Top 15 temples for Spring Festival prayers in Xiamen

Updated: 03 Feb 2015
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Spring Festival is almost here! Chinese New Year, or Chinese Spring Festival, holds the most significant position of all Chinese festivals and holidays. The Chinese New Year is accompanied by a hope for good fortune, so celebrators often head to temples to pray for good luck during the New Year celebration.

According to tradition, burning incense and offering prayers in a temple at this time of year will bring you good luck for the whole year. So, whether you believe this or not, why not take a culturally exhilarating temple tour with your family over the holidays? Perhaps it will make your Year of the Horse roar! Come with WOX as we guide you around the top 15 temples in Xiamen.
1. South Putuo Temple 南普陀寺
Lying at the foot of Wulao Peak at the south end of Xiamen Island, South Putuo Temple is a famous temple in South Fujian as well as in all of China. The temple back faces directly on to a group of exquisite peaks and the temple it directly adjacent to Xiamen University.

This temple is large in size with an area of 258,000 square meters, and a floor space of 21,270 square meters.

The structures in the temple include the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Shrine of Sakyamuni Buddha, the Hall of Great Compassion, and the Surta House, all of which were built on hillsides, each rising higher than the other. In addition, the Drum and Bell Towers are located on either side, while the Benevolence Tower on the left side and the Universally Shining Tower on the right correspond with each other, gorgeous and magnificent. The architecture of the complex, with the traditional Buddhist temple features, looks dignified, implying the meaning of the boundlessness of the Buddha Dharma.

The temple has endless worshippers and pilgrims all year around. The statue of the Goddess of Mercy with 1,000 hands was built with superb craftsmanship, and the Sutra House contains various kinds of Buddhist relics.

A great number of inscriptions by celebrities have been well preserved round the temple, and the Chinese character for 'Buddha' was inscribed on a cliff behind the temple, and is nearly five meters high and over three meters wide in size. Behind the temple is Wulao Peak. Standing on the peak, tourists can overlook the mountains and sea in the distance.

Address: No. 515 Siming South Road, Siming District 思明区思明南路515号
Tel: (0592)2094147
How to get there: Take bus No. 2, 20, 22, 29, 47, 48, 57, 86, 87, 92, 96, 112, 122,135, 659, 751, 857, or 135 and get off at the Xiada Xicun Stop (厦大西村站)
2. Fantian Temple (Brahma Temple) 梵天寺
Fantian Temple is located below the main peak of Dalun Mountain (大轮山). It is one of the most ancient Buddhism Temples in Fujian.

Founded during the Sui Dynasty (581 AD), Xiamen Fantian Temple was originally named Xingjiao Temple (兴教寺). As an ancient temple with a high reputation, it has never been abandoned although it was destroyed several times. Many followers of Buddhism, both at home and abroad, have donated money to this temple for its renovation.

After several years of construction, the mountain gate, the Hall of Charity and Piety (Gongde Tang), the Hall of Praying to Buddha (Nianfo Tang), the Drum Tower and the Pavilion of One Thousand Buddha's (Qianfo Ge) have been recovered and the court of the Temple has largely regained its original appearance.

Address: Lunshan Road, Datong Town, Tong’an District 福建省厦门市同安区大同镇轮山路
Tel: 0592-7225879, 7225280
How to get there: Take bus No. 602, 615, 619, 624, 631, 655, 656, 658, 671, or 650 and get off at the Fantian Temple stop (梵天寺站)
3. Qingjiao Ciji Palace 青礁慈济宫
Qingjiao Ciji Palace, also known as East Palace (东宫), is located on the Dongming Range, Qishan Mountain in Qingjiao Village in Xiamen Haicang District, and covers an area of 1.15 square kilometres.

In honor of Wu Tao, a "Medical Saint" (医灵真人) who devoted his whole life to saving people in China and Southeast Asia, the palace, previously named Ciji Miao (慈济庙), was built in 1151 and renamed Ciji Palace in 1241. Nowadays, it has become a famous tourist resort with its key historical and cultural relics under state protection, to which thousands of pilgrims make the trek to pay homage to the "Medical Saint" each year.

