Jing’an Temple, or the ‘Temple of Peace and Tranquility,’ is one of the best-known Buddhist temples in Shanghai, famous for its enormous bronze bell and giant Buddha statues. It located on the busy West Nanjing Road in the Jing’an District, which is named after the temple.
Jing’an Temple was built long before Shanghai came into existence, and today this ancient and traditional Chinese temple sits in the heart of a modern metropolis, juxtaposed between the towering skyscrapers and busy shopping centers that were built around it. The park in front of the temple provides it some relief from the surrounding urban development.
Timeline of Jing’an Temple
The temple has an eventful history of more than 780 years of relocations, destruction, modifications, rebuilding, and renovations.
- 247 AD – First built in the Wu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period of ancient China. Originally it was named Hudu Chongyuan Temple and was located beside the Suzhou Creek.
- 1216 – Relocated to its current site during the Song Dynasty because of constant flooding
- 1880 – Rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty
- 1960s – Converted into a plastic factory during the Cultural Revolution
- 1945 – Renamed Jing’an Temple by a famous calligrapher
- 1972 – The temple was burnt down to ruins
- 1983 – It was put on the key national protection list and reconstructed, renovated, and returned to its original purpose
- 1990 – Opened to public
- 2010 – Jing’an Pagoda and the northernmost area of the temple were rebuilt and completed
Opening Time: 7:30 AM to 5:00 PM
Suggested Visiting Time: 2-3 hrs
Entrance Fee: CNY 50
Jing’ An Temple Fair
During the reign of Emperor Guangxu of the Qing Dynasty, the temple hosted the first Festival of Buddha’s birthday, on the 8th day of Lunar April. In the festival, villagers from all around came to partake of the festivities and sell handicrafts, and agricultural and specialty products. As business started to grow and the district became prosperous, the Temple Fair became an annual tradition lasting three days and drawing worshippers and businessmen from far and wide.
Architecture of Jing’an Temple
Jing’an Temple is built along the traditional Chinese architectural style.
It is a stunningly beautiful structure that stands out in the urban landscape when the gold of its numerous roofs and pagoda glitters as it catches the reflection of the sunlight by day and the city lights by night.
The woodwork of the main hall is strikingly ornate, with massive teak pillars, intricately carved beams, and ceilings decorated with carved wood panels.
The Jing’an Pagoda, located in the northwestern corner of the temple, has seven stories with eaves, a decorative element common in traditional Chinese architecture.
Beautiful furniture and decorative symbols such as the golden carp and elephant adorn the building.
7 Things to Do at Jing’an Temple
- Check out one of the most famous relics of Jing’an Temple, the 3.5-ton Hongwu Bell, cast in bronze during the Ming Dynasty (14th to 17th centuries). It is said to have been commissioned the Emperor Taizu, who was known as the Hongwu Emperor, from where the bell got its name.
- You can see the Abbot’s Chambers; stone buddhas from the Southern and Northern Dynasties (420-589AD); and Ashoka Pillars depicting 4 lions face the 4 directions located in various parts of the temple.
- There are stunning paintings and calligraphic works by Yangzhou’s master painters Chu Zhishan, Zhang Daqian, and Wen Zhenming, in the Exhibition Hall of Buddhist Relics.
- Visit the Three Southern-style halls, each with their own courtyards, dating from 1880: the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Hall of the Three Saints, and the Hall of Virtuous Works.
- Go inside the Mahavira Hall, or the ‘Precious Hall of the Great Hero,’ to marvel at the biggest pure jade portrait of Sakyamuni in China which is placed inside this hall.
- In the Guanyin Hall is a 6.2m, 5-ton statue of the Goddess Guanyin made of camphor wood and standing on a lotus-shaped base.
- Across this in the Jade Buddha Hall is a 3.8m, 11,000 Kgs jade sitting Buddha statue, the largest in the country. The statue is so enormous that one wall had to be torn down to moved it into the hall.
Recommended Hotels Jing’an Temple
Getting to Jing’an Temple
Take Line 2 or Line 7 and get off at Jing’an Temple Station. Leave from Exit 1 to the temple directly.
1. Take bus 15, 20, 37, 40, 45, 57, 76, 93, 94, 113, 315, 321, 323, 327, 330, 824, 830, 838, or 927 and get off at Jing’an Temple Station.
2. Take Pudong Airport Shuttle Bus Line 2 to get there directly.
3. Take City Sightseeing Bus to get there.