Guiyuan Temple


An afternoon at this revered 350-year-old Buddhist temple can fluctuate between serenity and chaos, depending on the tour buses. Pass a large rectangular pond where turtles cling like shipwrecked sailors to two metal lotus flowers and examine the magnificently burnished cabinet housing Milefo in the first hall. Also seek out the more than 500 statues of enlightened disciples in the Hall of Arhats (罗汉堂, Luóhàn Táng). Completed in 1890, after nine years in the making, they remain in pristine condition.

In the Mahasattva Pavilion (大士阁; Dàshì Gé), the 2m-high Tang-dynasty tablet carved with an image of Guanyin holding a willow branch is impressive, and a jade Buddha resides in the Sutra Storing Pavilion (藏经阁; Cángjīng Gé).

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