This is the biggest temple in the world..and it is a Hindu temple!

India has been in the news globally for the Ram Temple inauguration as well as the BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, inaugurated by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi on his UAE visit. Ever wondered what is the biggest temple in the world?

To answer this question, we need to know what a temple is.

Loosely defined as a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, the word temple is used by many religions, but not all.

In the Western Christian tradition, churches and cathedrals abound, but very few temples

The Eastern Christian traditions use temple very frequently in their scriptures.

How are temples measured, to give them the biggest temple in the world tag? Does the Guinness World Record come into play, or are there more  disputes across countries related to size.

Temples are often part of a larger complex, making things more difficult to measure.

But for the most part, there is general consensus among believers and non-believers alike about the biggest temple in the word.

And it is a Hindu temple!

Third Biggest Temple in the World: Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple


Situated in Tiruchirappalli, Tamilnadu, the Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple stands as the third-largest Hindu temple globally. Holding a paramount position among the 8 self-manifested (Swayam Vyakta Kshetras) temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu, it is a key shrine among the revered 108 Divyadesams.

The primary deity lies in a majestic reclining posture atop Adishesha, adding to the temple’s significance and grandeur.

The Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple is built in the Dravidian style of architecture and is spread over 6,795,360 Square Feet.

Many scholars consider it the largest functioning temple in the world, and it is often ranked among the world’s largest religious complexes such as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, Borobodur in Indonesia, Machu Picchu in Peru, and Vatican City.

One unique feature of this temple-cum-township is the collinear formation of consecrated mini-mandapams housing the deity through the seven enclosures, starting from the eastern outer wall of the sanctuary.

The inner court comprises the inner three enclosures, with the Arya-bhata and the Parama-pada gates defining the south-north axis.

The rest of the enclosures occupy the entire outer area, which is known as the Outer Court.

Second Biggest Temple in the World: BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham Temple

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The BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is the second biggest temple in the world. About 60 miles (90 km) south of Times Square, New York, or about 180 miles (289 km) north of Washington DC, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham is a Hindu temple in the Robbinsville Township of New Jersey.

It was inaugurated in the presence of Mahant Swami Maharaj following a nine-day celebration that commenced on September 30.

The temple is spread over 185 acres, making it the largest Hindu temple in the modern era globally. The temple measures 255 ft x 345 ft x 191 ft.

At the inauguration ceremony, Mahant Swami Maharaj conducted the ‘Pran Prathistha‘ ritual at the temple, surrounded by traditional ceremonies and rituals.

Construction of the temple, devoted to Bhagwan Swaminarayan, commenced in 2011, one of its distinctive attributes is the largest elliptical stone dome ever built.

To construct the temple, 1.9 million cubic feet of stone was used and it was brought from over 29 different sites around the world, including granite from India, sandstone from Rajasthan, teakwood from Myanmar, marble from Greece, Turkey and Italy and limestone from Bulgaria and Turkey.

Elements from Indian architecture and culture have been used in the construction of the temple. It has been designed according to ancient Hindu scriptures and includes design elements, including 10,000 statues and statuettes, carvings of Indian musical instruments and dance forms.

The Akshardham temple complex in New Jersey marks the third such cultural complex globally. The first Akshardham was created in Gandhinagar, the capital of Gujarat, India, in 1992, followed by Akshardham in New Delhi in 2005, which is the fourth-biggest temple in the world.

Biggest temple in the world, in the modern era

The biggest temple in the world in the modern era, the BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham temple was inaugurated in New Jersey in October 2023.

The temple sees thousands of visitors every day, belonging to different faiths.

Bollywood actor Akshay Kumar also tweeted about the grand inauguration of the Akshardham temple in New Jersey, saying ‘Congratulations on the grand opening of Akshardham in New Jersey! It’s a moment of pride to see it become the largest Hindu temple in America and second largest in the world. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and seeing the vision of Guru Mahant Swami Maharaj into making this happen. Absolutely brilliant!’

