As a typical south-spreading Theravada Buddhist temple, Mange Temple is famous for its long history (built in 1477) and unique architectural style in Yunnan, and it’s one of the best-preserved Buddhist temples in Xishuangbanna.
Supported by 16 toon columns, Mange Temple is magnificent and elegant with 16 carved white elephants decorated on its eaves, whose beams and arches are connected by tenons instead of rivets. Surrounded by tall hornbeams and Bodhi trees, the temple ornaments shine brightly under the sun. Mange Temple faces east, and it’s composed of the Main Hall, Scripture Hall, Monk House, Drum House, Discipline Hall, corridors and a gate pavilion.
The architectural complex measures 41.5 meters long and 31.5 meters wide. Entering the temple, you’ll see a gate pavilion with tall palm trees on each side, and then you walk into the Main Hall through a corridor. The Main Hall is an astylar building with double eaves. Standing by the gate of the hall, you can see that 16 carved toon columns support the temple dome.
In the west of the Main Hall is a 2-meter tall Sumeru throne, where a 4-meter tall gilded statue of Shakyamuni is enshrined, and a variety of statues of animals are displayed on the tribute table below the throne. In the south of the Main Hall is a 0.5-meter tall lotus-shaped seat for the abbot to chant sutras. On the right of the seat stands the Scripture Platform, where ordinary people can offer sacrifices to Buddha. On the wall of the Main Hall, the delicate frescos are decorated, all of which are themed with classic Buddhist stories.
Exiting from the west gate of the Main Hall, you’ll see a huge ox-hide drum on the right side of the Drum House. The legend went that all the drums and gongs were struck at the same time on the nights of 7th, 8th, 14th and 15th of each month to drive away the evil spirits. Behind the Drum House stands the Monk House and the Scripture-Learning House.
The Discipline Hall, in which the 0.3-meter tall statue of Shakyamuni is enshrined on the 1.7-meter tall Sumeru throne, is 3 meters south of the Main Hall, being 5 meters long, 3.75 meters wide and 4 meters tall. It’s the venue where the monks recite sutras and discuss religious issues, so ordinary people aren’t allowed to enter the hall. Outside the hall stand over 10 Bodhi trees, which provide shade for people on a hot day.
Mange Temple looks even more magnificent, having undergone several renovations, and it attracts millions of visitors from all over the world each year.
Location: Mange Village, eastern Lancang River, Jinghong, Xishuangbanna, Yunnan Province
Opening hours: 8:00am to 5:00pm
Transportation: a bus from Jinghong Bus Station can take you there.