Longhau Temple, Shanghai
The Longhua Temple (literally "Lustre of the Dragon Temple") is the most authentic and complete temple complex in Shanghai. Located in the southern suburbs of the city, the temple was first built in 242 A.D. The temple was destroyed by war towards the end of the Tang Dynasty and rebuilt in 977 AD, during the Northern Song Dynasty. Later in the Song Dynasty, in 1064, it was renamed Kong Xiang Temple, but the original name Longhua Temple was restored in the Ming Dynasty during the reign of the Wanli Emperor. The present architectural design follows the Song Dynasty original. However, whereas the core of the present Longhua Pagoda survives from that period, most buildings in the temple proper were rebuilt during the reigns of the Tongzhi Emperor and the Guangxu Emperor in the Qing Dynasty. A modern restoration of the entire temple complex was carried out in 1954.
The Longhua Temple is the oldest and largest temple in Shanghai. First built in 242 AD, which is during the period of the Three Kingdoms, Longhua Temple is the oldest temple in Shanghai for its long history of over 1700 years. It is one of the best-preserved ancient pagodas in Shanghai, with its original appearance being unchanged, which is that of a Buddhist temple from the Song Dynasty. The temple houses Buddhist scriptures, inscriptions on ancient bronze works or in stone and Buddhist statues dating to the Tang, Five Dynasties, Ming and Qing periods.
A venerable copper bell which is two meters in height, one point three meters in diameter and weighs five tons (11,023 pounds) is placed on the three-storied Bell Tower. The Evening Bell-Striking Ceremony on 31st December is regarded as one of the eight great attractions of Shanghai.
It costs RMB10 (US$1.50) to enter. Expect to spend an hour or two. There is a small giftshop on the side, that offers numerous jade souveniers from necklaces and earrings to figurines.
Hours: 07:00 AM - 4:00 PM
First built in 242 AD, during the period of the Three Kingdoms, it is the oldest temple in Shanghai for its long history of over 1700 years. Most of the buildings in the Temple were reconstructed during the reign of the Emperor Tongzhi and Guangxu in the Qing Dynasty.
It also is the largest temple in Shanghai. "It 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 ,Devajara Hall , Mahavira Hall ,Three Sages Hall , Abbot's Hall 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. Accessory halls on the two sides are the Bell Tower and the Drum Tower, with the same hexagonal windows and curved eaves.
Pretty impresive, isn't it?
I don't know a lot about Chinese architecture or religion but the complex of Longhua is one of the most interesting sights of my travel in Shanghai, not for the architecture itself but a lot more for the good demonstration of the Chinese culture that the temple is.
We came here with the idea of seeing another temple and we found ourselves a crowd and something that tried to be a queue but it was more like a mob triying to buy the tickets for the temple. I waited a bit but to be honest after havinga lot of people pushing me, and mobbing me I decided to jump all queues and just cross the gate to the temple. NO ONE at all noticed me going in there without a ticket because there was so much people there ! God, nothing I can say can give you an idea of it.
I had to move constantly as people kept steping on my shoes, pushing me, bowing with these sticks of incense and dropping all the ashes in my hair. Gosh!! Really dangerous, I can tell you. In the end I got fed up and I scaped that place but the impression of the atmosphere still remains with me today.
I hope my pic gives you an idea of the whole thing!
Many temples of Shanghai are definitely worth a visit. Longhau is one of the oldest. It also has a unique pagoda across the street.