What is the temple?
The temple or shrine is a place where people pray, perform their worship, and practice religious rituals. Temples are of two types:
1.Built by people or converted the sanctuary into a temple;
2.Natural reliefs (for example, carved into rocks or natural caves, etc.)
Temples have always been unique among the existed and present buildings around the world, as they are not just a work of art, a historical building, but also represent a divine culture.
The construction of temples is also different from other architectural monuments. So, the vibrations that people have left during worship at the temples must coincide with the cosmic bio-vibrations. The high ceilings of the temples and the domes serve the “vibration acoustics.” As a result, the vibration of the temple during worship is combined with wave outside, described as a connection to the divine. Kings, and rulers built most of the temples on earth.
Types of temples:
1. Templum – Temples built in ancient Rome to worship indigenous gods;
2. Fanum – temples built in ancient Rome to worship non-indigenous gods;
3. Church - the center of worship of Christianity;
4. Chapel, Cathedral, Basilica – The churches that are private in terms of religious ceremonies in West India are called a chapel, while other ordinary churches are called Cathedral and basilica;
5. Orthodox – Churches with crosses resembling the Greek cross in the dome are Orthodox churches;
6. Protestant – Churches built in France during the Reformation were called Protestant churches;
7. Mormon – Mormon Church spread throughout New York in the nineteenth century and later in other cities of the States aims to promote more private and distinctive rituals;
8. Derasar – Jainism, claiming that all living things are equal, is spread over a small area of the world and religious ceremonies are held in the temples called “derasar”;
9. Mandir – Hindu temple and has other names: kovil, gudi, devalayam, kovela, etc.;
10. Mosque – the holy place of Islam, the home of God;
11. Gurdwara – the temple for religious rites and teachings of the Sikhism, monotheistic religion;
12. Temple of fire – the temple of Zoroastrian worship;
13. Wat – Both Hindu and Buddhist temples in Cambodia and Thailand;
14. Mashrukul Azkar – a Baha’i temple, an independent monotheistic religion that emphasizes the principle of unity of all humanity;
15. Jinja – The Shintoism religion, one of the oldest religions of the world, has been the national and former official religion of Japan. The Shintoists make their prayers in Jinja;
16. Menda – a temple of worship called Mandaeism or Sabi;
17. Pagoda is a Buddhist temple, etc.
Famous temples in the world:
Karnak (the Great Hypostyle Hall)
This building is the largest ancient temple complex built by Egyptian builders. It is constructed of 134 columns with 16 rows. The height of the temple is 24 meters, and the total area is 5000 m². The second most visited place in Egypt reveals the richness of the mysterious Egyptian history with its magnificent and majestic appearance. Karnak is considered the largest open-air museum in the world. It is rich in impressive statues, sphinxes, temples, obelisks, and impressive hieroglyphs decorating the walls. The Great Hypostyle Hall in the Temple was the most enormous, most magnificent, and beautiful hall of its time. Construction of the Great Hypostyle Hall began during the Amenhotep III era. Construction of the large pillar hall was continued by Seti I and completed by his son Ramesses II.
People look like dwarfs in these 16 rows of 600 square meters with 13 square meters columns. Looking from this Hypostyle hall, which is 21 meters with 21m length, you can see trees leaning on each other on the east-west axis and trying to reach the sky. If two people spread their arms to the sides and twine around the columns to reach each other, they will still disappear among the columns as there are too large.
