You’ve seen Angkor Wat and Wat Arun, but what about some of these under the radar Asian temples? These less-touristy Asian temples are incredibly unique and make a great addition to our journeys to Asia.
Hanging Temple | Datong, China
The Hanging Temple (also known as the Hanging Monastery) was built into the west cliff of Jinxia Gorge 164 feet above the ground. Built in 491, it’s an architectural wonder that has withstood the test of time. Oak crossbeams fit into chiseled holes in the cliff providing the foundation for the temple, while bedrock hides the main support system. The Hanging Temple is also worth exploring because it’s the only existing temple that incorporates the three traditional Chinese religions of Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism.
Ellora Temple | Aurangabad, India
With 34 monasteries and temples and over 100 caves on site, Ellora is one the largest rock-cut monastery-temple complexes in the world. Located near Aurangabad in Maharashtra, the UNESCO World Heritage Site dates from A.D. 600 to 1000. Architecturally and artistically, it’s unique, with the 34 monasteries and temples dug side by side in the wall of a cliff. In addition, it also exemplifies the ancient Indian spirit of tolerance with Buddhism, Hinduism, and Jainism represented at the site.
Dambulla Cave Temple | Kandy, Sri Lanka
The Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka is the best preserved cave temple complex in the country. Although it makes our list of under the radar Asian temples, the five sanctuaries of the cave monastery have been a pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. Within the caves, there are 153 statues of Buddha and murals that cover 23,00 square feet.
Shwenandaw Monastery | Mandalay, Myanmar
A masterpiece in wood carving, the Shwenandaw monastery is all that remains of the former wooden Royal Palace. Originally located in Amarapura,King Thibaw dismantled it and moved it next to the Atumashi Monastery. He believed the ghost of his father King Mindon (who died in the apartment) haunted the grounds. It was a move that ultimately saved it from destruction. Bombing during World War ii destroyed the rest of the Royal Palace within the old Royal City. Today, it’s a wonderful example of 19th century Myanmar teak architecture worth exploring.
Tham Khao Luang Cave Temple | Phetchaburi, Thailand
Just outside Tham Khao Luang, a 12 foot Buddha sits 90 feet below the ground in a stalactite-clad cave temple. A light shining from above illuminates it. The multi-chambered cave temple has become a shrine for Buddha statues. It house 180 of them in what is easily one of Thailand’s most impressive cave shrines.
Add one of these under the radar Asian temples to your next luxury Asian journey with Ker & Downey. Contact your Luxury Travel Consultant for more information. Stay up to date with all our online content by following us on Facebook and Twitter.