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Longhua Temple

longhua-temple Longhua Temple is situated in the southwest part of the city. It is a major attraction in Shanghai. Though its popularity spread only after 1900s, this biggest and oldest temple in the lower reaches of the Yangtze River Delta is very familiar indeed.

Legend has it that Longhua Temple was the first built in 242 during the Three Kingdoms period when Sun Quan, King of Wu, had it built to show filial love to his mother.


longhua-temple01The Longhua Pagoda and Temple area has been open to the public as Longhua Park. In late spring when peaches are in full blossom and willows in full green, large numbers of tourists and pilgrims will come and Longhua becomes a place of great hustle and bustle. Still today, the temple, visited by large numbers of monks and laymen each day, is flourishing. At night on every New Years Eve the ceremony of "Striking the Longhua Evening Bell" is conducted here and is well known at home and abroad. Each time, a large number of people, Chinese as well as foreign, come to listen to the ringing of the temple bell.

Longhua Temple is the oldest and largest Buddhist structure in the Shanghai area. It was built during the Five Dynasties (907-960A.D). There stands an octagonal, seven-story and 40-meter-high pagoda built in the Song Dynasty. Each story of the pagoda features upturned eaves and winding balustrades. The temple, the pagoda, the temple fair and the evening bell chiming constitute a religious tourist attraction. It houses many Buddhist scriptures, gold seals and statues from the Tang Dynasty, the Five Dynasties, the Ming Dynasty, and the Qing Dynasty. Longhua Temple had been destroyed several times and today's temple was rebuilt during the Daoguang Reign of the Qing Dynasty. Longhua Temple occupies an area of over 20,000 square meters and the architectural proportion is about 5,000 square meters. Along the 194 meters long axis are the Maitreya Hall (Miledian), Devajara Hall (Tianwangdian), Mahavira Hall (Daxiongbaodian), Three Sages Hall (Sanshengdian), Abbot's Hall (Fangzhangshi) and the Sutras Keeping Hall (Cangjinglou), which keeps the three treasures of the temple including the Dazang sutras, the gold seals and the Buddhist statues. Its main hall and all other halls are stately and splendidly structured.

The Longhua Pagoda is located next to the Longhua Temple. Driving southeastwards from the city center, one can see the Longhua Pagoda in the distance the moment one reaches the city’s eastern suburb. Bronze bells are hung on each corner of the eaves; when the wind blows, the bells yield a pleasant sound. the brick body and the wooden staircases make up the main structure of the Longhua Pagoda.