Worlds Historical, Mysterious Temples
Here is a list of Mysterious temples in the world that might blow your mind away. Take a look to see how many you have heard about.
- 10. Kailasa Temple, India.
- 9. Wat Rong Khun, Thailand.
- 8. The Temples of Humankind, Italy.
- 7. The Konark Sun Temple, India.
- 6. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman, Malaysia.
- 5. The Longmen Grottoes, China.
- 4. The Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Mexico.
- 3. Kamakhya Devi Temple, India.
- 2. Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia.
- 1. Solomon’s Temple.
10. Kailasa Temple, India.
Kailasa Temple is the 16th of 34 cave temples and monasteries that are known as the Ellora caves in Maharashtra, India… It is famous for being the largest monolithic structure carved from a single piece of rock in the world!! Its sheer size and the way it was constructed makes it stand out from all the others carved from the rock. It is named after the main temple which depicts Ravana shaking the mountain of Kailash.
There is a monumental gatehouse tower on the entrance to the temple courtyard, and walls lined with large stone carvings of Hindu deities. There were once flying bridges that connected the higher levels, and the base of the temple has been carved to look like elephants holding up the entire structure.
It’s not certain who built the temple, but it’s generally thought it was constructed during the time of King Krishna I between the year 756 and 783 AD… but the most amazing, and mysterious thing about this place is that is was carved down into the ground by a process of vertical excavation where carvers began at the top of the large piece of rock and chiseled down with iron chisel hammers. Surprisingly, centuries went by and no one really paid much attention until 1682.
Then the story goes that a Muslim king ordered the temple destroyed but even though he sent 1000 men, the temple remained intact. Archaeologists estimate that there are more than 30 million Sanskrit carvings that have yet to be translated. It is an incredible example of religious architecture that has withstood the test of time.
9. Wat Rong Khun, Thailand.
Wat Rong Khun, also known as the ‘White Temple’, is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. By the end of the 20th century, the original temple on the site had fallen into a state of disrepair. With no funds available to fix it, a local artist instead raised the money himself to build a new temple, which opened in 1997.
It’s a Buddhist temple, with traditional design themes… but also envisioned as an art exhibit and has sculptures you wouldn’t normally expect to see- such as ones of Mickey Mouse, Superman, Kung Fu Panda, and Michael Jackson… as well as aliens, peace signs, guns, and The Terminator. The artist chose the color white for the temple, as opposed to gold which is traditionally used in Thai temples because he felt that gold ‘was suitable to people who lust for evil deeds’.
What he’s created is simply one of a kind, and is a message to warn against temptation. At the entrance, the bridge of the cycle of rebirth leads to the gates of heaven, with sculptures of guardians on either side with their hands outstretched to represent hell with worldly desires like greed, lust, and alcohol. Unfortunately, an earthquake in 2014 caused extreme damage to the temple, and it almost had to be demolished for safety reasons, but it has now been fully repaired and welcomes visitors throughout the year.
8. The Temples of Humankind, Italy.
The Temples of Humankind are in the foothills of the Alps in Northern Italy and are a series of subterranean temples about 100 feet underground. They were built by the Federation of Damanhur under the direction of their spiritual leader, with construction beginning in 1978 and being completed by 1991.
No permission had been given for the construction, so Italian police began searching for the temples after they had been completed, but they were so well hidden that the authorities were unable to find them. It was only under threat of demolishing the entire hillside that those who had built them revealed their location, and the authorities granted retroactive permission… so they are now open to the public.
The incredibly ornate structure is made up of eight different halls that are decorated with paintings, mosaics, sculptures, and glassworks… all to celebrate universal spirituality, with the intent is to combine secular and sacred art to put forward values that are important to all of humanity.
The Hall of Water, in the shape of a chalice, is dedicated to femininity, the Hall of Earth is dedicated to masculinity, the Labyrinth Hall commemorates interfaith worship throughout history and the Blue Hall has been designed to encourage meditation and reflection on social issues.
7. The Konark Sun Temple, India.
Built-in the 13th century, Konark Sun Temple is on the northeastern coastline of Odisha, India. Its construction was ordered by King Narasingha I, and the temple was dedicated to the Hindu Sun God Surya. It was originally 200 feet tall, but it is now mostly in ruins and is currently half that height.
What remains is still impressive, though, and it resembles a giant chariot with 12 pairs of huge wheels to represent the months of the year, and seven horses… all that have been carved from stone. The structure is covered with intricate carvings and sculptures, including a number of erotic works.
The massive destruction to the temple and the surrounding buildings are not fully understood and could be either due to natural disasters or because of purposeful destruction by invading Muslim armies between the 15th and 17th centuries. Recent efforts have seen restoration works that have protected and re-built parts of the temple and it remains a pilgrimage site for Hindus, where they gather for the Chandrabhaga Mela every year.
6. Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman, Malaysia.
I’m only going to say that once! Most temples in the world are built from stone or even gold… but this temple in Malaysia is made from the last thing you’d expect… glass! It’s in the country’s second-biggest city, Johor Bahru, and while the site has been used as a place of religious significance for almost a century, it opened in its current form in 1991.