Add: Maqing Road, Haicang District, Xiamen, Fujian Province/福建省厦门市海沧区马青路
Tel: 0592-6881818
How to get there: Take bus No. 71, 72, or 95 and get off at the Haicang Fangchan Station (海沧房产站), then take bus No. 451, 801, or 831 and get off at the Ciji Donggong Station (慈济东宫站)
4. Meishan Temple (梅山寺)
Meishan Temple, situated at the foot of Meishan Mountain, is one of the largest temples in Tong’an district. The history of the temple can be traced back to the Sui Dynasty. As one of the 3 best-known temples (including Huangfo Temple and Fantian Temple) in Tong’an, Meishan Temple is a focal point of celebration for Buddhists in the city.

The temple also houses the largest white jade Buddha statue in the country. As a result, it welcomes an endless procession of worshipers who come to burn incense and pray.

Address: Meishan Road, Tong’an district 厦门市同安区梅山路
Tel: (0592)7135301
How to get there: Take bus No. 656, 655, or 650 and get off at Tong’an Film Studio City stop (同安影视城站)
5. Border of Heaven Temple (Tianjie Si) 天界寺
Border of Heaven Temple in the Botanical Garden is famous for its morning bell, (Tianjie Xiaozhong 天界晓钟) which is poetically described as the “Dawn Bell Ringing from Heaven's Border". The temple was built in the Qing dynasty. As you ascend the steps to the back of the temple, you'll pass by spots with unique names including Ask Buddha the Way, Buddha Bathing Basin, Long Howl Cave and Stone Chessboard.

Address: No. 38, Shentian Road, Siming district 厦门市思明区深田路38号
Tel: (0592)2031582
How to get there: Take bus No. 57 or 87 and get off at the Botanical Garden stop (植物园站) or take bus No. 3, 12, 17, 21, 32, 57, 139, 19A, 19B, 659, 857, 951, or 959 and get off at the No.1 Middle School stop (一中站).
6. Sunlight Rock Temple 日光岩寺
Sunlight Rock Temple, one of Xiamen's four most important temples during the Ming and Qing Dynasties, was built between 1506 and 1521 and called Lotus Temple (Lianhua An 莲花庵). It was rebuilt in 1596 and renamed Sunlight Rock Temple and is now dedicated to the worship of Guanyin (观音).

Sunlight Rock Temple, which is partially within a cave, is often called "One Tile Roof " (Yipian Wa 一片瓦) because a large rock forms a part of the roof. It is also called a "Pocket Temple" because it encompasses only 2,856 m. But though its location scrunched up within a rock prevents it from sprawling like other temples, it makes up for its size by its exquisite setting, with unique Chinese eaves, arches, columns, and glazed colored tiles. The neighboring European architecture only reinforces the essential Chinese-ness of this “pocket temple”. This is China's only temple in which the Buddha Hall (大雄宝殿) and Maitreya Hall are face to face. There was also a Xu Booth (旭亭) built between 1723 and 1735, but all that remains of that today is an inscription on the cliff.

Abbot Liuzhan (六湛法师) administered Sunlight temple from 1851 to 1872, and built the Yuanmin Palace (圆明殿), which was replaced in 1854 with the 'Study Buddha Hall' (Nianfo Tang, 念佛堂). After a fire damaged the hall in 1960, Abbott Zhengguo (正果法师) asked for donations from his master Shanqi (善契法师) in the Philippines. The Biguang building, Gongde Hall (功德堂), and Zu Hall (祖堂) were removed and the dorms were rebuilt. Gulangyu Electric Works took over the temple during the Cultural Revolution but returned it in 1983, and the temple got a two million Yuan facelift after Xiamen became a Special Economic Zone.

