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How to Visit a Chinese Temple

All Things You Need to Know

How to Visit a Chinese Temple
Photo by Geraldine Ng on Unsplash

China is a vast cultural place. Shaped by various religious practices, Chinese culture is a spectacular one. The temples in China stand out due to their intriguing architecture. Some temples are located on mountain peaks, and others are in the midst of the city activity. If you visit China, you must visit at least one temple. But one thing you should remember is that these temples are governed by different rules, so, before you visit a temple, you need to learn a bit about them.

Types of temples

China is home to a massive number of religions. However, the most predominant practices are Buddhism, Confucian and Taoism; most of the temples found in China are in honour of these religions. These Chinese temples also give shelter to nuns and monks.

Popular sites

China has many popular temples, and they can be visited by all genders.

The South Putuo Temple is one of the most famous Buddhist temples located in East China. Found at the Mountain of Five Old Men, this temple is a must-visit tourist place. Even if you don’t have a particular interest in Buddhism, this site will bring you a refreshing, unique experience.

Another popular site is the Nanshan Buddhist Temple; it is wedged between the mountains and the sea. The temple is home to the tallest Guanyin Bodhisattva in the world – in Asia, Guanyin is the Buddhist avatar linked with compassion.

Drepung Monastery is another must-visit religious house. The largest Tibetan temple, Drepung Monastery, is in its best form during the Shoton Festival.

When to visit

Ideally, you should visit a Chinese temple in the morning. The climate cools down at dawn, and the monks and nuns will be getting back from their prayers at this time. However, you can visit most Chinese temples from morning to evening, and they are open to visitors all year long.

Accommodation in China

To accommodate foreigners visiting in hundreds, the country has a vast selection of accommodation. From serviced apartments Shanghai long stay to regular hotels, the country offers you plenty of options. Citadines Xujiahui Shanghai is one example of China’s accommodation.

Is there an entrance fee?

Usually, there is. You need to buy a ticket at the entrance. The money earned from tickets is used to support monks and nuns living in these temples. You’ll see that there’s a guard at the gate of every temple.

Layout

Chinese temples usually have a south entrance

You can use the south gate to enter the temple, and the north gate to exit. If the gate is open, you can walk in, if the gate is closed, it’s an indicator that you are not allowed in. Don’t open the gate; it can only be done by those who work at the temple.

Buying incense

incense before entering a temple is an Asian custom. There are stalls outside the temples selling incense packs. Chinese devotees light incense and hold them while praying. While you don’t have to do that, as part of the experience, you can light some incense and place them in their designated places.

What should you wear?

Keep your clothing modest and simple. Visitors are expected to wear something that covers their shoulders. Shorts and skirts that are too short aren’t allowed. Casual clothing is fine as long as it isn’t too revealing. Also, you’ll probably be asked to remove your footwear and headwear before entering the temple.

Your behaviour

Keep your voice down when inside the temple. Turn off your mobile phone, and don’t touch the statues. Also, if a monk passes by, you are supposed to stand up out of respect.

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Peaushan Devanarayana

See all posts by Peaushan Devanarayana