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Shanghai Jingan Temple Travel Guide


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Jingan Temple (静安寺, literally translated as the Temple of Peace and Tranquility) is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Shanghai, and it follows the tenet of Zhenyan Branch(真言宗) in Buddhism of China. As a cultural landmark, Jingan temple today is a famous site of historic heritage in Shanghai. Originally built in the period of Three Kingdoms (220-265), in the reign of Wu State (222-280), it was built and named Hudu Chongxuan Temple, and in 1086, it was officially named Jingan Temple when China was in Song Dynasty. In 1216, it was moved to today’s site – NO.1686 Nanjing West Road. In 1945, calligraphy master Deng Sanmu wrote the name board, which is available today. Jingan District of Shanghai is directly named after this temple. Nowadays, it is not only a sacred land of Buddhism, but a popular destination for eating and leisure.

The highlighted architecture in temple is comprised of the Treasure Hall of the Great Hero(大雄宝殿, or the great Buddha’s hall), Tianwang Hall(天王殿, the Heavenly Kings Hall) and Sansheng Hall(三圣殿, Three Saints Hall). In cultural heritage aspect, the valued paintings of Bada Shanren(八大山人, 1626-1705, the artistic name or alternative name of Zhu Da, a great painting master of late Ming Dynasty and early Qing Dynasty, and the descendant of Ming Emperors) as well as cursive script calligraphy masterpiece of Wen Zhengming(文征明, 1470-1559, a great talented master with a high reputation in folk China as famous as Tang Bohu) named Pipa Xing(琵琶行, literally translated as the poem of Pipa, which originally was a famous and classic long poem written by Bai Juyi in Tang Dynasty).

The History of Jingan Temple

There used to be eight places of interest, which are popularly renowned as Eight Scenes of Jingan Temple (Chiwu Stele, Chenchao Juniperus Conferta Tree, Pulpit, Shrimp Pool, Bubbling Spring, Green Cloud Cave, Hudu Barrier and Luzi Ferry). The bubbling spring is famous as the Sixth Spring on the Earth. For many generations, the poets and scholars wrote for them. A book named Jingan Bayong Ji(静安八咏集, A Poem Collection of Eight Classic Views in Jingan Temple), which was composed by Shou Ning, a famous poetic monk. In 1369, a bronze bell was specially made for this temple, and today, it is the top treasure of the temple.

In 1860, the troops of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom (1851-1864) attacked the west suburb of Shanghai. And Jingan Temple was burnt down. In 1880, with the financial support of Hu Xueyan and so on, the whole temple was reconstructed. In 1862, the horse-race area in concession area was spread to Jingan Temple, and formed finally the Jingansi Road, which is today’s Nanjing West Road. In 1899, Shanghai International Settlement was westwardly expanded to Jingan Temple, and then surroundings of the temple became a quite popular business area. A large number of localized residential buildings called Li Nong Buildings were constructed. In 1903, the site of China Buddhist Association was fixed here. In 1908, the first trolley line started its service from Jingan Temple. In 1953, thanks to the painstaking work of Master Chisong(持松法师, who was said to be the greatest contributor to the re-glorification of Jingan Temple), the mandala of Zhenyan Branch of Esoteric Buddhism was established, which resumed a tradition of Esoteric Buddhism since Five Dynasties Period. Today, it is still the most important mandala of Esoteric Buddhism in China though destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.

The Landmarks Nearby

The tourists in Shanghai get its first impression mostly from this building – Airport City Terminal of Shanghai (address - 1598 Nanjing West Rd, Jing'an, Shanghai, China). Travelers here can take the special bus lines to Hongqiao Airport and Pudong Airport. Actually, Jingan Temple is an old transportation hub in Shanghai. It is the conjunction site of Metro lines 2, 7 and 14. Through the underground corridor of Jiuguang Department Store, the transfer between the subway system underground and the bus system aboveground. It has more than 330 parking spaces, and more than 2,200 non-motor vehicle parking places.

The another most famous building here is the Paramount Hall (百乐门). It used to be the most famous dancing hall in old Shanghai. in 1932, Gu Liancheng(顾联承), a Chinese businessman, invested approximately 700,000 liang silvers(one liang equates 50grams). On its opening ceremony in 1933, Wu Tiecheng, the former mayor of Shanghai Municipal Government delivered the congratulatory speech. The frequenters of Paramount Hall included Zhang Xueliang, Xu Zhimo and so on. The engagement ceremony of Chen Xiangmei and Claire Lee Chennault was held here. Charlie Chaplin and his wife also visited here when they in Shanghai.

Moreover, the copper sculpture masterpiece of Salvador Dali, who was a world-famous surrealism maestro, named Nobility of Time is located in Yueyang Square on the intersection of Changde Road and Nanjing West Road. This artwork just has a pair. One is in Shanghai, and the other is in London City Hall.

shanghai jingan temple
The panoramic view of Shanghai Jingan Temple

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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