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Yufeng Temple

yufeng-templeAt the southern foot of Jade Dragon Snow Mountain, 13 kilometers (nine miles) northwest of the Old Town is a small lamasery named Yufeng Temple - one of the Scarlet Sect lamaseries of Lijiang.

First built in 1756 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty, Yufeng Temple used to have nine courtyards, but only the gate tower, the main hall, and two courtyards have remained after so many years' historical vicissitude. The beautiful scenery around Yufeng Temple is a special gift from the deity. The temple backs onto a snow mountain and faces a meadow. It is surrounded by the flourishing forest and a river.

yufeng-temple01Due to the cultural communion between different minorities and different areas in the Qing Dynasty, Yufeng Temple shows the distinctive and conjunct architectural style of Han Buddhism, Tibetan Buddhism, Taoism and the local Naxi Dongba Religion. It is these compatible and harmonious traits that have allowed the Naxi culture to develop and enrich so quickly.

The best times to experience the ravishing views of Yufeng Temple are in late spring and early summer because the famous camellia tree is in full blossom during this period. It is said that camellia tree was planted in Emperor Chenghua's era of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), that is to say, the tree is older than the temple. The flowers of the camellia tree can bloom for more than 100 days, and there are, altogether, twenty thousand flowers blooming in 20 batches. The camellia tree is three meters (ten feet) in height and 34 centimeters (one foot) in diameter. The Lamas at Yufeng Temple subtly plait the branches of the camellia tree into a 56 square-meter (67 yards) flowery canopy. When stepping close to the tree, you find yourself plunging into an ocean of redolent and beauteous flowers. Look at the flowers carefully and see if you can discover the uniqueness of this old camellia tree: the intoxicating flowers are of two different varieties. The bigger ones are pink and nine pistillate while the smaller ones are white and single pistillate; two trees, which originally grew side by side, have now, over the years, entwined.

Yufeng Temple is a historical witness of the peaceful coexistence and syncretism of multinational cultures and religions, and still plays a very important role in acculturation of Naxi Ethnic Group.

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