An air temple, or airbender temple, is a large structure that was formerly inhabited by Air Nomads and the pilgrims they took in from other nations prior to the Air Nomad Genocide, though some also later came to be home to people from other nations who weren't pilgrims. The temples are typically located in isolated and difficult-to-reach environments, such as mountaintops or islands. There are five known temples to date, of which one was completely destroyed in 171 AG.
Southern Air Temple
- Main article: Southern Air Temple
The Southern Air Temple is located in the Patola Mountain Range and was one of two temples that exclusively housed male Air Nomads before the beginning of the Hundred Year War. It was notable for being the home of Avatar Aang. It features an airball arena and an inner sanctuary that houses numerous statues of past Avatars. The temple also contains a statue of Monk Gyatso and was the last known residence of the winged lemur species. It was restored to its former glory by the Air Acolytes after the end of the Hundred Year War.
Northern Air Temple
- Main article: Northern Air Temple
The Northern Air Temple was located in the mountains along the northern coast of the Earth Kingdom and was one of the two temples that exclusively housed male Air Nomads. Prior to the Air Nomad Genocide, it also served as the location of the bison polo championship. Years after the devastating blow the Fire Nation had dealt to the Air Nomads, the deserted temple was colonized by a group of Earth Kingdom refugees, led by a renowned inventor, after their town was destroyed in a flood. The mechanist modified the temple to make life easier for the new inhabitants. The temple once held statues and paintings; however, these and other parts of the temple were destroyed by the mechanist to make room for his new technology. The temple returned to its more traditional appearance after it was restored by the Air Acolytes after the end of the Hundred Year War, though it was destroyed in 171 AG when Ghazan used his lavabending to melt the foundations.
Eastern Air Temple
- Main article: Eastern Air Temple
The Eastern Air Temple is located in a mountain range southeast of the Earth Kingdom and was one of the two temples that exclusively housed female Air Nomads. The site includes many statues of Avatar Yangchen. After the Air Nomads were killed, the temple became the home of Guru Pathik, who taught Avatar Aang how to unlock his chakras and gain mastery of the Avatar State. It is notable for being situated on three separate mountains, connected by bridges and was the place where all young airbenders would choose the flying bison that would become their life companions. According to Tenzin, it is the most spiritual of all air temples.
Western Air Temple
- Main article: Western Air Temple
The Western Air Temple is located in the mountains north of the Fire Nation and was one of the two temples that exclusively housed female Air Nomads. Like the Eastern Air Temple, it boasts statues of Yangchen. The temple is notable in that, unlike the other three temples, it is situated underneath the edge of a cliff instead of atop a mountain. The spires seem as though they were built upside-down, and because of that, the temple is hidden from passersby. The site is also decorated with many flying bison paintings that have remained in relatively good condition, unlike those in the Northern Temple. Renowned as the birthplace of past Avatar Yangchen, Avatar Aang and his friends later made it their temporary home in the later stages of the War.
Air Temple Island
- Main article: Air Temple Island
Air Temple Island is the most recent air temple, built by Avatar Aang himself, and is home to Tenzin and his family. Located off the coast of Republic City near the entrance of Yue Bay, the tides and its coastal geography keep it secluded from casual access. The island sports several structures, including a large tower and a smaller building nearby, and it is inhabited by some sky bison and a different species of flying lemur, the ring-tailed winged lemur.
- All five air temples have come under attack at least once at a certain point: the four original temples by the Fire Nation during the Hundred Year War, and Air Temple Island by the Equalists during the battle for Republic City.
- The gender restrictions in the four temples prior to the outbreak of the Hundred Year War did not affect the Avatar or the pilgrims.
- The gender restrictions of the temples do not completely dictate the temple rules during the time of Korra. The temples house both female and male Air Acolytes, but they live apart in separated dorms.
- Air Temple Island is the smallest of the known air temples.
- The Western Air Temple was the only air temple to not be shown in The Legend of Korra.