The Hanging Temple in China
China have about a dozen of hanging temples. They are truly relics in Chinese architecture history. The most famous hanging Temple, is Hengshan Hanging Temple, Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Temple, is a unique and ancient structure located in Hunyuan County, Datong City, Shanxi Province, China. This temple is built into a cliff that stands 75 meters or 246 feet above the ground, near Mount Heng. The closest city, Datong, is located 64 kilometers or 40 miles to the northwest.
The Hanging Temple is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area, along with the Yungang Grottoes. It is considered unique because it is the only existing temple that combines three Chinese traditional philosophies or religions: Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The structure is held in place with oak crossbeams that are fitted into holes chiseled into the cliffs, and the main supportive structure is hidden inside the bedrock.
The temple was built more than 1,500 years ago by a monk named Liaoran in 491 AD. Over the years, many repairs and extensions have been made to the temple, leading to its present-day scale. The temple comprises of 40 halls and pavilions that are all built on cliffs that are over 30 meters or 98 feet from the ground. The distance from north to south is longer than from east to west, and it becomes higher and higher as one moves from the south gate to the north along the mountain.
The temple’s layout includes the Qielan Hall (Hall of Sangharama), Sanguan Hall (Hall of Three Officials), Chunyang Hall, Hall of Sakyamuni, Hall of Three Religions, and Guanyin Hall. The Hall of Three Religions mainly enshrines Buddhist deities, as well as both Taoism and Confucianism. The statues of Sakyamuni (middle), Lao-Tze (left) and Confucius (right) are enshrined in the hall, reflecting the prevailing idea of “Three Teaching Harmonious as One” in the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368–1911).
The Hanging Temple is a unique and ancient structure that combines three Chinese traditional philosophies or religions, and is one of the main tourist attractions and historical sites in the Datong area. Its location on a sheer precipice and its history make it a must-see destination for anyone visiting China.
You can visit the Hanging Temple all year around, but considering the Datong weather, normally from April to October is the best period. Datong has a temperate continental climate with distinct seasons, low rainfall, a short summer, and a long freezing winter (November–March).
There are big temperature differences between morning and night, day to day, and mountain and valley, so please bring a warm jacket with you even if you travel in the summer time.
In order to protect the temple, the number of visitors is limited to 80 in the temple at a time. Therefore, it is recommended to visit the Hanging Temple early in the morning to avoid long waits especially in the high travel seasons (summer and holidays).
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Source: https://www.chinahighlights.com/datong/attraction/hanging-monastery.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanging_Temple