SOURCE: Asia Transpacific Journeys

April 26, 2011 15:07 ET

Exploring Asia's Top 10 Sacred Sites With Asia Transpacific Journeys

BOULDER, CO--(Marketwire - Apr 26, 2011) - American travelers are increasingly visiting destinations in Asia, a recent survey by Hotels.com revealed. Now they can join the millions of devotees that flock to the continent's most sacred sites each year, and turn a vacation in Asia into a transcendent experience.

From the holy city of Varanasi in India, to the world's largest Buddhist monument in predominantly Muslim Indonesia, to the Emerald Buddha in Thailand, Asia Transpacific Journeys has assembled a divine list of the top ten temples, shrines and places of worship in Asia.

1. TAKTSHANG MONASTERY (Bhutan) -- Bhutan's most iconic temple and sacred spot, Tiger's Nest monastery clings dramatically to a cliff 3,000 feet above the valley floor.

2. VARANASI (India) -- It is said that a ritual cleansing in the holy waters of the Ganges at Varanasi absolves the believer of all sins.

3. SHWEDAGON PAGODA (Myanmar/Burma) -- Sheathed in gold plates and topped by a 76-carat diamond, the great golden dome that rises 322 feet above its base in Yangon is Burma's most sacred site.

4. DAMBULLA (Sri Lanka) -- The most impressive of Sri Lanka's cave temples, Dambulla is a UNESCO World Heritage site with over 6,000 square feet of painted walls and ceilings, creating the largest continuous series of paintings in the world.

5. BOROBUDUR (Indonesia) -- These reclaimed ninth century ruins are the largest Buddhist monument on earth, and one of the seven ancient wonders of the world.

6. PASHIPATINATH (Nepal) -- The largest temple devoted to the Hindu god Shiva in the world draws devotees from all over the Indian subcontinent.

7. PAK OU (Laos) -- A natural cave with more than 3,000 Buddha statues left behind by worshipers over the centuries, this mystical pilgrimage site is accessible by boat only.

8. DHARAMSALA (India) -- The capital of the Tibetan government in exile, Dharamsala is the residence of the Dalai Lama.

9. WAT PHRA KAEW (Thailand) -- Known as the "Temple of the Emerald Buddha," this spectacular pilgrimage site in Bangkok is the place where all Thai monarchs have worshiped since the late 18th century.

10. SARNATH (India) -- This sacred site near Varanasi, where Buddha is said to have preached his first sermon after achieving enlightenment, draws pilgrims from around the world.

About Asia Transpacific Journeys

Asia Transpacific Journeys is the nation's leading Asia tour company specializing exclusively in trips to Asia and the Pacific. Founded in 1987, they are the travel company of choice for such prominent organizations as the American Museum of Natural History, the World Wildlife Foundation, and alumni associations of Harvard and Yale.

For more information, please visit www.asiatranspacific.com or call (800) 642-2742.

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