|"This temple is the most spiritual of all the air temples."|
|— Tenzin to Korra.|
The Eastern Air Temple is one of the four original temples of the Air Nomads and, sometime after the end of the Hundred Year War, became inhabited by a group of Air Acolytes. Before the war, it was one of the two air temples, the other being the Western Air Temple, which traditionally housed female airbenders, and it was regarded as the most spiritual of all the air temples, and was therefore a starting point for many spiritual journeys. However, its population was wiped out during the Air Nomad Genocide in 0 AG, and the temple itself suffering severe damage. The deserted premises became inhabited by Guru Pathik for an extended period of time and served as the location where he eventually taught Avatar Aang how to control the Avatar State in 100 AG. Seventy-one years later, the Air Acolytes had restored the temple to its former glory, and Korra came there to learn how to enter the Spirit World. The Air Acolytes have recently been joined by some airbenders from the new Air Nation.
In the late 4th century BG, an airbending prodigy, Jesa, was born at the Eastern Air Temple, becoming a renowned airbending master at an early age. To the horror of her people, however, she eventually abandoned the Air Nomads' ways, and became a crime boss in the Earth Kingdom. The Eastern Air Temple's leadership eventually disowned her. Around the same time, the temple was visited by Avatar Kuruk, who mostly flirted with the nuns.
At some point after 295 BG, the Council of Elders of the temple decided to exile an Air Nomad named Tsewang for misdeeds she did not commit. When the Air Nuns realized their mistake, they sent a group of people to find the exiled airbender. However, the task proved to be harder than expected, as Tsewang was nowhere to be found and she tried to join a daofei organization.
Like the rest of the Air Nomads, the Elders of the Eastern Air Temple followed a policy of isolationism by the early life of Avatar Kyoshi. Like Jesa, those who committed violence were exiled, and even those who indulged in "worldly" affairs against the advice of the Elders could be considered "renegade". It was known that the Eastern Air Temple even exiled a nun named Tsewang for crimes she did not commit, although the Elders later realized their mistake and offered her a full pardon.
By the era of Roku, the Air Nomads' relationship to the world had changed, including the Eastern Air Temple. They now frequently worked with the other nations in order to help as many people as they could. When the movement known as the Guiding Wind began to argue that the Air Nomads should not work with the nobility and wealthy elite of the world, as it would impede the spiritual growth of all people, the Eastern Elders viewed them as too disruptive to take seriously. They did little to stop miners from the Earth Kingdom strip-mining the mountains near the temple at the beginning of the period of industrialization. A giant spirit called the Stone Dreamer was awakened by the miners disrupting its home, with the Eastern Elders thus debating on whether to take the side of the spirit who wished to protect its home, or to take the side of the humans who were now being hurt.
Decades later, during Aang's childhood, a group of female nomads led by Sister Iio were present at the temple, caring for a herd of sky bison. Among an adult bison's litter was a newborn Appa, who soon became Aang's animal guide. Six years afterward, Avatar Aang was to be separated from his mentor, Monk Gyatso by the elders of the Southern Air Temple, who decided to send Aang to the Eastern Air Temple to complete his airbending training, away from Gyatso's fatherly influence. However, before they could do this, Aang overheard their plans and ran away.
This temple suffered a great amount of damage at the hands of the Fire Nation after Fire Lord Sozin declared war on the other three nations. He used the powers of Sozin's Comet to kill the Air Nomads residing in the temple, the increased pyrotechnical power also setting the temple's structures ablaze. Out of all of the existing air temples, the Eastern Air Temple suffered the worst damage, including the reduction of its leftmost pagoda to half its original height.
A hundred years after the genocide, Aang traveled to the Eastern Air Temple to meet Guru Pathik, who had been waiting for him after a vision. The guru recently had a run-in with Appa, who fled to the temple following his capture. The guru cared for Appa and sent him off with a letter to Aang, which stated that he could teach him how to control the Avatar State. Guru Pathik and Aang went through a series of meditations designed to open the seven chakras. However, Aang left the temple during the process of unlocking his seventh chakra, rendering him unable to enter the Avatar State at all.
Along with the other temples, the Eastern Air Temple was restored to its former glory by the Air Acolytes and Avatar Aang.
In 171 AG, Tenzin and his family visited the temple as part of their vacation, intending to visit all the ancient sites after their restoration by the Air Acolytes residing there. That plan changed, however, upon Korra's arrival and transformed into a quest to help the Avatar enter the Spirit World. In order to do so, Tenzin took Korra to several highly-spiritual places, though none of them proved to be sufficient enough to let Korra cross over. Eventually, Jinora informed her father that she could help as she had been in contact with spirits before. To prove her claim, she told her dragonfly bunny spirit friends to show themselves, much to the amazement of her family.
The spirits subsequently guided Korra and the others to a neglected meditation circle. However, after Tenzin performed a spiritual cleansing ritual, the group was attacked by a swarm of bat-like dark spirits that resided there. When Korra used Unalaq's purifying technique to calm the spirits, the overgrowing vegetation disappeared, restoring the site to its former glory. Korra allowed Tenzin to meditate first in hopes of crossing over to the Spirit World. However, the airbending master's attempts proved to be futile, and his eldest daughter, Jinora, took over, successfully guiding Korra into the Spirit World. However, due to problems they encountered in the Spirit World, only Korra managed to return, much to Tenzin's despair. The group returned to the main section of the temple, carrying Jinora's meditative body with them, as Tenzin vowed to do whatever it took to get his daughter back.
Unlike the Northern and Southern Air Temples, the Eastern Air Temple is housed on three separate mountains, connected by bridges. Not much is known about its physical appearance, except that it was once a great temple, left desolate after the Fire Nation's attacks. It has three pagodas, one on each mountain, with green tiled roofs. The center mountain pagoda has a couple smaller buildings next to it. As well, at least one of the mountains has a waterfall flowing out of a cave along the slope, supplied by the runoff from snowmelt and a natural spring inside the hollow.
The Eastern Air Temple was the former home to many flying bison, though since the slaying of the Air Nomads, the stables are home to many spider bats. Appa was born and raised here and had left his mark in his stall by biting the metal ring around the manger. When Appa visited the stables a century later, he had a flashback of his youth here, and reminiscing, he bit the ring as he had when he was young, but wound up coughing heavily due to the amount of dust.
The meditation circle is located some distance from the main temple. The area was not known by the Air Acolytes, and due to its neglect, there was an overgrowth of vegetation and reduced spiritual connections. Following Tenzin's cleansing of the area, the group was overwhelmed by swarms of bat-like dark spirits. After Korra purified the spirits, the overgrowing vegetation disappeared, restoring the circle to its former glory.
- This is the only air temple that is not the title of an episode, and the only one visited solely by Aang throughout Team Avatar's journey.
- Though it was the most damaged, the Eastern Air Temple did not exhibit any damage from the severe fire attacks shown in the flashback episode, "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", where the temples burnt immensely.
- Along with the other three ancient air temples, the Eastern Air Temple was restored to its former glory by Avatar Aang and the Air Acolytes after the Hundred Year War.
- The architecture of the Eastern Air Temple resembles that of Angkor Wat, an old Buddhist temple in Cambodia.
- Some nuns of the Western Air Temple considered the extra sanctity of the Eastern Air Temple to be more reputation and less proven truth.