Where was Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom filmed?
Kandy, Sri Lanka, California, Macau, Hong Kong, Hertfordshire, UK
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About Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was released in 1984 and is an American adventure-action film by Steven Spielberg. This movie is a prequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, which was released in 1981.
The villains in Raiders of the Lost Ark were Nazis, so the producers did not want to include the Europeans again and turned their eyes toward Indian maharajas and mythology. However, when the production team tried to get permission to shoot in India, the Indian government denied the filming licenses due to the inaccuracies and falsities in the script and plotlines. To still show an Indian element, the filming took place in Sri Lanka. The film's initial success has severely mixed reviews, with people criticizing the extreme ritualistic behavior, child slavery, and black magic.
The storyline follows swashbuckling Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford), who manages to escape crime boss Lao Che (Roy Chiao) in Shanghai. Lao Che had hired Indy to find the remains of his ancestor, Emperor Nurhachi, in exchange for a large diamond. While escaping from Lao Che's clutches, he saves Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and his Asian child sidekick, Short Round (Ke Huy Quan).
As Indy and co escape via the Shanghai Airport, they realize that the cargo place is owned by Lao Che when the pilots abandon them to die. Indy, Willie, and Short Round escape the plane by jumping off into a life raft and sailing down a snow-capped mountain in the Himalayas. They eventually arrive at the village of Mayapore in India, where the villagers send them on a quest to retrieve the Sankara stone to replenish the rivers, crops, and life in their village.
What follows is a run-in with the cult's demonic priest, the sacred stone's retrieval, the eventual realization that good triumphs over evil as Indy and his friends return to the village with the children, and the goodwill of the people.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Locations
The locations used for the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom film scenes are Macau, Hong Kong, Kandy, Sri Lanka, and California Sierras. Most of the scenes were filmed within these three places, with a few interior scenes like the one in the Obi Wan Club shot indoors on a sound stage set in Hertfordshire in the UK
A few places are no longer available to visit since they are either shut down or closed off after the filming, like the Hamilton Army Airfield, which was used as the scene for Shanghai Airport when Indy, Short Round, and Willie escape Lao Che with the diamond. The actors used blue screens for the close-ups for the landing shots after they jumped out of the plane, and the action scenes were shot on Crest Ridge Run at Mammoth Mountain in California.
Teaser: All the scenes depicting India are filmed in Sri Lanka since the Indian government did not give the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom production team permission to film the inaccuracies in the plot. Travelers wishing to experience the Hindu culture, tradition, and yoga practices should consider North and South India for an immersive spiritual experience.
To make the Indian priest, Mola Ram, seem more sinister, the screenwriters added Hawaiian and Aztec human sacrifice, and European Devil worship to the character.
Indy at the Obi Wan Club seeking payment for Nurhachi's remains scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Elstree Film Studio, Hertfordshire, UK
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) enters the Obi Wan Club and heads straight to the table of Lao Che (Roy Chiao), a notable gangster, and greets him in Mandarin. Lao is surprised and says, "You never told me you spoke my language, Dr. Jones." Indy looks at him and says, "Only on special occasions." Lao asks Indy, "So, it's true? You found Nurhachi?" Indy replies, "Yes, last night, one of your boys tried to get Nurhachi without paying for it."
Lao tries to deflect by claiming Indy insulted his son Wu Han. Still, a fight breaks out after introductions are made between Willie Scott (Kate Capshaw) and Indy over the diamond payment for the remains of Nurhachi.
This daring act is one of the opening Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom action scenes shot at the Elstree Film Studio in Hertfordshire, UK. The Obi Wan Club is an ode to Harrison Ford's Star Wars role and is a set built specifically for this movie. Like many of the earlier Indiana Jones films, Elstree has been instrumental in providing sets for indoor scenes. Getting here is easy if you hop onto bus number 107, hop off at the Elstree Studio stop, and walk for 2 minutes.
Indy, Willie, and Short Round forced to improvise an escape in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mono County, California
While escaping Lao Che's clutches, the plane that Indy, Willie, and Short Round (Ke Huy Quan) escape on also belongs to Lao Che. The Chinese pilots navigate the Himalayas, empty the fuselage, and jump from the plane, trying to kill the three passengers. Willie realizes something fishy when she hears the air flowing throughout the cabin and rushes to the cockpit to notice the pilots are gone.
She panics and runs to Indy screaming, "Oh No! Mister! Mister! Wake up. Please! Dr. Jones! Dr. Jones!" When he wakes up, she pulls him to the cockpit screaming, "No one's flying the plane! They've all gone! You know how to fly, don't you?" Indy gets in the pilot's chair, holds the controls, and tells Willie, "No. Do you know how to fly the plane? How hard can it be?"
This incredible Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom filming location is not the Himalayas but the Mammoth Mountain Ski Area in California. Driving to this scenic location is easy if you catch the US-395 S and keep going towards the Mammoth Scenic Loop.
