Let yourself be seduced by the charm of Longhua temple in shanghai, an ancient grandest and oldest Buddhist temple.
Whether you are looking for fun with friends or a family trip to a peaceful place, this temple is perfect.
Well, in this article, we will explore Shanghai’s beautiful Longhua temple. You can learn about the history of this Buddhist monument, architecture, and the reasons to have a tour of it.
Shall we start? Are you ready?
Shanghai’s Longhua temple, a Buddhist temple with a large native religious population, belongs to the Chan sect of Mahayana Buddhism.
It is the largest temple in shanghai and probably in china too. The Longhua Temple is situated in the southeast of the Xujiahui shopping area in the north of Longhua Lu.
However, on the south side of the temple, the seven-story pagoda stands. It was believed that the Longhua pagoda is the only one in shanghai.
Later, 16 historic pagodas were built in Shanghai; among them, 15 are located in the neighboring countries of Qingpu, Jiading, and Songjiang.
Longhua temple history: When was the shanghai Longhua temple built
The temple has a long history, but how long? Let’s see
The history is about 900 years old, but most of the historians claim for 1800 years. The evidence suggests that the Longhua temple’s story started in the 242 AD (the three kingdom period).
However, it was considered that the King of the Kingdom of Wu, Suan Quan, had got Sharira relics, which is a burnt remnant of Buddha.
The King ordered to build 13 pagodas to protect these precious relics, and the Longhua pagoda is one of them.
At the end of Tang’s reign, the great temple was demolished and reconstructed in 977AD (in the Song dynasty).
Most people think that the temple was rebuilt on the same date when it was originally constructed, but it is not confirmed.
Later, modern restoration of the entire place took place in 1954. Presently, the temple has an architectural design of the Song Dynasty.
Apart from the pagoda, four main halls are also part of the temple that are exclusively allocated to the Maitreya Buddha. Moreover, a bell tower is also located at the temple entrance, whose bell rings around 108 times each NEW YEAR’S EVER as a symbol of destiny and good luck.
The eye-catching peach blossoms are packed in the extensive gardens or orchards that are a big attraction of the residents of neighboring sites every spring season.
In the 20th century, temple grounds were used for public executions. However, in 1927, the Kuomintang nationalists held a mass execution of the communists’ temple ground. The Longhua Martyrs Cemetery memorializes thousands of victims of this execution.
During the Second Sino Japanese War, in the temple area, the Japanese confined a large camp. A novel, Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard describes the entire history and claims that the Japanese used the Longhua pagoda as a flak cannon tower.
If you have ever watched Steven Spielberg’s movie adaption, you must have seen the pagoda above the prison camp.
11 reasons why you should visit Longhua temple
Here are the 11 reasons you need to visit the sacred site of Longhua temple before you die.
- Light the incense: Every year, The Chinese fortune seekers worldwide, flock to light incense in Longhua temple to celebrate the lunar New Year. At the temple, the visitors usually lit incense on Sunday and pray.
- Rich history and culture: the temple has a vast history. Different emperors greatly supported the construction and reconstruction of the temple. The calligraphy and picture on the walls of the temple make it popular among tourists.
- Strike the bell: Everyone in the crowd aims to ring the bell first and remain blessed for the coming year.
- Enjoy the temple fairs: In April and May, you can enjoy the tasty snacks and lion or dragon dances at the traditional temple fairs.
- Pray for prosperity: Buddhists believe that praying in temples between the 1st and 15th of the lunar month will multiply their 1 Yuan to 100,000. Also, reciting the Buddhist mantra for one time is equal to the 100,000 mantras. So visit the temple, recite the mantras, and pray for your wealth by writing messaging in a strip of red cloth.
- Have a peaceful eve: Those who are wondering about getting away from the noise of Shanghai, travel to Longhua temple, which is the calmest and quietest place in the city.
- Shanghai’s largest religious monument: Longhua temple is among the few largest holy places in china, which is centered in the heart of China, Shanghai. It is the most popular temple.
- Unique building style: the fantastic art on the walls, ceilings, and hand railings of the Longhua temple boosts its appearance and attraction.