Borobudur temple, built in the ninth century, during the Sailendra dynasty, reflecting Indonesian local worship traditions, is a shrine and Buddhist temple dedicated to Buddha. The pilgrimage begins with the basement of the temple and follows the three-level Buddhist ideology by walking around the monument: World of Dreams, Real-world, Non-existent world. The Borobudur has the Buddhist reliefs, the largest and most complete ensemble in the world. Evidence shows that Borobudur was built in the 9th century but was later abandoned by the Java people as they have been converted to Islam. Stamford Raffles first recorded the worldwide existence of the Borobudur Temple. After this period, the temple was protected by several restoration works. The largest restoration project was undertaken between 1975 and 1982 by the Indonesian government and UNESCO, resulting in the temple being included in the UNESCO World Cultural List. Borobudur is considered the largest Buddhist temple in the world and is one of the most massive historical monuments in South East Asia, including Bagan (Myanmar) and Angkor Wat (Cambodia). Borobudur is a famous shrine for Buddhist pilgrims, and Indonesian Buddhists celebrate Vesak Day here. Approximately 40km northwest of Yogyakarta and 86km west of Surakarta, Borobudur is located in an elevated area between two twin volcanoes, Sundoro-Sumbing and Merbabu-Merapi, and two rivers, the Progo and the Elo. According to the local myth, the area known as Kedu Plain is a “sacred” place for the Javanese due to agricultural fertility and has been dubbed “the garden of Java.” During the restoration in the early 20th century, it was discovered that three Buddhist temples in the region, Borobudur, Pawon and Mendut, are positioned along a straight line. A ritual relationship between the three temples must have existed, although the exact ritual process is unknown. Speculation about a surrounding lake’s existence was the subject of intense discussion among archaeologists in the 20th century. It has been claimed that Borobudur was built on a bedrock hill, 265 m above sea level, and 15 m above the floor of a dried-out paleolake.
The temple was built in 2005 by the BAPS religious organization. The cost of restoration of the temple was much. The temple was built with pink sandstone and Italian Carrara marble.
The temple was built in honor of Lord Ranganatha. The history of the first building of the temple, covering 631,000 square meters, is ancient. Rajagopuram, the largest of the buildings, has 21 tower gateways. The restoration of the 73-meter-high temple was completed in 1987.
Jetavanaramaya, Located in Sri Lanka, is the world’s largest temple. King Mahasena built the temple, and it took about 15 years to complete. 93.3 million baked bricks were used in the construction of the temple. The dome of the temple is 95 meters in diameter and 122 meters in height.
The largest of the “Tikal” temple complex, located on the 6-step pyramid in the center, is the “Temple IV.” The height of this temple is 72 meters.
Saint Sava Temple in Belgrade, Serbia, is the largest Orthodox Church in the world. The construction of the church began in 1985, and the development of a large part was completed by 2004. This temple is called “hram” in Serbian. The temple is 91 meters long and 81 meters wide. The first floor of the temple covers an area of 3,500 m².
Temple of Jesus
The Temple of Jesus, the largest temple in Moscow, has a short but controversial history. Its construction began after the defeat of Napoleon, but it remained unfinished. In 1990, the Russian Orthodox Church obtained a permit for the rebuilding of the Cathedral. The temple was built in 2000 with new materials. The 105-meter-high temple is considered one of the longest in the world.
It is the most magnificent temple in northwest Lebanon. The Romans built three temples here over 200 years B.C: Jupiter, Bacchus, and Venus. The largest temple of the Roman Empire, Jupiter, was built on 54 granite columns. Now there are only 6 of these columns remain. One of the temples preserved in the area is the Bacchus temple. The temple is 69 meters wide, 36 meters long, and its columns are 19 meters.
