It would be an insult to this iconic phrase called Shaolin if it requires an introduction. Wherever and whenever martial arts of any form or country is discussed, this name tops any forum. Basically a Buddhist temple, Shaolin shrine is the pride of China and is the center of Zen ideology of Buddhism, known as Taoism. Located in the Shaoshi Mountain and built by Emperor Xiaowendi in 496 AD, this temple is a perfect example of developing the mind, soul and the body at the same time. Kung-fu, a hugely popular martial art is said to be born here and the monks practice it for several purposes like temple protection, strengthening the body and even to defend the country from the foreign invaders.
Located in the Hangzhou region and lapped on the beautiful couch of the peaks of Feilai and Beigao, The Lingyin Temple is otherwise known as the 'Temple of Soul's Retreat'. The mere surrounding of the shrine fills your soul with peace and calm with lush green scenery. The temple is in existence for over 1600 years and in its hay days it was a majestic structure with 9 buildings, 18 towers, 72 halls with 1,300 rooms accommodating more than 3,000 monks. However, the present shrine, the renovated version of many modifications and reworks is still something that attracts herds of visitors every year.
Called otherwise the Hanging Temple just because of its location on a steep cliff, the Xuankong Temple carries a very unique significance. This is one of the rarest shrines where aspects of Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism can be found together. It stands on a cliff with 50 meters of height and is located in the Hunyuan County of Shanxi province. Currently under the maintenance of the national bodies, the Xuankong Temple has a history of over 1400 years and has undergone many renovations during various dynasties.
Bearing a glorious past and a story to tell, this famous temple is situated in Luoyang in Henan Province. The name of this temple comes from a legend that maintains that two monks from China were sent to India to get some scriptures of Buddhism. And when they were returning, they borrowed a white horse from two other monks and restored the scriptures in a temple made for that purpose which later on assumed the present name. The highlights of this shrine are the holy sculptures of the eighteen disciples of the Buddha, 5000 wooden Buddha statues and a huge bell weighing 1250 kgs. The significance of this temple is evident from the sobriquet it enjoys- Grandfather of the Temples.
The famous legend associated with this temple proved to be true in 1981 due to natural calamity that exposed the truth behind it. It is said that the mighty Indian emperor Ashoka built the shrine when he visited China as a sign of his repentance and austerity for the war like attitude which he was famous for. This temple is naturally decorated by the landscape of the Famen Town 120 km northwest of Xian.
Relatively recent as compared to the aforementioned ones, the Jade Buddha Temple was built in 1918 in the famous town of Shanghai. The architectural style of Song Dynasty is very much visible in its structure with Heavenly-king Hall, Great Hall and Jade-Buddha Hall. The mesmerizing lying Buddha statue is another phenomena to take notice of. The Chinese Buddhist temples are not just another reason to visit this ancient nation. They are the epitome of culture and faith which dedicates themselves for the eternal quest for Nirvana. So, contact your tour planner and set for a spiritual journey.