12.6.14

Jing'an temple, Shanghai

Jing'an temple (静安寺; Jìng'ān Sì) is an impressive Buddhist and Daoist temple in Shanghai's Jing'an district, near the French Concession.
Jing’an Temple is located in a bustling area surrounded by shopping malls, luxury hotels and modern constructions. However, the atmosphere inside the temple remains relatively calm, with many local worshippers and few tourists.


The "Temple of Peace and Tranquility" was built in this location during the Song Dynasty (around 1216) under the name Hudu Chongyuan Temple until 1945 when it was renamed Jing'an Temple. It is one of Shanghai’s oldest, although it has been destroyed over the years and rebuilt.
The temple was turned into a plastic factory during the cultural revolution and it was burnt down in the 1970s. In 1983 the extensive restoration of the temple started and it opened to the public in the 1990s but there's still some minor rebuilding work around it.
The temple, which is mainly made of Burmese teak, has 3 main halls from the 1880s: the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Hall of the Three Saints and the Hall of Virtuous Works. There is a large tripod pagoda-shaped shrine in a court area where worshippers burn inciense sticks and throw coins to the windows of the shrine, as high as possible, for good luck. They seem to do the same to the dragon carving in the main stairway.


There are three main halls here: The Mahavira Hall, the Hall of Heavenly Kings and the ThreeSage Hall. The temple hosts, among many antiquities, the largest sitting white Jade Buddha in China (3.8 meters), a 6.2 meters statue made of camphor wood of Guanyin, the goddess of mercy - which I didn't see - and an impressive 8.8 meter high silver Buddha.
There are also other halls and rooms in the complex where worshippers head to pray and/or leave offerings. Since my knowledge of this religion and its practices is not deep at all, I had no idea what was it all about, but it was centainly interesting to see.




Jing'an Temple is a nice place where you can actually see locals worshipping their gods and although it is not one of the Shanghai's must see places, it is great to escape the crowds of tourists in downtown Shanghai and other main sights. It also serves as a nice photo opportunity to show the contrast between modern and old Shanghai.



Jing'an Temple
Fees: 50 RMB (Free entrance on the 1st and 15th days of each lunar month except the first; CNY100 from the 1st to 15th days in the first lunar month); CNY 2 per small bunch of incense
Opening Hours: 7.30 -17.00 (4.30 to 17.00 during the incense period)
Subway lines 2 and 7, stop Jing'an Temple
1686 Nanjing West Rd, Jing'an district, Shanghai
Tel. +86 21 6256 6366