Exploring the largest Buddhist Temple in the Southern Hemisphere.
I never would have guessed that I’d find the southern hemisphere’s biggest Buddhist Temple in Australia. But the Nan Then Temple, located in Berkeley, New South Wales, is a gigantic, magnificent structure that made for an enlightening afternoon. The grounds are free to enter, though donations are encouraged.
Founded by the Chinese Buddhist order known as Fo Guang Shan, the temple’s organization works to integrate the religion with the local culture. The complex consists of two main temple halls, gift shops, classrooms, a vegetarian restaurant, an 8-floor pagoda, a calligraphy room, beautifully landscaped gardens, a tea house, an art and sculpture museum hall, and probably more that I didn’t even see.
The most fascinating pieces in the museum hall were tiny carvings made on eggshell and strands of human hair which I had to look through a magnifying glass to see. There is also a small, dark mirror hall in the museum, where Buddha statues and twinkling lights reflect in seemingly infinite mirrors and create a hypnotizing view.
Lining the walls around the courtyard are posters with inspirational quotes and facts about the religion. Inside the temples, the atmosphere is peaceful and meditative. The glimmering fairy lights on the walls illuminate the room as dedicated followers remove their shoes and pray in front of the giant Buddha statues. Photography is prohibited inside the temples, so here are a few photos of the colorful and decorated exterior.