The temple of the Artemis of Ephesus, built under the project of the architect Chersiphron in the Greek city of Ephesus, Anatolia, in the fifth B.C, was one of the “seven wonders of the world” in ancient times. Philo of Byzantium wrote: “I saw the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the statue of Zeus in the Olympics, the Giant of Rhodes, the power of the high Egyptian pyramids, and Mausoleum. However, when I saw the temple in Ephesus reaching the skies, I realized that all the others left in the shade.” The first tomb for the God Artemis was constructed on a swamp near the lake in Ephesus in 800 B.C. The Artemis of Ephesus, also known as Diana, is not the same as the Greek Artemis. The Greek Artemis was a god of hunting. The Artemis of Ephesus was a god of blessing and faithfulness from the waist to the shoulders. There was a sacred stone, a meteorite which was supposed to be fallen from Jupiter, in this ancient temple. The temple was demolished and rebuilt several times over the following centuries. Ephesus became a major commercial port city in 600 B.C., and an architect named Chersiphron built a new and large temple with high stone columns. King Croesus of Lydia conquered Ephesus and other Greek cities in Anatolia in 550 B.C. During this battle, the temple was destroyed. Croesus ordered the architect Theodorus to erect a new temple that left the previous temples in a shadow. The original temple was more magnificent than before: 4 floors, 90 meters high and 45 meters wide. Over a hundred stone columns supported the roof of the temple. It collapsed as a result of a fire caused by Herostratus in 356 B.C. Shortly after that, a new temple was built by Scopas of Paros, the most famous sculptor of the time. According to the Roman historian Pliny, the new temple was 130 meters long and 68 meters wide. The ceiling was supported by 127 columns with a height of 18 meters. The construction lasted 120 years. The temple was still under construction during the visit of Alexander the Great from Macedonia to Ephesus in 333 B.C. The new temple was the largest building ever built within the Greek temples. Another feature of the temple was that it was constructed from marble. In the year 57A.D., the apostle Paul arrived in Ephesus to spread Christianity. He was so successful that Demetrius, then a blacksmith of the city and one of the owners of the temple sculptures, became terrified. Demetrius was the owner of some statues in the temple and had a good income from those who visited the temple every year. Thus, the conversion of people to another religion deprived him of the source of income. According to legend, Demetrius gathered other people around him with excitement and saying “Long life to the Artemis of the Ephesians,” and retained the Apostle Paul’s two assistants. It was followed by rebellion. As a result, the apostle Paul and his assistants return to Macedonia. In the year 262, the great Artemis temple was burned down and destroyed during the attack of the Goths. A hundred years later, the Roman Emperor Constantine rebuilt the city. However, he did not reconstruct the temple as he was a Christian. Despite Constantine’s efforts, Ephesus could not return to its former days, as the port where the ships were anchored had disappeared. After some time, the residents began to leave the city. The remains of the temple were used in the construction of other buildings and statues. John Turtle Wood began to explore the temple in 1863. In 1869, he found the pillars of the temple in the mud at a depth of 6 meters. He took some of the sculptures and remains to the British Museum. In 1904, an excavation was continued by a group led by D.G.Hograth in the same museum, and they find five fossils built over each other in the area. A pillar was buried in a swampy area to show tourists the place of the temple today. The remnants of the famous Artemis statue, built in a style that does not resemble the Greek God standing and opening arms wide, have been preserved up to the present day.
Temple of Azergushnasp
The historical monument, located in the town of Gazaka in Atropatena and one of the main Zoroastrian temples, had long retained its significance and was destroyed during the Byzantine Emperor Irakli’s invasion of Azerbaijan (623-624). An archaeological excavation in the town of Gazaka revealed the ruins of the temple.
Temple of Hamshivang
The Great Karamurad Vangi Complex was laid before the 12th century. It is an ancient Albanian temple and belongs to the cultural heritage of Caucasian Albania. Our investigating architects discovered a cross similar to the Artsakh cross on the territory of the Great Karamurad temple. However, the stone was stolen by helicopter overnight, at the instruction of the Armenian SSR leadership, and was taken to the Uchmuadzin in 1960, without being investigated. It is currently being displayed in the open air in the courtyard of the monastery of the “Uchmuadzin” monastery.
It is an ancient Albanian temple located in the Lachin region of Azerbaijan. The building is the Varazgun Temple, mentioned in the work of Moisey of Kalankat, the Albanian historian of the Caucasian Albanian origin, and the author of the work “History of the Albanian country.” The monument, which has an unusual architectural structure, has lost many of its features and has remained a significant part until today. The building is located on the territory of Bozlu village (Lachin district), in area called Varazgun, 2 km from the left bank of Aghoghlan river, which is the right branch of the Hakari River near the village of Kushchu, by air. The temple in a wreck condition belonging to the second and fifth century was remarkable with its dome and two apses (semi-arched form mostly on the church walls). It was constructed very well according to that period. The Varazgun Temple, preserving the characteristic features of Albanian architecture, was built using planed local stones, as well as ordinary river-stones and limestone. The walls of the temple were plastered. The dome and the south wall of the temple were utterly destroyed. Also, the facade stones in the lower part of the east side of the temple were destroyed. The temple is in harmony with other buildings nearby due to its culture of construction and constructive features. Such compositions, in turn, differ from each other in some respects, mainly by the number of apses. The temple having dome composition is distinguished from other temples for its two apses (on the east and north sides of the temple). Although temples with one, three, four, or more apses have been built in large areas since ancient times, the temples with two-apses were rarely recorded. The square-shaped tower on the temple constructed as dome-temple in an area more than 100 square meters, is round and cylindrical inside and outside. The height of the existing remains of the temple is about 9.60 meters. The thickness of the walls is 95 cm. It should be noted that the ceiling of the dome has wholly destroyed. The sides of the doors and windows of the temple are lined with masonry stones.
