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This article is about the location. For the titular episode, see "The Southern Air Temple". For the location in the film, see Southern Air Temple.

The Southern Air Temple, located in the remote Patola Mountain Range, is one of the four original Air Nomad temples and one of the two that traditionally housed male airbenders, the other being the Northern Air Temple. Although it used to accept pilgrims from other nations,[1] the temple was thought to be only accessible via flying bison during Aang's lifetime. In spite of this, the Fire Nation managed to wipe out the temple's population during the Air Nomad Genocide, abruptly ending millennia of use by monks and nuns.[2] Though it remained uninhabited for the duration of the Hundred Year War, the Southern Air Temple was restored to its former glory shortly after the conflict's end by the Air Acolytes, who remained to settle in the temple grounds to preserve Air Nomad culture through many of their observances. They have recently been joined by airbenders from the new Air Nation.


Air Nomad period[]

The Southern Air Temple is thousands of years old.[2]

Kelsang, Avatar Kuruk's airbending master, hailed from the Southern Air Temple[3] but he was disgraced among his people and exiled by the Council of Elders of this temple after he decimated a Fifth Nation fleet, taking lives in the process,[4] even though he did so to protect the citizens of the southern Earth Kingdom.[5] The Air Nomads at this time followed a rather firm policy of isolationism from the other nations in their quest for detachment from the world.[4]

In 296 BG, Monk Jinpa was the administrative head of the Southern Air Temple, responsible for the little material wealth the monks kept, handling logistics and finance.[1]

Avatar Kyoshi sought sanctuary at the Southern Air Temple after the death of Kuruk's earthbending master, Jianzhu, who sought to control her for his own political gain. It was here that she was first openly acknowledged and accepted as the Avatar, and she used her position to restore her adoptive father, Kelsang, to an honored place among the Air Nomads.[1]

The Southern Air Temple was the childhood home of Monk Gyatso, who met and befriended Avatar Roku there when he came to the temple to master the art of airbending.[6] By this point in time, the Air Nomads forged closer ties with the other nations so that they could help others as much as possible. All temples supported the construction of the Fire & Air Center of Learning in the Fire Nation to teach their ways to others.[7] When the southern Earth Kingdom experienced severe flooding, the Southern Air Temple was the only party to provide selfless aid to those affected, while the corrupt Earth King Jialun only provided military support with the condition that those affected come to work on the Outer Wall of Ba Sing Se.[8]

During this period, an Air Monk named Mikyo went missing after traveling to the South Pole to learn what was causing the spirits to stir. Many Air Nomads in the south were busy helping with the seismic activity in the Earth Kingdom, and they had to look for someone brave enough to go and find the missing airbender.[9]

The Air Nomads of this time debated whether helping the other nations meant impeding their spiritual growth, as forging ties with world leaders often meant working with those with a lot of worldly prosperity. When the order known as the Guiding Wind broke from the temples in opposition to working with the other nation's nobility, the Southern Air Temple did not take an official stance at first.[10] Figures such as Monk Gyatso remained neutral in such discourse, believing that diversity among the Air Nomads was a good thing, and that debate often led to fruitful progress no matter the decision.[11]

After Roku's death, the temple also served as the childhood home of Avatar Aang, who was raised there by Gyatso before he ran away after overhearing the Council of Elders' decision that he should be sent away to the Eastern Air Temple to complete his airbending training as the Avatar.[12][13]

Genocide and ruination[]

Sanctuary door

The Southern Air Temple's sanctuary door was sealed for over one hundred years.

