Temple of the Five Celestial Beings, Guangzhou
It is said that at the time of Emperor Yi of the Zhou Dynasty (1122-770 B.C.), five immortals riding five goats with rice ears in their mouths descended on the then Guangzhou by bestowing the local people with rice. Having wished the locals bumper harvests in the future, the immortals rose to the sky and disappeared. This footprint is said to have been left by one of them but it was filled with water when I was there.
This tower is the show-piece of the Five Celestials Shrine and also goes by the name of Jin Zhong Tower. It was built in 1374 and is the only bell tower in Guangzhou. The tower is 17.5 metres high and built of red sandstone. You can climb up the tower to see the bell and look down on the Back Palace.
The Five Celestials Shrine was established in 1377 and is dedicated to the five immortals. According to legend, during the reign of King Yi of the Zhou Dynasty, five celestials (three men and two women) riding five goats with rice ears in their mouths descended on the then Guangzhou by bestowing the local people with rice. Having wished the locals bumper harvests in the future, the immortals rose to the sky and disappeared. Their goats turned into stone statues, hence the name of Guangzhou as Yangcheng (City of Goats) and Suicheng (City of Rice Ears). The Five Celestials Shrine was built to commemorate the celestials and houses the footprints of the immortals. More photo's can be found in one of my travelogues.
Open: 9am-5pm every day. Admission: RMB5.
The name of this fascinating Taoist Temple is translated in a few different ways. It's sometimes also called the Five Genies Temple or the Temple of the Five Immortals. In Chinese, it is called "Wuxian Guan". These names refer to the most famous story about the origins of Guangzhou in which the Five Celestial Beings came to Guangzhou riding on Five Celestial Rams and brought rice and the knowledge of rice cultivation to the people as a means of avoiding the scourge of famine... This temple was built around one of the gigantic footprints left by one of these five celestial beings, which you can see in the photo here...
I like the story of the coming of the Five Celestial Beings... It sounds to the modern ear like some sort of visit by alien beings from another planet, bringing their technology to the ancient peoples of the Earth...! Pictured here is one of the huge and incredible trees that grow on the temple grounds, as seen from the top floor of the Ming Dynasty Bell tower. The rooftop you see at the right is the roof of the temple...
During the Ming Dynasty, a bell tower was built adjacent to the temple. It was apparently destroyed by a fire in 1864 but then re-built again. Today you can see the reconstructed Ming Tower and even climb it to have a look at the original Ming Dynasty bell itself, which ways about 5 tons! That's about 4500 kilograms! Shown here is a photo of the bell...
This bronze bell in the Lingnan Tower was cast in 1378 and is the largest to still exist in Guangzhou.
The palace, which is the first building you'll come to after entering through the front gate, was built in 1537. Its roof is double-eaved and it comprises three rooms.