Find Out the Popular Yet Peaceful Buddhist Temples and Monasteries for Meditation Traveler in 2023

Last Updated: January 05, 2023

Find Out the Popular Yet Peaceful Buddhist Temples and Monasteries for Meditation Traveler in 2023

Monasteries and pilgrimages of Buddhist destinations are lovely places designated far from the busy city life for monks and worshippers to pray. These spiritual places are pristine and calm.

Monasteries of Buddha are normally designed as a temple, stupa, vihara, shrine and a hall for monks to meditate. When you visit a Buddhist temple , the constant chants and prayers will make you feel at peace.

Nepal Buddhist Monasteries and Temples

Nepal is the country known as birthplace of Lord Buddha carrying the history with Siddhartha Gautam. Lumbini, the place where Lord Buddha was born in Nepal, holds a sacred and deep significant connection to the followers of Buddhism.

Lumbini consists of many Buddhist temples and shrines with the architecture of different countries. Here, there are remains from 500-600 BC which still hold extreme cultural and historical value. Buddhism is widely spread in Nepal. As a result, there are countless buddhist temples and monasteries holding rich cultural value.

Boudhanath Stupa in Kathmandu

Boudhanath Stupa, also popular as Boudha is a UNESCO recognized world Heritage site located in the culturally rich city of Asia, Kathmandu. Out of many origin stories of the stupa, one is of Tibetan heritage.

The rich history of the Boudhanath stupa dates back thousands of years back to when Buddhism first started spreading around the world. The place is highly regarded as a Buddhist pilgrimage.

Swayambhunath Temple in Kathmandu

Situated in the a small hill at the Western part of the  Kathmandu valley, Swayambhu, also known as the monkey temple is filled with Buddhist symbolism like stupa, vajra and shrines.

This magnificent temple is highly regarded as a Buddhist pilgrimage.The devotees believe that Swayambhu was once a Lotus plant that transformed into a hill and the Stupa.

Kathmandu Kopan Monastery

Kopan has stood to be one of the most appreciated monasteries for meditation in Nepal. Lying atop peacefully on a North eastern hillside of Kathmandu, it gives a panoramic view of Kathmandu Valley.

If you are interested, there are various courses offered by Kopan monasteries on meditation and buddhism. You can visit the monastery as a private traveler or in a group.

Lumbini Monasteries and Temples in Kapilvastu

Just a few miles away from the Gautam Buddha Airport of Bhairahawa, Lumbini is one of the most beautiful places to visit for pilgrims of Buddhism.Buddha was born and grown up at Lumbini before he left his home as Prince Siddharth on his journey for enlightenment.

There are several remnants like the Ashoka pillar which are under protection. In addition to them, there are monasteries and temples constructed in the following years. These monasteries reflect the different architecture of the Buddhist temples across the world.

Best Monasteries and Temples of Buddha in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has one of the most wide spread Buddhist populations in the world at above 70% of the population.We can find some of the beautiful Buddhist Monasteries and Temples that are spread throughout the country.

Throughout history many kings have preserved and built on the Buddhist heritage of the Sri Lankan island. Many of their rituals are similar to hindus and you’ll find that the buddhist and hindus have harmonious relation between them.

Dambulla Cave Temple

This world heritage site recognized by UNESCO is truly a work of art. Dambulla Cave temple is one of the best preserved remnants from Buddhist heritage with hundreds of statues in view.

This Buddhist Temple is an intricate connection of five beautiful cave temples filled with paintings and statues of Lord Buddha along with other Hindu gods and Kings.

Pidurangala Royal Cave Temple

Pidurangala Royal cave temple is situated on the top of a rock which takes about a few meters of walk. Make sure that you are wearing appropriate clothes when you are traveling up to the cave.

This temple was built by the king Kashapa as a Buddhist monastery for the monks in the area as a place for them to reside and meditate.

Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth)

Sri Dalada Maligawa is another highly regarded place for Buddhist travelers as it holds the remains of a tooth of Gautam Buddha. As a result, this place is also known as the temple of the tooth.

As a traveler you will be able to experience the daily rituals that are performed three times a day in the temple. If you decide to visit on a Wednesday you might also get some holy water believed to contain healing powers.

Mihintale Temple

Mihintale remains as the important landmark for the beginning of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. This is where it is regarded that Buddhist monks and king Devanampiyatissa first met and where they exchanged the doctrines of Buddhism.

This is a beautiful temple hosting a 40ft high stupa dating back to 1st century BC. It is a pilgrimage site for travelers who want to learn more about Buddhism and its history.   

