Too Many Temples … Am I Uncultured?

So much of travelling is about the sites you see and when travelling Asia, so many of the sites you see are temples, monasteries and mosques. My first temples were on a city tour of Kathmandu on my first days in Nepal. The big white buildings on top of hills, the colourful buildings in the middle of town with monks in burgundy and orange robes walking in and out, the other big white buildings with smatterings of gold and the sound of men singing and chanting vibrating across the town. All of these were pretty spectacular on my first few visits to them.

One of the first! AMAZING!

But then I continued travelling… and I saw more! A LOT more! In fact every day was filled with seeing ANOTHER monastery, ANOTHER mosque, LOADS more temples! The excitement had gone, those mesmerised eyes had become hollow, the chanting grated on my ears and in all honesty seeing one of these sacred, religious spots seemed as exciting as seeing a tube sign in London. An iconic photo needed to be taken, but once you have seen one you have seen them all. Right?!

My first Monk ... ok maybe not but it was exciting!

My travel buddy, Swatee, had a very different opinion to me and couldn’t get enough of the things. Shall we go to the ‘bla bla’ temple, the ‘whatsit’ monastery, how about a full day touring several monasteries and temples? Hey let’s do it on a hangover too. Well that was the end of it for me, a full day in a hot sweaty bus, head pounding doing nothing but moving from temple to temple … I was spent! Done! Ruined!

Even the Taj didn't have me weak at the knees!

Swatee renamed me ‘The Temple Grump’ and I went with it! Well it got me out of a few visits. But does this make me uncultured? I’m glad I saw them and I have plenty of photos to show for it, I listened and learnt a bit more about Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim religions, I gawped at the architecture, I kneeled and prayed and felt that sense of … erm… God*… wash over me and I think I pleased my travel buddy in visiting the places she loved.

A full day of temples! Ok some were 'kinda' cool!

Does it make me uncultured that I don’t want to see every religious statue in Asia? That I can’t relate to or understand the reasons why a monk decides to be a monk, giving up his life for God? Perhaps I AM uncultured. But I like to think of myself as more of a human contact and natural wonders kind a gal. I can stare at mountains like Everest for hours and never get bored, I can sit and drink Chai with a local and try and make conversation to learn about their average day, all day long. But buildings, statues, religious epitaphs … Sorry but they are not for me! See it, Photograph it. Move on!

We even trekked up a mountain in the sweltering heat to a temple!

Is there such a thing as too many temples for you?

*sorry, a total lie I felt nothing wash over me except the mosquitos that seek solace in building full of unmoving hot blooded humans



  1. Geraldine Rose says

    Hi Jenny
    No, not uncultured. I have seen enough temples to last me a lifetime too but every time we go out anywhere with Sri’s family it has to include a temple visit at some point in the day – they are all terribly superstitious you see. I now wait outside for them…… read my book instead or have a look around outside the temple at the (inevitable) monkeys, or whatever….. I do quite like the carvings on the old temples. Remind me to show you a photograph of a temple that I took a few years back – when you are back in drizzly Derbyshire. Hope you are still enjoying your travels – are you still in Sri Lanka? Love, Geraldine xx

    • jlowthrop says

      Agreed. Once in a while a special one catches my eye but generally I am done with temples. In Malaysia now. Might head to Australia or Indonesia next, not sure. Look forward to the photos when I’m back in Derbyshire :) xx

  2. says

    You can easily get a temple overload in Asia; happened to me after going around the Angkor temples in Cambodia. After that I’ve been going to the occasional temple here and there, but it better have something special about it! And of course in South America it was an overload on churches and cathedrals :) So no, I don’t think getting bored of temples makes you uncultured.

    • jlowthrop says

      Glad you agree and I am not the only one. Occasionally there is a temple that intrigues me, but several a day just sends me crazy! Your blog looks fab, off to Thailand for New Year so will read up on some tips. Jen

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