Address: No. 62, Huangyan Road, Gulangyu Island 鼓浪屿晃岩路62号
How to get there: Take bus No. 4, 23, 97, 112, 116, 118, 127, 139, 19A, 19B, 30A, 30B, 841, 853, 941 or 946, and get off at the Lundu Post Office stop (轮渡邮局站).
7. White Deer Cave Temple 白鹿洞寺
The White Deer Cave (bailu dong), considered by Chinese as one of the 'eight minor sights of Xiamen', houses a temple built during the Ming dynasty (1368-1644).

The cave itself contains a pair of clay white deer that are positioned with their mouths facing the rock. Often, in the hot summer, white smoke or steam issues forth from the crevices of the rock, wafting past the faces of the stationary deer and giving the impression that the deer are smoking.

Address: South side of Yuping Mountain, Bailu Road, Siming District 厦门市白鹿路玉屏山南侧
How to get there: Take bus No. 8, 86, 96, 99, 123, 139, 19A, 19B, 659, 857, 951 or 959 and get off at the Experimental Primary School stop (实验小学站).
8. Hongshan Temple 鸿山寺
Hongshan Park, next to Siming Bei Lu, is well-hidden enough to be a secret place to take a stroll, relax and have a short retreat away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

When you stand in front of the entrance, you can marvel at the beautiful waterfall coming from the top of the mountain. Directly next to the entrance, the sight of Hongshan Park appears in front of you. This small Buddhist temple welcomes believers as well as visitors and is worth taking a closer look at. The smell of incense is all over the place and furthers the comfortable, relaxing feeling.

Address: No. 210, Siming South Road, Siming district 思明南路210号
Tel: (0592)2034694
How to get there: Take bus No. 1, 2, 15, 20, 21, 22, 29, 45, 48, 86, 96, 112, 122, 123, 135, 659, 841, 857, 950 or 959 and get off at Zhenhai Road stop (镇海路).
9. Fengshan Temple at Guankou Town 灌口凤山庙
Founded late in the Ming Dynasty (1621-1644), Fengshan Temple once boasted two palace-style halls. It was a shrine used to worship the God of Li Erlang, a hero who killed an evil dragon in Dujiang River for his fellow people.

Fengshan Temple has a deep historical relationship with Taiwan. After taking over Taiwan Island, the army led by Koxinga (also known as Zheng Chenggong) brought the culture of Fengshan Temple to the island. Therefore, the temple was named as a Taiwan-related cultural relic of Xiamen city.

Address: North side of Guankou Street, Guankou Town, Jimei District, Xiamen 厦门集美区灌口镇灌口大道北侧
Phone: 0592-5318858
How to get there: Take bus No. 921, 925, 932, 933, 936 or 939 to get off at the Guankou Middle School Stop (灌口中学站); or take bus No. 840, 903, 921, 925, 932, 933, 936, 939 or 994 and get off at the Government of Guankou Town stop (灌口镇站).
10. Xiamen Qiming Temple 厦门启明寺
Located on the Longrui Mountain in Zengcuoan, Xiamen Qiming Temple was originally named “Dong Gong”, a Buddhist temple used to worship the God of Earth. Covering an area of 16,000 square meters, the temple is now under reconstruction.

The Trikala Buddha can be found in the Treasured Hall of Great Majesty, and China’s largest bronze Amitabha statue stands at this temple in the Hall of Amitabha. Maitreya Buddha and the Four Heavenly Kings will be enshrined in the Hall of Heavenly Kings in the near future.

Address: No.405, Zengcuoan, Siming District, Xiamen 厦门思明区曾厝安社405号
Phone: 0592-2091087
How to get there: Take bus No. 2, 310, 57, 87, 92 or Sightseeing Bus No. 2 and get off at the Cangli Stop (仓里站).
11. Xiamen Jinming Temple 厦门市进明寺
Xiamen Jinming Temple is located on the scenic Huandao Road, an attractive offshore tourist resort in Xiamen. It is the only Buddhist sanctuary next to the roundabout roads on the island and lies just across from the sparkling Kinmen Islands.