Rumassala Temple

Rumassala Temple is a magnifiscent temple tucked in the hills with a huge Stupa right across the ocean coast. The history of Rumassala is also mentioned in the Ramayana.

If you are in Sri Lanka be prepared to visit this beautiful temple with rich history and panoramic views. The Stupa, also called the Peace Pagoda in the center of the mountain, was built by the Japanese.

Thailand Buddhist Temples and Monasteries

Top destinations to visit and experience Buddhism are in Thailand as Buddhism is practiced by 95% of the population. It is believed that Lord Buddha traveled to Thailand after Sri Lanka once getting enlightened.

Travelers will be able to see the prevalence of Buddhism in the architecture, temples, monasteries and practices of the Thai people in their everyday life.

Wat Sriboonruang

Among the numerous beautiful temples in Thailand, Wat Sriboonruang is one of the most visited ones for reasons such as hosting temple stays, meditation courses and seminars with a free entry.

The monastery is one of the best places to spend time experiencing and practicing buddhism in Thailand. The temple is situated in between Bansonquare which is at least 500 years old.

Wat Marp Jan

Almost thirty years back in the forest of Rayong in Thailand, the Abbot of Wat Nong Pah Phong decided to build a monastery for Buddhist monks to practice Dharma.

Located in between in the trees the beautiful scenery and buddhist chants sweeps the place to a peaceful realm. This place is open to visitors at certain timings during the day.

Wat Suan Mokkh

If you want to practice meditation, Wat Suan Mokkh is one buddhist temple that hosts the best opportunity for you to retreat and engage in meditative practices all over Thailand.

The meditation retreat is a week-long program which you will have to register at the end of a month and start on the first of the month. This can be a amazing experience to practice mindfulness at a Buddhist Temple.

Wat Pah Nanachat

Located in the Northeast of Thailand, Wat Pah Nanachat is about half a century old forest monastery which was built with the aim to deliver the enlightenment of Buddha to English speaking people.

If you are worried about language, all of the teachings are done in English in this monastery. You can also stay there as a layguest and learn life styke of the monks in the monastery.

Wat Mahathat (Ayutthaya)

Wat Mahathat was discovered in the thirteenth century in the central Ayutthaya of Thailand. It is also known as a temple of great relics as it was once destroyed by fire in 1767.

However, there are ruins and remains from the past that are still great spectacles. One of the best is the Buddha image entangled in the roots of Bodhi tree.

Buddhist Monasteries and Temples in Cambodia

As the official religion of Cambodia, about 98% of the population are Buddhist. Cambodia in history has been ruled by both hindu and buddhist kings in the past.

As a result of their influence, Hinduism and Buddhism have co-existed in the region. The fusion between these religions can be seen in the architecture, temple, practices and culture of the place.

Wat Ounalom

Wat Ounalom is one of the most valued heritage sites in Cambodia consisting of 44 structures. It has been restored multiple times in the past which reflects its value to the Cambodian people.

This place is highly regarded as it is believed to house the eyebrow hair of Buddha as a Stupa. In Fact that is where the name Ounalom is derived from.

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat is very popular as it is the largest religious monument existing in the whole world. This is a beautiful Hindu-Buddhist temple located in Siem Reap, Cambodia.

The temple hosts millions of visitors every year who are eager to learn about the history of the temple and immerse themselves in the beautiful scenes.

Bayon Temple

Very similar to Angkor Wat is Bayon Temple which you should definitely not miss should you pay a visit to Cambodia. The temple was made in dedication to Buddha by King Jayavarma VII.

The temple hosts an array of carved stone faces of deities. As it is a most liked destination, you might like to visit it in the evening to enjoy the beauty of the place.

Prasat Kuh Nokor

Prasat Kuh Nokor is a Buddhist temple built around the eleventh century highly symbolic of the lotus flower. If you have your own vehicle during your stay in Cambodia, this might be the perfect temple to visit.

This temple is located about 6km away from the main highway. During your visit you might meet the local people and experience some time in communities.

Wat Phnom

Wat Phnom is one of the Buddhist temples in the capital city Phnom Penh of Cambodia. It is believed that the history of the temple dates back to a woman named Penh finding a tree with four statues of Buddha inside of it.

These statues were later given designated spaces on the hill which became a space for monks to visit and pray. To this day, this temple bustles with monks and visitors from all over the world.

