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Lingyin Temple

Lingyin Temple

Written by Kelly PangUpdated Nov. 17, 2023

Lingyin Temple or Temple of the Soul's Retreat is one of the largest and most visited Buddhist temples in China, which holds the largest statue of the Buddha Sakyamuni in the lotus position. It was built in 328 AD by Indian Monk Huili. The temple is now very popular among tourists and pilgrims as thousands visit it per day during peak season.

  • Chinese: 灵隐寺 Lingyin Si /ling-yin srr/
  • Location: in Fei Lai Feng Scenic Area, just west of Hangzhou City
  • Popular activities: Buddhist worship, sightseeing


Lingyin TempleLingyin Temple

Lingyin Temple got its name because of tranquil surroundings. Sheltered by forested hills from three sides, the temple is a quiet and serene sanctuary (when it is not thronged with visitors). Over history the temple has been damaged and undergone renovation several times. It has recently been rebuilt in its original style.

Highlights You Shouldn't Miss

The Laughing Buddha

The temple consists of the Hall of the Heavenly King, Hall of the Great Hero, Hall of the Buddha of Medicine, East and West Winding Corridors and several other buildings. 

In the center of the Hall of the Heavenly King sits a statue of Maitreya, the fat, bare and bellied Buddha with a smiling face – the laughing Buddha.

The Statue of Sakyamuni Sitting on the Lotus Flower

Lingyin TempleLingyin Temple

A magnificent statue of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, is located in the very heart of the Hall of the Great Hero, the main hall in the temple. The 19-meter tall statue is seated on a 10.5-meter high lotus flower amidst great red pillars and murals. A colorful sculpture of 150 Buddhas is situated behind it. One more recently added hall holds 500 Arhats: bronze statues resembling 500 of the earliest high-ranking Buddhist disciples in China.

As an important Buddhist temple in the region, Lingyin Temple also contains a large collection of Buddhist treasures and relics, which are significant for the development of Buddhism in the region.

Travel Essentials

  • Entry: CNY 30
  • Open: 7am – 6:15pm
  • Time needed for a visit: 1 hour.

How to Get There

To get there, you can take special tourist buses at Hangzhou Railway (main) Train Station, for example, 1 (Y1), 2 (Y2), 7/K7, Y13, or K807/K837. You should get off the bus at the station called Lingyin. It is situated 9 km away from the West Lake, which is on the west of the city.

Most buses are 1-3 yuan, while a taxi will cost you CNY 10 for the first 3 kilometers, then 2-3 yuan per kilometer: that's about 15 yuan from West Lake.

Rules of Conduct

Flash photography and smoking are forbidden inside the temple, although noise (including prayers and psalms) and incense sticks are allowed everywhere. See How to visit a Chinese Temple.

Nearby Attractions

  • Peak Flown From Afar is is towering and precipitous with a majestic outline, featuring ancient trees, grotesque rocks, deep caves and solemn statues of Buddha.
  • West Lake is the symbol of Hangzhou, and is considered one of the most beautiful sights in China.
  • Six Harmonies Padoga offers a fine view of Qiantang River, famous for the world's largest tidal bores, which are extremely spectacular during the Mid-Autumn Festival.

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Lingyin Temple, HangzhouLingyin Temple, Hangzhou

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