Jinming Temple is comprised of a temple gate, a free life pond, a bell tower, drum tower and a main shrine. The main shrine is divided into four parts: the Hall of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva and Praying Hall, the Avalokitesvara Pavilion, the Depositary of Buddhist Texts and the Mahavira Hall. The Tang Dynasty-style architecture, along with a four-layer adytum, creates a peaceful and relaxing environment.

Address: No.4, Xitouxia community, Huangcuo Village, Siming District, Xiamen 厦门思明区黄厝村溪头下社4号
Phone: 0592-2561235
How to get there: Take bus No. 112, 115, 29, 316, 47, 715 or 857, and get off at the Taiwan Folk Village Stop (台湾民俗村站).
12. Miaofalin Temple 妙法林
Miaofalin is an extended part of the southwestern branch of the Wulao Mountains in Xiamen city. It borders Wangshishan Botanical Garden to the southeast, Nanputuo Temple to the southwest, Gulangyu Island to the northwest, and Yudang Lake to the northeast.

Located on the edge of the city, Miaofalin is a paradise hiding from the noisy city, surrounded by lush woods and attractive plants and boasting wing-rooms on two sides and a garden-wall with five doors.

Address: No.1, Lizhi Road, Siming District, Xiamen 思明区励志路1号
Phone: 0592-2056332
How to get there: Take bus No. 17 and get off at Ganxiu Ersuo Stop (干休二所站)
13. Shishi Temple 石室禅院
Built in 686 AD, the Shishi Temple flourished in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Legend goes that the geomantic omen around the temple was fantastic at the beginning but declined after a recession at the temple occurred due to a stingy Taoist priest.

Located in Daimao Mountain, Shishi Temple was originally famous for eighteen historical scenes. Visitors nowadays can enjoy some of the beautiful scenery, including intermontane folded stones, Guanyin Cliff, the Sword-power-test Rock and the Fairy Footprint Rock.

Address: No. 8, Yangshun Road, Haicang District, Xiamen 厦门市海沧区阳顺路8号
Phone: 0592- 5817737 2397327
How to get there by bus: Take a bus to Haicang District, and then take bus No. 982, 958, 807, 851, 890 or 845 and get off at the Shishi Temple stop (石室禅院站).
14. Temple of Baihu Rock 白虎岩寺
The Temple of Baihu Rock was set up based on stone carving in the Ming Dynasty and was roofed with a twelve-meter-tall natural rock. It is next to the Mazaimu Reservoir and the Min-tai Ancient Town is just 30 minutes away. Covering an area of just 16 square meters, the temple features rock walls, stone altars and stone sculptures.

The government of Houxi Town plans to build an ecological sports scenic spot around the temple, which will include a comprehensive service center, an amusement park, a religious zone and a body-building region.

Address: No. 5, Huxiyan Road, Siming district 思明区虎溪岩路5号
How to get there: Take bus No. 57 or 87 and get off at Botanical Garden stop (植物园站) or take bus No. 3, 12, 17, 21, 32, 57, 139, 19A, 19B, 659, 857, 951 or 959 and get off at the No. 1 Middle School stop (一中站).
15. Puguang Temple 普光寺
The Puguang Temple was originally known as the Golden Chicken Pavilion, as there is a bizarre rock there that looks like a chicken. At the beginning of the Ming Dynasty, the pavilion was built into a shrine to worship the Goddess of Mercy.

With a total land area of about 10,000 square meters, Puguang Temple is the second largest Buddhist temple on Xiamen Island. The Hall of Heavenly Kings, Mahavira Hall, the Depository of Buddhist Sutras, Memorial Hall, and the Monument of Dharma Master Ruizhi are all within the temple.

Address: Wolong Xiaocheng, Lianqian West Road, Siming District, Xiamen 思明区莲前西路卧龙晓城附近
Phone: 0592-5987170
How to get there: Take bus No. 101, 127, 19A, 19B, 26, 28, 30A or 30B and get off at the Longshanqiao Stop (龙山桥站).
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