Kaiyuan Temple lies on West Street in Licheng District, covering an area of 78 thousand square meters. Built in the second year of Chuigong during the reign of Emperor Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty , Kaiyuan Temple now has a long history of over 1,300 years. It is one of the key Buddhist Temples and national heritage conservation sites in China, with large scale, magnificent construction and beautiful scenery. Kaiyuan Temple enjoys equal popularity with White Horse Temple in Luoyang, Temple of Soul's Retreat in Hangzhou and Universal Rescue Temple in Beijing.
The principal axis of Kaiyuan Temple consists of Zi Yun Ping, Tianwang Hall, the Great Buddha's Hall, Gan Lu Jie Tan, and Cang Jing Tower. There are also other famous constructions in the temple such as Tan Yue Memorial Temple, Xiao Kai Yuan, Gong De Hall, Zun Shent Court, Shui Lu Temple and East and West Towers.
The gate to the temple is known as Tianwang Hall. It was built in the third year of Chuigong during the reign of Emperor Wu Zetian in the Tang Dynasty . The constructions existing now were built in 1925 A.D. The pillars are shuttle-shaped, thick in the middle and thin at the two ends. That is why they are called "Suo Pillars". Entering the gate, visitors will reach al-ting. There is a stone courtyard in front of the al-ting for officials and ordinary people to worship and have activities. On the 26th day of every second month of the lunar calendar, this stone courtyard is full of people and Buddhist chants. There are altogether 86 stone pillars in the Great Buddha's Hall in Kaiyuan Temple, so the hall is also called "Hall with A Hundred Pillars". It is said that purple clouds hovered when this hall was being built. That why the Great Buddha's Hall is known as "Hall of Purple Clouds".
Distinctions: Kaiyuan Temple is famous for its two towers, the east one called "Zhen Guo Tower" and the west one called "Ren Shou Tower". They both measure over 40 meters in height, and are the tallest stone twin towers in the country. There are carved statues of warriors, Celestial Kings, vajras, Buddist arhat and other figures on both sides of the niches on each story of the tower. Having gone through years of the hardship of rains and winds, they still stand solemnly. The two towers are not only the unique symbols of the ancient city of Quanzhou, but are also treasures among the stone constructions of ancient China. In fact, the East Tower was one of the four images chosen for a series of national stamps entitled "China Ancient Towers".
How to Get There: Bus 2, Bus 6, Bus 24, Bus 26 and Tourist Bus 601 all have a stop at Kaiyuan Temple.
I updated this article on November 20, 2012
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