- Daibeng Lu
- admission Y20
- 8.30am-6pm summer, to 5.30pm winter
Lonely Planet review for Dài Temple
With its eternal-looking trees and commanding location at the hub of Tài'ān, this magnificent temple complex was a traditional pilgrimage stop on the route to the mountain and the site of sacrifices to the god of Tài Shān. It also forms a delightful portrait of Chinese temple architecture, with birds squawking among the hoary cypresses and ancient stelae looking silently on. Most visitors enter by the north gate (岱庙北入囗处; Dài Miào Běi Rùkǒuchù) at the south end of Hongmen Lu, although entering the complex via the south gate allows you to follow the traditional passage through the temple.
You can scale the walls built above the north entrance: there's a weathered cypress tree that the wall was literally built around. The main hall is the colossal twin yellow-eaved, nine-bay-wide Hall of Heavenly Blessing, which dates to AD 1009. The dark interior is decorated with a marvellous, flaking, 62m-long Song-dynasty fresco depicting Emperor Zhenzong as the god of Tài Shān. Among the cast of characters are elephants, camels and lions, but the gloomy interior makes it hard to discern much.
South of the hall are several stelae supported on the backs of fossilised-looking bìxì (mythical tortoiselike dragons). Look out for the scripture pillar, its etched words long lost to the Shāndōng winds and inquisitive hands. In the Han Bai courtyard stand cypresses supposedly planted by the Han emperor Wudi. Near the entrance to the courtyard is a vast bìxì with five-inch fangs.
To the south of the south gate (正阳门; Zhèngyáng Mén) is the splendid Dàimiào Fāng, a páifāng (ornamental arch) dec- orated with four pairs of heavily weathered lions, and dragon and phoenix motifs. Also south of the temple, the Yáocān Pavilion contains a hall dedicated to effigies of the Old Mother of Taishan (Taishan Laomu), Bixia and a deity (Songzi Niangniang) entreated by women who want children. Further south still, a final memorial arch stands flanked by two iron lions alongside busy Dongyue Dajie.