It is located 45 km south of the city of Shush, Khuzestan Province of Iran, near the Shush-Yazd road, close to the historical “Seven Hills.” It is a historical place, mainly belonging to the middle Elamite period (1500-1000 BC). Chogha Zanbil Temple is one of the remains of the city of Dur Untash. The temple was built by the Elamite king Untash Gal (1250BC), mainly to honor the great God Inshushinak. Earlier, the height of the temple was 52 meters. Only two stores of the 5-store temple have reached to our days, and now its height is 25 meters. Chogha Zanbil is formed from a combination of the words “Chogha” (hill in the Lor language), and Zanbil (basket). The mountain where the temple has been constructed reminds the basket turned upside down. The place is called Dur-Untash and means Dej-Untash (Untash Fortress). Untash Gal was the Elamite king, and he ordered that the construction of the temple. It is located in the center and the highest point of the city of Dur-Untash. This historical monument was demolished in 640 by the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. The temple was discovered by a delegation led by Roman Ghirshman during the excavation in six seasons between 1951 and 1961. During the excavations, a large seal and various small objects were discovered. In 1979, it was included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
Why travel to Cambodia?
Cambodia, located in the southern portion of the Indochina peninsula in Southeast Asia, bordered by Thailand to the northwest, Laos to the northeast, Vietnam to the east, and the Gulf of Thailand to the southwest, is a tourism-developed country with rich in historical monuments, mysterious temples. Cambodia has an area of 181035 square kilometers and is wholly located in the tropics. Cambodia’s landscape is characterized by a low-lying central plain that is surrounded by uplands and low mountains and includes the Tonle Sap (Great Lake) and the upper reaches of the Mekong River delta. There are 180 tree species, 212 species of mammals, 536 bird species, 240 reptiles and 1,285 species of fish in the country. The Tonle Sap Reserve, covering nine provinces, was selected in 1997 by the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. Boko National Park, Botum-Sakor National Park, Phnom Aural Wildlife Sanctuary and Phnom Samkos Wildlife Sanctuary are some of the most beautiful places in Cambodia. “Cardamom,” “Central Indochina,” “Southeast Indochina,” “Southern Annamite,” “Tonle Sap” and “Tonle Sap – Mekong” swamp forest are included in the World Fund for Nature.
The tourism industry is the second-largest currency source in the country after the textile industry. Phom Penh, Sihanoukville in the southwest, several famous beaches in the northwest, Battambang, Bokor Hill Station are some of Cambodia’s most renowned tourist attractions.
Rice is a significant crop in Cambodia, as in other Southeast Asian countries. Fish from the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers are also an essential part of the kitchen. Cambodian cuisine is mainly served with tropical fruits, soups, and noodles. There are also Cambodian meal options on the main streets of the country. Among them, the fried spiders attract the attention of tourists.
Javaryarman II started the first significant construction in Cambodia in the ninth century, and later his successors continued it.
Angkor Wat, a few kilometers from Siem Reap, is the largest temple in the world. According to scientists, 5 million tons of stone were used for the construction of the monument in the first half of the 11th century. The complex is surrounded by a slope of 190 meters, which is always filled with water because of the abundant rainfall.
