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Buddha Temples in China

Posted on the 18 July 2019 by Cheekymeeky

I love visiting Buddhist temples and monasteries when I travel. The temples are generally clean, the monks are friendly, the buildings are colorful, and the architecture is appealing.

So, when I was planning a visit to China, I knew I had to check out some famous temples and I zero'ed in on these two as must-visit:

  • The Big Wild Goose pagoda and temple in Xi'an
  • The Jade Buddha temple in Shanghai

Making this decision was easy, I knew these temples would be worth a visit (based on the rave tripadvisor reviews), plus they were located in cities we were anyway visiting.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Temple

This was one of the most peaceful and beautiful places I visited in China. I'm used to finding temples located in the oldest and consequently the dirtiest and most crowded places. At least, that's the case with Indian Hindu temples.

Not so, here. The temple is in the city center, and is located bang opposite a beautiful, wide, and spacious square. Seriously, China might be the most populous country in the world, but it has the space to host all of its people.

There are two sets of tickets you need to purchase - one to visit the temple, and one to go inside the pagoda. I think the temple tickets were about 50 RMB, and we didn't want to pay more to enter the pagoda.

The exterior of the pagoda is spectacular!

I'm not quite sure why the pagoda is called wild goose. It was hard deciphering the tour guide's chatter, but it didn't matter, I just soaked in all the beauty around me.

The temple is also stunning!

The temple also has some really beautiful paintings on its wall depicting the life of Buddha. I don't have pics to share with you, as they weren't easy to capture among the crowds of people.

Also, within the temple premises, there is a small art gallery where they talk to you about Chinese paintings, calligraphy, and other art forms.

Even though we didn't buy anything, one of the artists did a calligraphy of Snubnose's name and gave it to her - a very sweet gesture, I thought.

Now, she has her name in calligraphy and hieroglyphics (from our Egypt trip). This is getting to be a theme in our travels, I think 😉 .

The Jade Buddha Temple

The Jade Buddha Temple is another stunning temple (even better than the Big Wild Goose pagoda temple). It doesn't have a pagoda, but it makes up for that with the beautiful Jade Buddha - a transcendent Buddha crafted from pure jade, one of five shipped back to China by the monk Hui Gen at the turn of the 20th century.

The yellow walls, red door, and the elegantly curved roofs surrounding the temple complex lead us to a closed wooden door. It was one of those old, heavy doors with thick metal fittings that make you feel like you are walking through a portal to a different time, when you pass through them.

There are actually multiple temple buildings within.

The first temple we visited was the Hall of Heavenly Kings, holding the statues of the Four Heavenly Kings who each look upon the four cardinal points.

In Buddhism, the Four Heavenly Kings watch over each cardinal direction of the world. They are also protectors of the world and fight off evil. Apparently, most Buddhist temples have the Four Kings somewhere, usually in the front of the temple. I've never noticed them before, but here in the Jade Buddha temple, you cannot miss them. Larger than life and so beautifully carved!

Directly opposite the entrance is the twin-eaved Grand Hall, the temple's most significant building, where worshipers pray.

Passing through the Grand Hall you'll reach a gated tranquil courtyard, where stairs lead up to the Jade Buddha Hall.

The Jade Buddha arrived from Burma (present-day Myanmar) by sea a century and a half ago, and it was just too too beautiful! The statue is a 1.9m-tall pale-green Buddha carved from one single piece of jade.

Unfortunately photography of the Jade Buddha is prohibited, and so I don't have any photos to share here.

All I can say is that both these temples are absolutely must-visits if you are in the Xi'an or Shanghai area. That both these temples are still places of worship is a huge plus. You can sometimes see the prayers there, and there is such a sense of peace around these temples.

I came out feeling very blissed out and happy with the experience.

Buddha temples in China


Voracious reader, vegetarian foodie, mostly armchair traveler, and frequent online shopper. I love to talk about all these passions (and other things happening in my life) in this blog.

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