While the Akshardham is impressive and the biggest currently in the modern era, it is the second biggest temple in the world.

Want to know which is number one? Read on.

Biggest Temple in the World:Angkor Wat

And now we come to the biggest temple in the world.

The biggest temple in the world also happens to be a Hindu temple, the majestic temples of Angkor, or Angkor Wat, in northwest Cambodia.

The ultimate statement of Khmer architectural ingenuity, Angkor Wat is a UNESCO World Heritage site and top of the list for historians and travellers alike.

Not only is the Angkor Wat the biggest temple in the world, or the biggest Hindu temple, it is the largest religious building in the world, period, covering some 500 acres.

A perfect blend of symbolism and symmetry, intricate carvings and motifs, adorn the ancient temples of Angkor.

What is the history of Angkor Wat?

Angkor Wat was built in the 12th century at SiĕmréabCambodia, by Suryavarman II (r 1113–50), a Cambodian god-king, as the earthly representation of Mount Meru, the Mount Olympus of the Hindu faith, and the abode of ancient gods.

Each of the Cambodian kings strove to better their ancestors’ constructions in size, scale, and symmetry, resulting in the biggest temple in the world, Angkor Wat being built.

The Angkor Wat monuments were never abandoned, ruined by nature or defaced over time, they have been in virtually continuous use ever since they were built, adding to their significance.

Biggest Temple in the World: Features of Angkor Wat

Western orientation of Angkor Wat

West is considered the direction of death, which once led a large number of scholars to surmise that Angkor Wat may have been a tomb.

The magnificent bas-reliefs of the temple were designed to be viewed in an anticlockwise direction, a practice that has precedents in ancient Hindu funerary rites, which supported the scholars’ hypotheses.

The God Vishnu is also associated with the west in Hinduism though.

So the common theory is that Angkor Wat most likely served both as a temple and as a mausoleum for the king Suryavarman II.

However Suryavarman II was never buried at Angkor Wat, having died in battle during a failed expedition to conquer the Dai Viet (Vietnam).

Famous celestial nymphs at Angkor Wat

Perhaps one of the most famous features of Angkor Wat is the 3000 apsaras (heavenly nymphs) carved into its walls.

Each apsara is unique, with 37 different hairstyles discovered in the carvings.

The carvings were damaged during cleaning efforts in the 1980s, but they are being restored by conservationists.

The bas-reliefs of Angkor Wat

Stretching around the outside of the central temple complex is an 800m-long (2624ft) series of intricate bas-reliefs – carvings depicting historical events and stories from mythology, which Angkor Wat is known for universally. Visitors to Angkor Wat are struck by the decorative flourishes of these carvings upon entry to the temple complex.

Biggest Temple in the World: How was Angkor Wat built?

The sandstone blocks from which Angkor Wat was built were quarried from the holy mountain of Phnom Kulen, more than 50km (31mi) away, and floated down the Siem Reap River on rafts.

According to inscriptions, the construction of Angkor Wat involved 300,000 workers and 6000 elephants. It was not fully completed. Construction is believed to have spanned some three decades.


Angkor Wat is surrounded by a 190m-wide moat, which forms a giant rectangle measuring 1.5km by 1.3km. From the west, a sandstone causeway crosses the moat.

Outer wall

The rectangular outer wall, which measures 1025m by 800m (3363ft by 2625ft), has a gate on each side.

The main entrance, a 235m-wide (82ft) porch richly decorated with carvings and sculptures, is on the western side. There is a statue of Vishnu, 3.25m (1066ft) in height and hewn from a single block of sandstone, located in the right-hand tower.

Lord Vishnu’s eight arms hold a mace, a spear, a disc, a conch and other items. You may also see locks of hair lying about. These are offerings both from young people preparing to get married and from pilgrims giving thanks.


The avenue is 475m long (1558ft) and 9.5m wide (31ft) and lined with naga (snake) balustrades, leading from the main entrance to the central temple, passing between two libraries and two pools, the northern one a popular sunrise spot for tourists.

