Occupying pride of place at the base of the Wulaofeng Mountain or Mountain of Five Old Men, lies what has often been deemed the most iconic Buddhist religious institution in Fujian. Ranked among the most visited tourist attractions in all of Xiamen, the captivating architectural marvel dubbed Nanputuo Temple is a thriving religious institution to this day with many of the faithful flocking to the sacred grounds of this Tang Dynastic temple to observe religious customs.
With a picturesque location opposite the ocean, the temple that is also known as the South Putuo Temple was once called the Universal Grace Temple or Puzhao in its heyday when it was constructed during the reign of the Tang Dynasty which lasted from 618 to 907. Almost entirely destroyed during war time and rebuilt by Ming Dynastic ruler Emperor Qing Kangxi, the venue was resurrected to its former glory and newly christened Nanputuo Temple.
Spread out over 30,000m2, the venue contains four main structures including the Mahavira Hall, Devajara Hall, Dabei Hall and a stunning pavilion which boasts an extensive collection of Buddha sculptures from Myanmar in ivory and other precious metals in addition to ancient religious scripture and art works. Surrounded by auxiliary buildings which includes libraries, dorms and study spaces for priests the four buildings themselves contain unique idols.
The Mahavira Hall boasts a representation of the Trinity of the Three Ages with the inner facades painted with Indian origin folk murals. The Devajara Hall meanwhile houses the four ferocious Heavenly Kings sculptures with the Maitreya Buddha statue at the centre. Famously dubbed the Laughing Buddha, the Maitreya Buddha is believed to be the Buddha of the future.
The Dabei Hall is an octagonal shaped tower which houses four sculptures of Avalokitesvara ensconced at the heart of the lotus flower motif while the Sutra-Keeping Pavilion described above also contains bronze bells and other artefacts such as incense burners and other significant paraphernalia including a porcelain representation of Avalokitesvara. Vegetarian food is also available at the venue and is a firm favourite among guests due to the food’s distinct flavour, fresh taste and attractive titles.
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