Lonely Planet review
Southeast, away from Xújiāhuì, is the oldest and largest monastery in Shànghǎi, taking its name (Lónghuá) from the pipal tree under which Buddha achieved enlightenment. The much-renovated temple is said to date from the 10th century, its five main halls commencing with the Laughing Buddha Hall and bell and drum towers rising on either side of the entrance. The temple is particularly famed for its 6500kg bell, cast in 1894.
Several other side buildings can be explored, including the Thousand Luóhàn Hall, sheltering a huge legion of glittering arhat. A large effigy of Sakyamuni seated on a lotus flower resides within the main hall – the Great Treasure Hall. Beyond the main hall is a vegetarian restaurant and a further imposing hall – the Sanshengbao Hall – with a golden trinity of Buddhist statues.
Opposite the temple entrance rises the much-restored seven-storey, 44m-high Lónghuá Pagoda, originally built in AD 977. Visitors are not allowed to climb the pagoda, but a sprawl of stalls selling snacks and souvenirs fans out in the vicinity.
The best time to visit is during the Lónghuá Temple Fair, in the third month of the lunar calendar (usually during April or May).