Indonesia Buddhist Monasteries and Temples

The history of Buddhism in Indonesia dates back to the start of travel through the silk route in the 1st century. There are remnants of relics all over Indonesia which depicts the tightly knit history of Buddhism to Indonesian culture.

There are exquisite buddhist temples and shrines all over Indonesia. Indonesia has travelers from all over the globe  that want to learn more about the history of Buddhist empires like Sirvijaya.

Borobudur Temple

Sitting on a hilltop as the world's biggest buddhist monument of the world, Borobudur Temple reflects the stonework and influence of Indian architecture during the seventh century Indonesia.

This Buddhist temple is located on the island of Java, surrounded by lush green trees in all directions. As the best preserved remains of Buddhist heritage, this is the heritage site of UNESCO.

Kalasan Temple

Filled with  Buddhist symbols and themes, Kalasan Temple has a vihara dedicated for Buddhist monks. The temple also known as Candi Kalibening having bodhisattva statues of Buddha.

The temple is just about 13 kms east, a 30 minutes drive from Yogyakarta also called Ayodhya, birthplace of Rama in Hindu scriptures.

Banyunibo Temple

Buddhist temple of the ninth century near the city of Yogyakarta which has an international Airport in Indonesia. The word Banyunibo comes from the word dripping water.

You will find the temple sitting in the middle of a paddy field. The architecture of the temple is beautiful with reference to lotus petals, buddha stupas and bodhisattvas.

Plaosan Temple

The Plaosan complex consists of two beautiful buddhist temples named Plaosan Lor and Plaosan Kidul located not too far away from Kalasan Temple.

Spanning about 2000 square meters, it houses 174 small buildings, 116 stupas and 58 shrines. You will find it reflecting the both hindu-buddhist influence in the architecture.

Muara Takus Temple

Looking at the stupa and lotus shaped architecture, you can feel  the Buddhist origins of the Muara Takus Temple in Indonesia. Built in the 11th century, the temple has been periodically repaired and renovated overtime. The temple is surrounded by 1 meter high walls made of red stones bearing resemblance to Borobudur temple.

Famous Buddhist  Temples and Monasteries in India

Lord Buddha had once traveled to one of the states in India to meditate where he had enlightenment. Gautama Buddha once walked through many parts of India and his teachings are still reverberating long after.

The prevalence of Buddhism is high in the Northern region of India. Places like Darjeeling, Dehradun, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh are filled with Buddhist Monasteries and Temples.

Mahabodhi Temple, Bodh Gaya

As a pilgrim of Buddhism, the most important place to visit when you are in India is the Mahabodhi Temple. This is the place where Buddha attained enlightenment.

It was under a Bodhi tree inside the perimeter of the temple where he meditated. In this UNESCO recognized temple you will find engravings, statues, stupas and lotus ponds.

Thikse Monastery, Leh

Built on a hilltop during the 1430 AD, Thikse monastery is a magnificent place. The monastery also welcomes guests who want to stay at the monastery and learn about Buddhism.

Away from the noisy cities, your ears will be ringing with prayers and chants. You will carry positive experiences from the visit to one of the oldest monasteries of the region.

Mindrolling Monastery, Dehradun

This is the perfect place if you are wanting to take a break from your busy life and spend some time in the peaceful serenity of a monastery. While you are there, you can give Tibetan cuisine a try.

The mindrolling monastery at Dehradun is believed to be hosting one of the world's tallest stupa at over 60 meters tall in height. It is only 9 kms away from the Railway station from which you can take a cab.

Parinirvana Temple

This temple has to be the most important place for followers of Buddhism as it is believed that this is where Buddha left for his heavenly abode leaving his physical body.

The Parinirvana temple is located in a town called Kushinagar in the Uttar Pradesh state of India. The temple houses a 6 meter long statue of buddha in a lying position.

Sanchi Stupa

The Stupa is one of the oldest Buddhist monuments in India of which the construction started in the 3rd century BC. Right now the stupa is protected by UNESCO as a world heritage site.

The beautiful Sanchi stupa was built by the emperor Ashoka on top of relics of Buddha with gates in four different directions. You will be in awe looking at the work of art that connects the place with Buddhist heritage.

Conclusion: Popular Buddhist Temples and Monasteries

Buddhist temples and monasteries are some of the best destinations if you want to make a spiritual journey and if you want to look into your inner self. Finding the right monastery to visit is the key, if you find the right location and right place you can make a peaceful journey of the lifetime.

Visiting the Buddhist monastery and temples and practicing meditation would give you moment the relaxation and you will make an unforgettable travel moment of meditation.