The acclaimed Wu Hou Shrine is dedicated to the memory of Zhuge Liang, supreme military commander and prime minister of the well-known Three Kingdoms Period. This general is revered for his intelligence and noble character; accordingly many monuments were created in his honour, most notably the Wu Hou Shrine in Chengdu.
The exact date of creation of the temple remains unclear; however there is no doubt that it was constructed adjoining the temple dedicated to the Shu emperor Liu Bei. The two edifices were in fact combined at the time of the Ming Dynasty. The building which one sees today, with its traditional red walls, dates to 1672; it stands amidst old cypress trees which evoke an aura of nostalgia.
The principal body of the shrine may be subdivided into five main sections; namely, two main gates, the hall devoted to Zhuge Liang, the hall dedicated to Liu Bei, and the corridor, each of which runs from south to north. Inside the temple you will see clay figures of the Shu emperor with his ministers, which are a rare feature. In fact there are no less than 47 such statues at the shrine.
However the most esteemed cultural artefact at the temple is the renowned stele which dates from antiquity. Known as the Triple Success stele, it features three notable successes; a feature written by a famous minister, Pei Du; calligraphy by one of the most acclaimed Chinese calligraphers, Liu Gongquan; and a description of the achievements and exemplary morality of Zhuge Liang.
Another feature at the compound is the mausoleum of Liu Bei, which apparently was a visitor attraction even in times past.
A visit to the shrine will demonstrate the extraordinary esteem in which Zhuge Liang is held by the people of China. In fact according to tradition this acclaimed courtier ranks above all other ministers and generals in Chinese history.
Today the temple is as much a leisure destination as it is a cultural focal point, attracting many local and foreign visitors each year.
Uditha Dharmawardhane is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Roland Lefevre. He specializes in creating features on leisure as well as business travel destinations across the globe.