple.

The stupa terraces have three levels. Each level represents a different stage of Buddhist doctrines. The temple was destroyed by a Thai attack in 1828, later reconstructed after 2nd World War.

Major attractions:

  • COPE Visitor Centre
  • Tad Moun Waterfall
  • Nam Ngum Reservoir
  • Night Market

7. Jokhang

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Jokhang
Jokhang; image credit

The Jokhang Temple in Lhasa is the most sacred place in Tibet. The temple attracts thousands of pilgrims each year. It was built during the reign of King Songtsän Gampo.

It is well known traditionally that the temple was built for the two wives of the king. The Jokhang temple had been sacked by Mongolian several times but the building remains. It is probably a major tourist attraction and a spiritual center of Lhasa.

Major attractions:

  • Lalu Wetland National Nature Preserve
  • Potala Palace
  • Namtso Lake
  • Barkhor Street
  • Lhasa River

6. Todaiji Temple

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Todaiji Temple
Todaiji Temple; image credit
Toby Oxborrow

Tōdai-Ji is a famous Buddhist temple complex that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples. It is situated in the city of Nara, Japan. Built-in the 8th century by Emperor Shomu, little remains of the original buildings of Todaiji.

It resides one of the largest Buddha statues in Japan. This is one of the temples that UNESCO World Heritage Site listed as one of the “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara”.

Major attractions:

  • Todaiji Museum
  • Shosoin Storehouse
  • Nigatsudo Hall

5. Boudhanath

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Boudhanath
Boudhanath; image credit

Boudhanath is one of the largest stupas in the world in a suburb of Kathmandu. For its enormous mandala, it is considered as the largest spherical stupas in Nepal. In the last few decades, It has become the center of Tibetan Buddhism in Nepal. Many refugees from Tibet have settled here.

This Bauddha stupa was built just after the death of Buddha. That makes it more special than others probably best known for the Buddha eyes that are featured on all four sides of the tower. Don’t forget to add this up to your checklist, visiting the best places in Nepal.

Major attractions:

  • Kopan Monastery
  • Taragaon Museum
  • Harati Shrine
  • Jamchen Lhakhang

4. Mahabodhi Temple

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Mahabodhi Temple
Mahabodhi Temple; image credit

The Mahabodhi (Great Enlightenment) Temple is situated in Bodh Gaya, India. It is said that Buddha himself attained Nirvana (Enlightenment) here. The holy Bodhi tree is on its western side, next to the temple.

In 250 BCE, about 200 years after the Buddha gained Nirvana, great Emperor Asoka built a temple at this spot. The present temple is 5th-6th century old. Tourist from all around the world is found to visit this historical travel destination in India.

Major attractions:

  • Tibetan Refugee Market
  • Bodhi Tree
  • Muchalinda Lake
  • Royal Bhutan Monastery
  • Burmese Vihara Monastery

3. Shwedagon Pagoda

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Shwedagon Pagoda
Shwedagon Pagoda; image credit

The Shwedagon Pagoda (or Golden Pagoda) located in Yangon, is the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar. Historians and archaeologists mentioned that the pagoda was built by the Mon people between the 6th and 10th centuries CE.

But according to legend, the Shwedagon Pagoda was constructed more than 2,600 years ago. So Mon people might rebuilt it. Base of the stupa is made of bricks covered with gold plates.

Major attractions:

  • King Tharyarwady’s Bell
  • Maha Wizaya Pagoda
  • Martyrs Mausoleum

2. Bagan

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Bagan
Bagan; image credit

Bagan, a city that once was the capital of the “Kingdom of pagan”, located on the banks of the Ayeyarwady River, home to the largest area of Buddhist temples, stupas, pagodas, and ruins in the world. You can take a hot air balloon ride which is actually the best way to explore the vast architectural ruins nearby.

The kingdom fell to the Mongols, actually after refusing to pay tribute to Kublai Khan and Bagan in 1287. It was quickly declined as a political center but continued to flourish as a place of Buddhist lessons.

Major attractions:

  • Ananda Temple
  • Sulamani Temple
  • Gubyaukgyi Temple

1. Borobudur

Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples, Borobudur
Borobudur; image credit

The Borobudur, a Mahayana Buddhist temple is located on the Indonesian island of Java, 40 km (25 miles) northwest of Yogyakarta. It was built over a period of some 75 years in the 8th and 9th centuries by the kingdom of Sailendra and abandoned in the 14th century. Borobudur is Indonesia’s most visited tourist attraction for so many generations.

Major attractions:

  • Museum Kapal Samurrarska
  • Sukmojoyo Hill
  • Selogriyo Temple
  • Chicken Church

1 thought on “Top 10 Most Famous Buddhist Temples & Monasteries Worldwide”

  1. Thailand have more famous temples and In Japan at kyoto have more famous temples.If possible show more picture.Then viewer can imagine.Thanks.


Leave a Comment