At 0 AG, during the passing of the comet later known as Sozin's Comet, the temple was raided as part of Fire Lord Sozin's genocide on the Air Nomads, which ultimately instigated the Hundred Year War. Though the temple's inhabitants defended themselves against the invaders, they were eventually overpowered by the Fire Nation troops and were all killed. The sole known survivor of the massacre was the person the Fire Nation sought to kill in its quest for supremacy: the twelve-year-old airbender and Avatar, Aang, who had run away from the Southern Air Temple shortly before the War began and became trapped in ice in suspended animation.[13]

Although the airbenders were exterminated, a community of farmers managed to survive on the archipelago belonging to the Southern Air Temple, though the Fire Nation raided their crops. In the late stages of the war, their buildings appeared abandoned, and they only managed to defend themselves with the training of a mysterious martial artist who had set up a dojo in the Patola Mountains.[14] Like the other air temples, the surrounding area was patrolled by Fire Army units, sometimes plagued by bandits, and there were some dark spirits haunting the area.[9]

The temple was revisited by Aang, with his friends Katara and Sokka, in late 99 AG. There, he discovered a winged lemur, which he named Momo,[12] and the fate of the air temple and its people, including Gyatso at the Altar of Remembrance,[15] causing him to realize that all the Air Nomads were wiped out and that he, Appa, and Momo were all that remained.[12]

At some point after the Hundred Year War, Aang scoured the ruins of the Southern Air Temple in his quest to revive Air Nomad culture. He found badly damaged documents at the temple, one of which helped him to reconstruct some traditional Air Nomad recipes.[16]


Like the other air temples, the Southern Air temple was eventually restored by the Air Acolytes, some of whom also began to inhabit it. The temple became a pilgrimage site for Air Acoltyes who wanted to study Air Nomad philosophy and history.[17]

Southern Air Temple gardens

Tenzin and his family were greeted by the Air Acolytes at the renewed Southern Air Temple gardens.

In 171 AG, Tenzin planned to visit the Southern Air Temple with his family and the Avatar, desiring to spend more time with his family and hoping to deepen Korra's spiritual connection. Plans changed, however, and Korra did not accompany the family to Aang's home temple. As soon as Oogi landed on temple ground, the family was greeted by a delegation of Air Acolytes led by Abbot Shung. Bumi and Kya, who accompanied the family, were also greeted with reverence by a female acolyte, as she believed them to be airbenders as well. She promptly apologized for the misunderstanding and left the siblings to continue her work.

Jinora looking at Aang's statue

Jinora visited the statue room shortly after she arrived at the Southern Air Temple.

Shortly after their arrival, Tenzin and his children visited the statue room located within the sanctuary. Ikki and Meelo occupied themselves with an air scooter race through the sanctuary as opposed to listening to their father's lecture. They crashed into a statue, however, causing Tenzin to leave Jinora, who found Aang's statue among the others and became connected to it, similar to how her grandfather had been connected to Roku's. That night, Jinora awoke to revisit the statue room, where she found the statue depicting Wan and Raava, its design notably different from the others. While Jinora pondered over the identity of the Avatar it depicted, Wan's statue began to glow, concurrent with Korra's opening of the Southern spirit portal.[18]


Southern Air Temple outlook

The Southern Air Temple was uninhabited in 99 AG.

Prior to the Hundred Year War, the temple was large and peaceful, had simple and open spaced gardens, and an airball arena. Long paths that twisted and turned like meditation mazes lead up the slopes of the mountain to the temple's earthbound entrances.[1] The Cragfoot Crossing serves as a path between Nomad's Landing — a platform where Air Nomads used to land on from their gliders — and the entrance to the temple grounds, leading to the Silent Junction, which communicates the airball court, the sanctuary, and the Alta of Remembrance.[15] The massive facility features a sanctuary in which statues of past Avatars are arranged for exhibition. The temple itself primarily served as a training ground for airbender students and was once inhabited by flying bison and winged lemurs in the days of the original Air Nomads. As a result of being built for and by the monks, several doors and mechanisms are operable only through means of airbending. A statue of Monk Gyatso stands at the entrance to the temple. Unlike the other three original temples, the Southern Air Temple boasts blue, elaborately decorated spires rather than the green, plain spires that adorn the others.[12]