Bayon temple, built in the 12th century by king Javaryarman II near the Angkor Wat, consists of 54 towers. Formerly the central tower of the temple was made of gold. However, it was destroyed by Siam, who seized the city. The walls of the temple are covered with beautiful scenes from Cambodian life - military campaigns, bloody battles, worship of gods, circus shows, holidays, and more.
Baphuon Temple, which amazes with its architecture, is a five-step pyramid with three stages. The temple has now lost its grandeur because of its destruction. There are several hundred places of worship in Cambodia that are fascinated by its beauty and original architecture. The Koh Ker temple complex, located 90 km from Angkor, is exciting. Tourists rarely visit this place because of the location. The 32-meter-high Prasat Prang attracts the most attention.
The Death Pyramid
The reason why the temple is so named is well on top. According to legend, after giving sacrifice to the demons, the victims’ dead bodies were thrown into this well.
“Preah Vihea” or “Temple in Paradise” was built on a mountain 600 meters above sea level.
Ta Prohm temple was built in the late 12th - early 13th century in Angkor, Cambodia. It was formerly known as Rajavihara, which means “Royal Monastery.” The “Bayon” style temple was built by the king of the Khmer Empire, Javaryarman VII. The temple in the jungle, in ruins, is surrounded by giant trees. Ta Prohm, which began to gain popularity with the movie “Tomb Raider,” was previously neglected, and after the filming started to attract the attention of many tourists. In 1992, UNESCO added Ta Prohm to the World Heritage List, and it became one of the most visited complexes in Cambodia. Ta Prohm is currently being protected and restored by the Archeological Survey of India and Authority for the Protection and Management of Angkor and the Region of Siem Reap.
Foundation and history
Javaryarman VII, the king of the Khmer Empire, embarked on a massive program of construction works. One of the first temples built as a result of this reform is Ta Prohm. The temple was home to over 12500 people. In total, about 80,000 people visited the temple.
Abandonment and restoration
After the fall of the Khmer Empire in the 15th century, the temple of Ta Prohm was abandoned and neglected for centuries. The temple was rediscovered in the early 21st century. Even though the building was not affected by the wreckage, there was a rebuilding process for people to visit. As of 2013, the Archeological Survey of India has restored most parts of the temple complex. Wooden walkways, platforms, and roped railings have been put in place around the site to protect the monument from further damages due to the massive tourist inflow.
Like most Khmer temples, Ta Prohm is oriented to the east. The outer wall of 1000 by 650 meters encloses an area of 650,000 square meters that at one time would have been the site of a substantial town, but that is now mostly forested. There are entrance points at each of the cardinal points, although access today is currently possible from the east and west. The temple has the three inner enclosures, the first of which forms the central part of the temple. There are libraries in the first and third enclosures. There is Hall of Dancers in the second enclosure and House of Guest in the third enclosure.
Trees are a feature that makes the temple even more attractive. Trees rooted around the temple, between its fences, and even inside, are in harmony with its walls. This feature has not been avoided by filmmakers and has been used as a filming space in “Tomb Raider.” Currently, Ta Prohm is a world-famous tourist destination.
There is a carving on the wall of the Ta Prohm temple that gives sleepless nights to scholars around the world. There is a carving of a stegosaurus that lived on the planet 150 million years ago. Scientists have not yet found the answer to the question of how did the Khmer community knows about this animal. If you are traveling to Cambodia one day, do not return without visiting the Ta Prohm temple!
General characteristics of Cambodian temples
1. Cambodia’s shrines were not meant to be visited by believers. These religious buildings were considered to be the dwelling places of gods, and only priests and monks could access them. Tombs were erected in the temples for some of the rulers on earth who were repentant to God.
2. Every Khmer king had to follow the tradition - after the throne, they had to start building two temples for himself and their fathers. If their fathers died before the completion of the project, that building would be kept unfinished, and the construction of a new temple should be started.
3. There are several pyramid temples in Cambodia. As you know, such magnificent structures are located only in Peru, Egypt, and Cambodia. Ancient legend explains this fact as follows: all of them were built by some people traveling these countries.
4. Most Cambodian shrines are included in the UNESCO World Heritage List.
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