Xiantong Temple

On August 26, 2011, in Historical Relics, Popular Provinces, Shanxi, Temples, by Jack Li

Xiantong Temple is in the central area of Taihuai County. It is the oldest and the largest temple in the Mount Wutai. It started to be built during the Yongle Era in the Han Dynasty. It was originally named Dafu Lingjiao Temple. The Xiantong Temple was enlarged in Beiwei Dynasty. It then was named Garden Temple because there was a garden besides the temple. When it came to the Tang Dynasty, Emperor Wuzetian, the only woman monarch in Chinese histor y, changed the name to Dahuayan Temple. After that, Emperor Taizu in the Ming Dynasty renamed it to Daxianzong Temple. It really has a long history about the temple’s names.

There are more than four hundred architectures in Xiantong Temple, covering an area of 80,000 square metres. Mountains and green pines around the temple add a solumn atmosphere to the temple. There are in all seven palaces in the Xiaotong Temple including Guanyin Palace, Wenshu Palace, Dafo Palace, Wuliang Palace, Qianbo Palace, Tongduan Palace, and Zangjing Palace. There are all magnificent but with different features. The most impressive palace is the Tongduan Palace, because it was made by bronze. There were three bronze palaces in China. Another two were in Mount E Mei and Mount Baohua. Now Xiantong Temple is the only bronze palace existing. The bronze palace is square and five metres high. Over 10,000 small Buddhas are carved on the walls inside the palace. In the middle of the palace, there stands a big Buddha called Wanfo Rulai. There used to be five bronze towers in front of the Xiantong Temple. However Japan invaded China in 1937 and stole three of these five towers. There are only two left. The Towers are eight metres high, with thirteen floors. The towers are carved with images of Buddha. The bases of the towers are square with four muscle men’s statue in sides. Their function was to hole the tower. There is a bell tower built in the Ming Dynasty right in front of the temple. When the bell is sticking, people in each corner of the mountain are able to hear it.

Jack Li
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