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Golden Temple

Location:at the foot of Mingfeng Mountain, about 7 km from Kunming City, Yunnan Province;
Opening time:07:00-19:00, daily;
Tel:86-10-6351-8284;
Best time for visit: all year long
Recommended time for a visit:2 hours
Open: 07:00-19:00, daily. Tickets:RMB30.
Website:www.golden-temple.com

How to Get There

1) by bus No. 60, 10 or 71, get off at the stop of Jindian Lishi Fengjingqu (Golden Temple historic and scenic site).
2) by taxi which will take about 30 minutes.

Introduction

The Ming Dynasty Golden Temple is the most unique and well known structure in the park. It, like Taihe Temple, is a Taoist temple. However, the special thing about Jindian is the architecture. The walls, sixteen pillars, rafters, roof tiles, altar, statues, altar-hanging, the horizontal inscribed board, the table and even the banner on the right in front of the temple are all made from bronze. The whole temple weighs more than 280 tons, making it not only one of the four largest bronze temples in China, but also the heaviest and best preserved. On a mountain named Mt. Mingfeng (singing phoenix) or Mt. Yingwu (parrot) in the northeastern suburb of Kunming City, there is a Taoist temple named Taihe Gong (the Palace of Supreme Harmony). The big brass temple inside shines brightly in sunlight and make the trees around golden. Therefore it got its name of Golden Temple.

Histroy

Chinese folk tales has it that Chen Yongbin, provincial governor of Yunnan Province of Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), was told that Mingfeng Mountain in Kunming is a place with good Fengshui (a Chinese system of geomancy). In expectation of getting good luck, Chen built the Golden Temple in the mountain, modeling the Taihegong Golden Temple on Wudang Mountain in Hubei Province, in 1602 to worship Zhenwu the Great (a Chinese god of Taoism). At late Ming, the Mu (sharing a same pronunciation with wood in Chinese) family ruling Yunnan considered that the temple would hoodoo their family (according to the Chinese theory of Five Elements (metal, wood, water, fire, earth), metal corrodes wood). As result, the temple was moved to the Jizu Mountain in Dali in 1637 (but was destroyed between 1960s and 1970s). In 1671 during Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Wu Shangui, general of Pingxi in charge of supervising Southwest China in Qing Dynasty, decided to rebuild the Golden Temple at the original site in Mingfeng Mountain of Kunming - that is the one we see there today. Besides the temple and statues, he has also made a Seven Star Sword, which is collected in the temple as the guardian of the temple.

Features

Golden Temple is the largest brass construction in China. It is 6.7 meters high, 7.8 meters wide, and 7.8 meters deep. It has 16 pillars and 36 lattice doors. The whole brass temple weighs more than 250 tons. Enshrined right in the center of the hall is the statue (in sitting posture) of Zhenwu, North God of Taoism; and on their left and right are the two generals, tortoise and snake (all the divine statues are brass statues). The brass flags of the sun, the moon and the seven stars stand in the front of the hall.

Outside the Golden Temple

There are stone steps paving from the foot of Mingfeng Mountain to the Golden Temple. After crossing three heaven gates which symbolizes three constellations, visitors will see the solemn gate of Golden Temple. In the courtyard many kinds of flowers can be found, among which the camellia and the crape myrtle can be traced back to Ming Dynasty (1368-1644).
In front of the Golden Temple stands a copper flag, on the edge of the top of which the sun and the moon are carved. Between the sun and the moon there are four Chinese characters , literally "All is at peace" in English. The Big Deeper is carved on the flag as well. So comes its name:copper flag of the Sun, the Moon and Seven Stars. There are also "fengtiaoyushun,guotaimin'an" on the flag, which means "good weather for the crops, peace and prosperity around the whole country". This flag is the symbol of Zhenwu the Great, who is considered in traditional Chinese mythology to be the god blessing the country and the people. In the first month of China lunar calendar, people will gather together in Golden Temple to celebrate the birthday of this god of Taoism.
To the Southeast of Golden Temple there is a three-floor Mingzhong Tower, which is about 30 meters high. A copper bell, 2.1 meters high, 6.7 meters in girth, 14 tons in weight, is hanging on the third floor of the tower. With a history of about 560 years, the bell was originally hanging in Xuanhua Tower in Kunming and was not moved to Golden Temple until the Xuanhua Tower was torn down. In 1983, the Mingzhong Tower was built for hanging the bell and the tower becomes the highest architecture on Mingfeng Mountain from which visitors can get good view of scenery around.

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