Shanghai: Jing’an Temple

The day after the Jade Buddha Temple, we continued the theme with a visit to Jing’an Temple down on West Nanjing Road. The Temple is conveniently located at (you guessed it), Jing’an Temple Station! Once we emerged from the station, we were unsure of where to go so Peter asked a guard for directions. Funny enough, he pointed directly above us! Yes, the temple is literally above the metro station exit. How convenient!

Reaching the entrance, we immediately noticed the massive golden lion pillar. The pillar is wonderfully juxtaposed with the modern skyscrapers surrounding the temple.

Upon entering the courtyard, we were greeted with the familiar sight of elaborate fire pits, people in prayer, and grand architecture. This temple is bigger and more elaborate than the Jade Buddha Temple and is currently under construction. However that does not take away from its history and significance.

The first Jing’an Temple was built in 247 AD by Suzhou Creek then was relocated to its current location in 1216. The three main halls surrounding the temple date from 1880 and include magnificent statues of Buddhas (source). Below is the biggest pure jade portrait of Sakyamuni, the first Buddha, in mainland China.

Below the main temple was a vast room under construction complete with a stray cat hiding in the curtains. He was camera shy.

Peter thought the guy in the middle with the cloud coming out of his finger was the coolest. I agree, that’s a serious balancing act.

What I found interesting was how people placed coins around various parts of the temple. The hand carving below was part of a larger carving as you make your way up the main staircase to the temple. As we climbed the stairs, people around us paused to put their coins in strategic places.

People also chucked coins at the structure below, trying to land in any of the tiers for luck. Apparently making the top tier gives you luck for 50 years. Peter almost made it! I definitely missed the first tier. By a long shot.

At the top of the stairs, we were greeted by a massive Buddha that looked to be made out of metal. He towered over visitors in shiny magnificence, offerings of fruit at his feet.

We were so exhausted from stair climbing and exploring that we just had to take a break on elaborately carved chairs. Typical.

While Jing’an Temple was certainly magnificent, I actually preferred the authenticity and remoteness of the Jade Buddha Temple. However, Jing’an Temple is convenient, accessible, and well worth the visit.

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