After inheriting it from his father, the chief priest Sri Sinnathamby Sivasamy, was inspired while traveling to Bangkok on a rickshaw. He saw something shimmering in the light at a distance and discovered it was caused by glass artwork at the entrance of a temple. So he decided to use glass to make his temple shine and become a unique Hindu sanctuary.
It’s covered in more than 300,000 pieces of colored glass in an intricate mosaic and is decorated with hundreds of thousands of glass beads and glass statues of Buddha and Mother Teresa. There are also huge murals, marble statues covered in gold and white, and the centerpiece… a lotus of Lord Shiva, where worshippers can pour rose water and pray.
5. The Longmen Grottoes, China.
The Longmen Grottoes are a series of more than 2,300 grottoes and niches that are about 8 miles south of the city of Luoyang in China’s Henan province. They were constructed over 5 centuries, and contain some of the finest examples of Chinese stone art to have ever been found. The majority of the grottoes are carved into the face of Mount Longmen, and they contain a total of more than 100,000 Buddhist statues and 2,800 inscriptions.
There are so many carvings into the side of the mountain that, from a distance, it appears to be honeycombed. Those on the west side were used for ceremonies to honor the dead, while the ones on the neighboring Mount Xiang served as homes to the Buddhist monks.
The first Grotto to have been carved there, called ‘Guyang Cave’, is full of statues of members of royalty, and features more than 1,000 niches and 800 inscriptions. It’s one of the most important places on the site and seen as a significant source of examples of sculpture and writing of the late Northern Wei style.
4. The Temple of the Feathered Serpent, Mexico.
The Temple of the Feathered Serpent is the third largest temple at Teotihuacan, one of the best-preserved ancient cities of central Mexico. The 6 step pyramid was built in 200 AD from huge stone blocks and gets its name because of the representations of the Mesoamerican feathered serpent god on its sides.
Recent investigations of the site have found that there’s more here than it initially seems. In the 1980s, hundreds of human sacrifice victims were found buried beneath it, and in 2013 a robot was used to explore two chambers under the pyramid. Inside, they found hundreds of gold-colored spheres, ranging in size between 1 and 5 inches across, and are made from an inner core of clay that has been covered in a coating of jarosite.
They were found alongside large amounts of gems and pottery fragments, which asks the question… what was all of this for? As of yet, researchers aren’t certain, but they think it’s evidence of a place used by high ranking priests or rulers for their own religious ceremonies. (Especially with all of those sacrificial victims found there). Hopefully, further research will uncover the truth and shed more light on how civilization lived.
3. Kamakhya Devi Temple, India.
The Kamakhya Devi Temple is located in the Western part of Guwahati city in India and is a shrine of Shaktism- the Hindu tradition that focuses on goddesses. This temple is dedicated to the mother goddess Kamakhya, who is a Hindu tantric goddess of desire. With a name that means ‘renowned goddess of desire’, she has been at this temple since 1645.
Its design is technically called a ‘Nilachal’ type, which means that it has a hemispherical the dome atop a cruciform base. There are 4 chambers in the temple, each of which contains statues dedicated to all of the tantric goddesses, but this place gains its significance as one of the 108 Shakti peers. According to legend, Shiva’s wife Sati committed suicide because of a grave insult, which caused Shiva to go insane.
He placed her body on his shoulders and did the dance of destruction. To calm him down, Vishnu cut the body into 108 pieces with his chakra, and the places where these pieces fell are known as the Shakti peeths. The temple of Kamakhya is particularly important because it’s on this site that her womb (and vagina) fell, which is why worship here focuses on lovemaking.
2. Sambor Prei Kuk, Cambodia.
Located in Cambodia’s Kampong Thom Province, Sambor Prei Kuk may not be one of the country’s most famous religious structures, but it’s still a site of historical importance. The name means ‘the temple in the richness of the forest’, and is on the site of Ishanapura, the capital city of the Chenla Empire that ruled the region in the 6th and 7th centuries.
The compound covers an area of about 1000 acres, is surrounded by a double wall, and once was home to 150 different Hindu temples, most of which now lie in ruins. Some of the structures still remain, and in 2017 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. There are decorated sandstone sculptures and some of the oldest examples of art and architecture of the region that went on to inspire the Khmer style of the Angkor period.
1. Solomon’s Temple.
Solomon’s temple, also known as the first temple, was, according to the Bible, the Holy Temple in Jerusalem before it was destroyed in a siege of the city in 587 BC. It was said to have been built by King Solomon, dedicated to Yahweh, but was also used to worship Asherah, Baal, and a solar god at various times.
Ritual sacrifice, cleansings, and sacred prostitution are said to have taken place here, and it’s also where the ark of the covenant is thought to have been kept… but the biggest mystery of Solomon’s temple is where it once stood, if, in fact, it ever existed at all. Temple Mount, which is where it’s thought to have been, is a particularly sensitive the site and is the Islamic holy site where Mohammad ascended to heaven.
It, therefore, hasn’t been archeologically investigated with modern-day techniques and few, if any, artifacts from the temple have ever been found. Furthermore, despite the Bible mentioning descriptions of the temple, the terms used have now lost their meaning so we don’t even know what it looked like. Perhaps one day we’ll find out the truth, but until then, Solomon’s temple will remain the most mysterious temple to have ever been built.