Indy's life raft careens into the Grand Canyon River scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Tuolumne River, Yosemite National Park
As Indy, Willie, and Short Round jump out of the plane on a life raft, they fall straight onto the snow-covered mountain tops and start sliding downwards. The plane crashes into one of the peaks as they go down the white Himalayan mountains. They dodge trees and large rocks while going down the hill.
Short Round yells, "Slow it down!" Indy turns to him and Willie and screams, "That wasn't so bad, was it?" While he's still completing his statement, the life raft goes over the mountain and careens straight into the river below, falling from a massive height! The three somehow manage to land straight on the water without capsizing. However, they are still in danger yet since they land directly onto grade 5 rapids and are being carried down river.
This feat of utter courage and daring is considered one of the best scenes in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The place where the raft careens is the Grand Canyon of the Tuolumne River at the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir. Getting here is challenging since there are several unnamed roads. However, speaking to a park ranger will help get you where the raft goes over the mountainside and into the river rapids below.
Indy tries to get Willie to eat the food at Mayapore village scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Hantana Tea Plantations, Kandy, Sri Lanka
After Indy, Willie, and Short Round manage to find land, they come across a Shaman who brings them to the poor village of Mayapore. All the people speak to the three in a foreign language, and Indy and his companions cannot understand what they're saying. As they are seated, a poor woman brings them some food. Indy accepts the meager fare and thanks their hosts in English.
Willie misbehaves and rejects the plate of food, saying, "I can't eat this." Indy tries to explain to her, "That's more food than these people eat in a week. They're starving." Willie looks around and thinks they should eat the food, but Indy interrupts her and says, "Eat it." She continues to misbehave and raises her eyebrows at Indy, "I'm not hungry." Indy tries to explain to her, "You're insulting them, and you're embarrassing me. Eat it. Eat."
This filming location of Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom of the village of Mayapore was built on the Hantana Tea Plantation site in Kandy, Sri Lanka. Getting here is accessible only by car via the AB42 to Keppetipola Rd and Hantana Rd.
The elephant ride scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Elephant Orphanage, Rambukkana, Sri Lanka
Indy, Willie, and Short Round leave the village on elephants. Willie manages to bungle her climb on the elephant's back and sits the wrong way. As the elephant moves, she screams, "Wait a second! Indy! I can't go to Delhi like this!" Indy turns around (while on his own elephant) and says, "We're not going to Delhi, doll. We're going to Pankot Palace." Willie starts behaving hysterically and screams, "Pankot? I can't go to Pankot. I'm a singer. I need to call my agent. Is there a phone? I need a phone!"
While passing through on the way to Pankot, they cross a beautiful, picturesque river and wild natural surroundings. Still, Willie doesn't appreciate the beauty and instead keeps cribbing about the smell of the elephants and the flies. She pours perfume on the elephant's head, and when the elephant roars at her, she says, "Oh! Quit complaining. This is expensive stuff."
Out of all the Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom locations in Sri Lanka, this one is always open to tourists and visitors. The Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka allows visitors to spend the day caring for and learning about elephants, their maintenance, and their lives. Getting to the Elephant Orphanage is relatively straightforward. To reach the orphanage, simply drive via Karadupana Jct towards Karandupona-Rambukka Rd/ B199
Indy threatens to drop stones while on rope bridge scene in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
Victoria Dam Observation Center, Mahaweli Ganga, Sri Lanka
Indiana Jones steals the three sacred stones from the underground temple of the Kali Goddess while the head priest Mola Ram (Amrish Puri), tries to sacrifice Willie. Indy tells Willie and Short Round to head to the rope bridge as a means of escape. as they cross to the other side of the rope bridge, they get captured by Mola Ram.
As Indy comes from behind, he is being followed by the bad guys. Mola Ram's swordsmen surround Indy from both sides of the bridge. As the thugs come closer to Indy, he pulls out the bag with the Sankara stones and holds it over the open water, saying, "You want the stones? Let them go! Let her go!" Mola Ram starts laughing and says, "Drop them, Dr. Jones. They will be found. You won't."
This scene is shot at the Victoria Dam Observation Center, Mahaweli Ganga, Sri Lanka. If you want to visit this Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom location, you would need to drive up from Teldeniya Rd and turn onto Moragahamula – Victoria Damtop/ B493 and keep driving till you reach the Victoria Dam Observation Center.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was watched by audiences simply because it was part of the Indiana Jones series of films. However, the movie received a lot of flak for its racism and voodoo practices that went against the basic tenets of Hindu culture. Since many scenes were depicted unnaturally, the film did not do as well as expected.
Despite the obvious holes and flaws in the spiritual aspect of the film, the only saving grace was the scenic locations in Macau, Sri Lanka (which was used to depict India), and the snow-capped mountains in California. The actors made a valiant effort, and the film did not flop because of the acting but the storyline.
While not the best movie in the Indiana Jones series, it was an entertaining one, despite the excessive blood and gore.