- Embodies Buddhism: Buddhism is growing, and around 10% of the world’s population practice Buddhism. Longhua Temple is modeled on the Buddhist version and originally constructed as a Buddhist temple. It is the largest concentration worldwide as it houses the statues of kings in its 5 halls.
- A site of impressive architecture: it’s difficult to imagine today’s architects equipped with the latest technology designing something as marvelous as the Longhua temple, so as it dates back to the 10th century, but still, it’s pretty impressive. Each place of the temple has well stood the test of time.
- It will amaze you: no matter you are religious or not, the beautiful and peaceful Longhua temple will impress you.
The architectural design of the temple
The temple is located in a 215,000 square feet area, consisting of 5 main halls.
- Maitreya Hall encloses the statue of Maitreya Buddha.
- Mahavira Hall: the main Hall that protects the statue of Shakyamuni, a historical Buddha. Around the back portion of the Hall is bas-relief carving, and at the front, 20 Guardians of Buddhist law are arranged.
- Three Sages Hall: houses the statue of Buddha named Amitabha.
- Abbot’s Hall: an area specified for the meetings and lectures.
- Four Heavenly Kings Hall: used for casing the statues of four heavenly kings.
The artwork of the Longhua Pagoda
The main building of the temple is the Longhua pagoda. It is a tower of 120 feet in height, constructed from red bricks (mainly) and wood (used in lesser amount). The pagoda holds 7 floors, with each reducing from the bottom. Structurally, the pagoda consists of a cylindrical core of bricks with a wooden staircase.
Some other pagoda characteristics are the octagonal layout of the floor and the balconies covered with the roofs. The outer end of the roofs (called eaves) is covered with bells for decoration. The ornamental handrails, painted with yellow and red colored paints, also enhance the pagoda’s outlook.
Longhua temple bell ringing
The bell-ringing ceremony is held at midnight on Chinese New Year Eve in the famous Longhua Temple. For greater than 20 years, the temple has been a tourist point.
Every year, on New Year’s Eve, people eagerly wait for the bell ringing ceremony. However, 108 visitors can make a wish and strike the bell. The bell rang around 108 times to prevent the 108 misfortunes. Buddhist music and folk art performances are also performed in this house of worship every year.
Besides 108 people, others can jot down their New Year’s desires on a piece of paper (red color) and attach them to a giant tree. Moreover, Chinese and foreigners visit the temple with a bowl of flying monk noodles to pray for the prosperity, happiness, and good luck around the year.
Longhua temple opening hours
the pagoda of the temple is closed for the public due to some constructional issues. The entire temple can be easily visited during the daily tour hours of 7 am to 4:30 pm.
On the 1st and 15th of the 1st lunar month, the opening hours are 5 am to 4:30 pm.
The metro you should take to reach Longhua temple shanghai
To get there in 4 minutes:
- Take Metro line 11 or 12, which will stop at Longhua station.
- Alongside the road, walk to the crossing.
- Take a turn to the north and move along west Longhua Road.
- Now on the east side, you can see the Longhua Temple.
Longhua temple address
2853 Longhua Road, Xuhui Qu in Shanghai.
Tickets for Longhua temple Chinese New Year
image from sou tu website
For the New Year bell-ringing ceremony, the entrance fee is CTN 120.
However, for the normal days, the fee is CYN 10, but it is crowded through the visitors during Chinese holidays. So if you plan to travel to the temple, make sure that it’s not Golden week or any other Chinese event.
Do you need to book before visiting the Longhua temple?
Yes, we recommend you to buy tickets for Longhua temple in advance. Booking the tour ahead of time can secure your time at the spot. Different platforms provide an online booking opportunity.
Due to the spectacular architecture and artwork, the Longhua Temple is a famous tourist attraction. Everyone seemed to visit this sacred place to perform the prayers within the limit of their free incense.
The pagoda is the most impressive structure in the whole area. Whenever you travel to shanghai, don’t forget to have a tour of the Longhua temple! We assure you that it would be a treat for you to watch such a beautiful and sacred place!
Are you planning to travel to the Longhua temple? Well, if yes, then for any tour guide, you contact us through the comment section below.
Have a safe journey! Good luck!