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Religious Buildings: Temples I

When a place of worship is dedicated to a particular god or goddess, it is called a temple. There are many religions that have constructed temples throughout the history of their belief system. In this article, you will learn more about this type of religious building, as well as some of the cultures that embrace this place of worship.

Temples are structures built to accommodate religious and other spiritual activities , depending on the culture; this may include prayer or sacrifice. References made to temples date back to around the 6th century BCE. The oldest-known example of a temple to still exist is called Gobeklu Tepe, which is found in southern Turkey. It is estimated to have been built about 11,000 years ago.

Buddhist Temples

Adherents of the Buddhist religion worship in structures called stupa, wat and pagoda, which differ according to the region or language involved. The temples of Buddhists represent the “pure land” or environment of a Buddha. Traditional temples of the religion are designed with the goal to provide inspiration for people to achieve peace , both inner and outer. Asian regions are not the only places that Buddhist temples appear , they are found all over the world. Examples include:

In British Columbia, Canada, there is a Buddhist temple located in Richmond. The Chinese Buddhist temple is run by the International Buddhist Society. While the Society are practicing Mahayana Buddhism, the temple is still open to Theravada Buddhist visitors. They also open their doors to visitors belonging to all sorts of different religious and cultural backgrounds.

Located close to Magelang, Central Java in Indonesia, the Borobudur (or Barabudur) is a monument that dates back to the 9th century. The monument is made up of six square platforms with three circular platforms on top. Decorative features of the temple include 2,672 relief panels and 504 Buddha statues. There is a main dome situated at the center of the upper platform, which is flanked by 72 seated Buddha statues.

The large Fo Guang Shan temple and community center is part of a Buddhist movement in a suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. This is the largest Buddhist temple in the country, which was constructed over a period of seven years , tallying up a cost of $20 million in New Zealand currency. The architectural style of the temple mirrored characteristics of the Tang Dynasty. Some of the features of the temple include a arge Buddha statue and bell weighing two tons.

Jain Temples

Temples are also used throughout the Jain religion, where worship of their idols takes place. The majority of these temples are built out of marble stone. Marble is also used to create pillars that are carved into posture of demi-gods. In the main vestibule, there are usually three statues of Parshwanath (early Jain leader that left a life of nobility to become a monk), Rishabdev (known as the founder of the Ikshvaku dynasty), and Mahavir (credited with establishing what are considered today’s central tenets of Jainism).

Well-known Jain temples have been built in Palitana, Shankeshwar, Shikharji, Vataman, Mumbai, and Ahmedabad. The Ranakpur and Dilwara temples located at Mount Abu are thought to be the most beautiful of Jain pilgrimage sites in the world. Fashioned out of a light colored marble, the Jain temple at Ranakpur is dedicated to Adinatha (also referred to as Rishabdev)