There are iconic structures around the world that plenty of travellers wish to see. From the Sydney Opera House and the Eiffel Tower to the Empire State Building and the Colosseum, you could spend your entire life visiting international landmarks. However, there are some equally awe-inspiring works of architecture that few people have ever heard of. One area of the world that's wrought with hidden structural treasures is Asia.
Make sure to purchase travel insurance if you decide to visit any of these three majestic structures.
1. Temples of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat
Siem Reap, Cambodia, is home to Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Within this region are the temples of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat, two magnificent structures that are worth a visit. Angkor itself is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization World Heritage site based on the remnants of the Khmer Empire that remain intact. The UNESCO World Heritage Convention explained how the site contains several temples that demonstrate architecture of the time and religious symbolism that dominated during this empire's thriving years.
Although the magnificent temples of Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat draw visitors to the former capital city from around the world, there is plenty more to see within its walls. Check out the Terrace of the Elephant, the Terrace of the Leper King and Bayon. According to Tourism of Cambodia, Bayon is a massive golden tower that's surrounded by hundreds of stone chambers and smaller towers. It's located at the center of Angkor Thom and is meant to represent the connection between the heavens above and the earthly kingdom.
2. The Great Wall of India
Everyone has heard of the Great Wall of China, but how many could identify the Great Wall of India? Located in Rajasthan, it's the second-longest wall in the world - after China's. With seven fortified gates spaced out along 36 kilometres of wall, more than 350 temples are contained inside. During the 19th century, the wall was completed, making it nearly 5 metres thick in some places.
The wall is also called Kumbhalgarh, and it was built around 1443 to protect the fort of Rana Kumbha, the local ruler at the time. According to the BBC, legend surrounding the wall claims Rana Kumbha asked his spiritual advisor what would allow the wall's construction to be completed. He was advised to make a human sacrifice and the temple inside the main gate was built where the victim's head fell.
Atlas Obscura suggested climbing the surrounding hills to a palace that offers amazing views of this Indian city. Past visitors on TripAdvisor explained how there's a sound and light show every evening that's worth sticking around for. In addition to bringing more dimension to the already spectacular wall, the show offers information about the rulers who once dominated the land.
3. Chand Baori
Head to Abhaneri, India, to explore this underground square stepwell. It's one of the largest in the world, yet not many people add it to their itineraries. According to the BBC, the structure was commissioned by King Chanda around the year 850. With more than 3,500 stairs that lead you 30 metres below ground, it's quite an experience. The source explained how the stepwell was built about 13 stories down to keep the water at the bottom cool despite India's dry, desert climate.
People on TripAdvisor who've stopped by the Chand Baori recommended making the trip to the stepwell, especially if you're already visiting the Harshat Mata temple. It only takes about 15 minutes to explore and there isn't much to see beyond the well itself, but the structure's beauty makes it worth the journey.