Matsu Temple


This colourful temple is considered one of the most sacred spots in Taiwan, featuring as it does the purported grave of Lin Mo-niang (林默娘; b 960) who later became deified as Matsu (Mazu). Legend claims that she was washed ashore here having drowned in a fateful attempt to save her father (or brothers in some versions) after a shipwreck.

The temple is in Magang (aka Matsu) village and linked by a long stairway to the Giant Matsu Statue, which dominates it from the hill to the north. The path passes the village beach on which there's a collection of military landing craft. Just inland is a pair of pedestrianised streets offering the best selection of dining options anywhere on the island.

Matsu's birthday (the 23rd day of the third lunar month – ie in March or April) sees a lavish festival in her honour at the temple, although it's not part of western Taiwan's better-known Matsu Pilgrimage route.

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