It was the gilded temples that gave Asia its nickname: 'the Golden East'. From Bali to Bangkok and Angkor to Amritsar, this region boasts some of the most remarkable religious buildings ever constructed. Some, like Angkor Wat, are gloriously evocative ruins; others, like Amritsar's Golden Temple, are living religious sites, still in everyday use. Then there is Lhasa's Potala Palace and Jokhang Temple, the focus of hope for an entire religion. Asia temples are reliquaries of history, as well as belief. The temples and statues of Polonnaruwa in Sri Lanka were hollowed out a thousand years ago, but new temples are springing up across the region to honour the myriad deities and sacred figures of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Asian religions. For many travellers, no day in Asia would be complete without at least one temple visit – ideally at dawn, with an offering of incense or lotus flowers as a tribute to the incredible human creativity behind these wonderful religious monuments.