Central complex

The central temple complex consists of three stories, each made of laterite, which enclose a square surrounded by intricately interlinked galleries.

The Gallery of a Thousand Buddhas (Preah Poan) used to house hundreds of Buddha images before the war, but many of these were removed or stolen.


The corners of the second and third stories are marked by towers, each topped with symbolic lotus-bud towers.

31m (102ft) above the third level and 55m (180ft) above the ground is the central tower, marking the focal point of the grandeur of the biggest temple in the world.

Upper level

The stairs to the upper level are immensely steep, a stairway to heaven befitting the kingdom of the gods. Also known as Bakan Sanctuary, the upper level of Angkor Wat is open to a limited number of visitors per day.

The temple complex of Angkor Wat comprises more than a thousand buildings, making it one of the great cultural wonders of the world.

Angkor Wat: Does the construction hold any deeper meaning in Hinduism?

The spatial dimensions of Angkor Wat parallel the lengths of the four ages (Yuga) of classical Hindu thought, according to scholars.

A visitor to Angkor Wat who walks the causeway to the main entrance and through the courtyards to the final main tower housing the Vishnu idol during the time of Suryavarman II, is in a sense traversing back to the first age of the creation of the universe.

So essentially you are travelling through time and space in the complex, among the spatial universe in miniature that are the temple-mountains of Angkor.

The central tower is Mount Meru, the dwelling place of the Gods, with its surrounding smaller peaks, the smaller temples, bounded in turn by continents (the lower courtyards) and the oceans (the moat).

The seven-headed naga (mythical serpent) in that sense is a symbolic bridge for humankind to reach the heavens.

Angkor Wat and the city of Angkor through the ages

The city of Angkor served as the royal centre from which a dynasty of Khmer kings ruled one of the largest, most prosperous kingdoms in Southeast Asia.

From the end of the 9th century until early in the 13th century, numerous construction projects were undertaken, the most notable of which was Angkor Wat.

All of the original religious motifs were based in Hinduism and the temple was dedicated to the Holy Hindu trinity of gods, ShivaBrahma, and Vishnu.

After the Cham people of modern-day Vietnam sacked Angkor in 1177, King Jayavarman VII (reigned 1181–c. 1220) decided that the Hindu gods had failed him.

When he built a new capital nearby, Angkor Thom, he dedicated it to Buddhism.

Angkor Wat thus became a Buddhist shrine, and many of its carvings and statues of Hindu deities were replaced by Buddhist art.

In the early 15th century, the city of Angkor was abandoned, but Theravada Buddhist monks maintained Angkor Wat, which remained an important pilgrimage site and continued to attract European visitors.

Angkor Wat was ‘rediscovered’ when the French colonial regime was established in 1863 in Cambodia.

In the 20th century various restoration programs were undertaken at Angkor Wat, but were suspended due to the political climate in Cambodia in the 1970s.

When work resumed in the mid-1980s, many sections had to be dismantled and rebuilt as part of the restoration.

In 1992, the Angkor complex, which included Angkor Wat, was designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO and was immediately added to the list of World Heritage in Danger.

As restoration efforts increased, Angkor Wat was removed from the danger list in 2004.

Today it is one of the most important pilgrimage shrines in Southeast Asia for Hindus, Buddhists and tourists of all faiths. The temple complex even appears on the Cambodian flag, as a symbol of national pride.

List of Biggest Temples in the World

Biggest Temples in the World
S. No. Temple Name Location Size (in acres)
1. Angkor Wat Temple Cambodia 500
2. BAPS Swaminarayan Akshardham  New Jersey, US 185
3. Srirangam temple  Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu 156
4. Akshardham Temple Delhi, India 100
5. Nataraja Temple Tamil Nadu 40
6. Belur Math Kolkata, India 40
7. Annamalaiyar Temple Thiruvannamalai, Tamilnadu 25
8. Ekambareshwarar Temple Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu 23
9. Jambukeswarar Temple Thiruvanaikaval, India 18
10. Meenakshi Temple Madurai, India 17.3
biggest temple in the world