By 171 AG, the temple had been restored to its former glory by the Air Acolytes led by Abbot Shung, who made residence in the temple grounds with both male and female Acolytes living together. New structures had been added to facilitate the new inhabitants and it boasted a thriving population of ring-tailed winged lemurs, similar to the ones that had inhabited the temple prior to the Air Nomad Genocide. The statue room had also been restored and updated to include a statue of Avatar Aang.[18] Following Harmonic Convergence, some of the Air Nation's new airbenders came to the Southern Air Temple to help care for it.[19]

Avatar's quarters[]

The temple had quarters reserved for the Avatar's current incarnation, with dark wooden floor, carpeted with naturally shed bison wool that was woven into patterns of Air Nomad whorls, and orange columns that held the ceiling up. The quarters had stations for meditative exercises, including a reflective pool, and a blank stone surface surrounded by vials of colored sand. Avatar Kyoshi stayed here for some time after revealing herself as the Avatar to the world.[1]

Bison pen[]

The temple was home to many flying bison,[20] one of them being Pengpeng, who started raising her calves here after leaving Avatar Kyoshi's company.[21]

Notable figures[]


  • The Southern Air Temple is the only original air temple with blue spires instead of the green spires which adorn the other three temples.
  • In early previews of "The Southern Air Temple", Aang referred to this structure as the Jongmu Air Temple.
    • The Lost Scrolls: Air, page 212 of The Lost Scrolls Collection, states that Momo originated from the Jongmu Air Temple. Considering the fact that the information in the book series was taken from episode screenplays,[23] the Southern Air Temple was still titled "Jongmu" up to that stage of production. Page 232 uses "Jongmu Temple" instead of "Jongmu Air Temple" in place of "Southern Air Temple", as does the final page of The Lost Scrolls: Air. Additionally, another Avatar book, Brainbenders page 12, states that Jongmu Air Temple is the name of the Southern Air Temple, suggesting that "Southern Air Temple" is only a colloquialism.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Thirty-Two, "Hauntings". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  2. 2.0 2.1 From older Avatar: The Last Airbender official site, originally on Nick.com. Encyclopedia now broken, archived at The Lost Lore of Avatar Aang - Location: The Southern Air Temple.
  3. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter One, "The Test". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 40.
  5. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 16, 2019). Chapter Seven, "The Iceberg". The Rise of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  6. Ehasz, Elizabeth Welch (writer) & Spaulding, Ethan (director). (October 26, 2007). "The Avatar and the Fire Lord". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 3. Episode 6. Nickelodeon.
  7. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 46.
  8. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 55.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 265.
  10. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 51.
  11. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 50.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 DiMartino, Michael Dante (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (February 25, 2005). "The Southern Air Temple". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 3. Nickelodeon.
  13. 13.0 13.1 Ehasz, Aaron (writer) & MacMullan, Lauren (director). (June 3, 2005). "The Storm". Avatar: The Last Airbender. Season 1. Episode 12. Nickelodeon.
  14. "Mountain Passage", Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (August 11, 2022). Square Enix.
  15. 15.0 15.1 "The Southern Air Temple", Avatar: Generations. Navigator Games & Square Enix Mobile London (August 11, 2022). Square Enix.
  16. Avatar: The Last Airbender Cookbook: Official Recipes from the Four Nations, p. 9.
  17. The Legend of Korra—The Art of the Animated Series, Book Two: Spirits, page 40.
  18. 18.0 18.1 Hamilton, Joshua (writer) & Graham, Ian (director). (September 13, 2013). "The Southern Lights". The Legend of Korra. Book Two: Spirits. Episode 2. Nickelodeon.
  19. Avatar Legends: The Roleplaying Game. Core Book, Version 1.0, 2022, p. 90.
  20. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Fourteen, "The Message". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  21. Yee, F. C. (author), DiMartino, Michael Dante (author). (July 21, 2020). Chapter Three, "Past Lives". The Shadow of Kyoshi. Amulet Books.
  22. Mindbenders and Brainbusters: The Ultimate Avatar Challenge, p. 21 and 45.
  23. Credit page of each "lost scroll".

See also[]