History of White Horse Temple
According to historical legend, Emperor Mingdi of the Eastern Han Dynasty (AD 25 ~ 220) dreamed of a golden man flying above the courtyard. After he woke up, he was delighted and sent envoys to western regions to invite Buddha and learn Buddhism. The two envoys underwent much hardship and met two eminent Indian dignitaries- She Moteng (摄摩腾) and Zhu Falan(竺法兰). Under their invitation, the two monks came to China with them and a white horse carrying the sutras together. In the year of AD 68, the emperor ordered to build a temple to keep the scriptures. This temple was built about 12 kilometers east of the capital city, Luoyang. In order to memorize the white horse for its carrying back of the sutras, the temple was named the White Horse Temple. Since then Buddhism spread through China and many Chinese temples were built. Now you can see the stone sculpture of the horse in front of White Horse Temple.
Brief Impression about White Horse Temple
As the first Buddha temple in China, White Horse Temple has so many "First Things" here: The first ancient pagoda, Qiyun Pagoda; The first Indian monk lived; The first Chinese Buddhist scriptures stored; The first translating scripture place- Cool and Clear Terrace; The first Chinese monk entering; etc.
White Horse Temple also had a great influence abroad and shows the great Buddhist culture exchange between different countries today. After the construction of White Horse Temple, Buddhism spread to North Korea, Japan and Southeast Asia, and later in Europe and American. In 20th century, India, Thailand and Myanmar built their halls in White Horse Temple, making it the only world's only temple with Chinese, Indian, Thai and Burmese Buddhist architectures.
What to See in White Horse Temple
Through many times' destruction and restorations have taken place, White Horse Temple is preserved with a large number of precious Buddhist architectures and Buddha statues. The highlights of the whole Temple including Main Temple, Qiyuan Pagoda, Thailand Temple, India Temple and Myanmar Temple.
Main Temple – Historic Site with Numerous Treasures
The Main Temple of today's White Horse Temple is the original White Horse Temple. Facing south, it is well structured in a symmetrical pattern. Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the first hall in this temple, with clay-molded statues, the four kings was decorated in the Qing Dynasty. Explore further, you will meet the main hall - Hall of Great Buddha. Built in the Ming Dynasty, this hall is full of Buddha statues, including Sakyamuni, statues of Wenshu, the bodhisattva of Wisdom, and Samantabhadra, etc. Glancing at the northeastern corner, there is a big ancient bell weight over one ton, where the famous New Year bell striking activity celebrated. Behind the Great Buddha Hall is the well decorated Hall of Mahavira. With 22.8 meters long and 14.2 meters wide, it's the biggest hall here. Among the thousands Buddha statues, the Sakyamuni, Amitabha, the Medicine Buddha and the eighteen arhats standing around are all made from silk and hemp, which are most precious. Don't miss Cool and Clear Terrace, where is the place of original sutras stored and translated. Today, this place is more like a courtyard, dotted with faint fragrance of cypress and cassia trees for tourists to enjoy the quietness.
Qiyun Pagoda – Old Pagoda with Peaceful Environment
Qiyun Pagoda, a tiered brick is located about 200 meters to the Main Temple of White Horse Temple. It was firstly built in AD 69 during the Eastern Han Dynasty and rebuilt in ad 1175 during the Jin Dynasty. It is the first Bhikshuni Ashram of Henan Province and there are still many nuns studying Buddhism there. The structural materials of Qiyun Pagoda cleverly combine bricks, woods and stones to form a unique ancient tower. It is said that if you stand 20 meters back from the pagoda and clap your hands, you will hear the echo sounds like a croaking frog. There are fewer travelers in Qiyun Pagoda than in the Main Temple, so quite peaceful environment can be enjoyed. Around Qiyun Temple, there you can see pond, bridge, pavilion, etc.
International Zone with Other Temples
Apart from the old Chinese architectures, you also get an opportunity some foreign Buddhist buildings in White Horse Temple, namely Thailand Temple, India Temple and Myanmar Temple, which are surely worth strolling around. Each temple enjoys a distinctive feature of its own country.
In Thailand Temple, there is a Dagoba which houses 12 Buddha statues in first floor and one of Buddha's relics in the second floor. The Great Buddha Hall enshrines a 7.2-meter tall statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, with solemn appearance. It is modeled after Phra Ching Rana - the most beautiful most trusted Buddha statue in Thailand.
The main building of India Temple is Great Buddha Hall which is modeled after Indian Pagoda – famous Sanchi Tower. Apart from that, you can see many other halls, cloisters, archways, etc. All of these buildings are arranged in a regular layout and unique ingenuity.
Myanmar Temple is just close to Thailand Temple which imitates the style of Mandalay Palace. The main building was built in the shape of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon and there are 4 statues of Skyamuni, telling Buddha's enlightenment, saying, generosity and meditation.
How to Get to White Horse Temple
White Horse Temple is located in Baimasi Town, Luolong District, Luoyang Temple.
- 23 km away from Luoyang downtown, about 50 minutes' drive;
- 28 km away from Luoyang Longmen Railway Station, about 1 hour' drive;
- 24 km away from Luoyang Beijiao Airport, about 1 hour's drive;
- 26 km away from Luomeng Grottoes, about 45 minutes' drive;
- 50 km away from Shaolin Temple, about 1.5 hours' drive.
How to Get to Luoyang: Many tourists choose to get to Luoyang first and then travel to White Horse Temple. Luoyang can be reached by a few international flights, some domestic flights and many high speed trains. If you are already in China, it is easy to take direct flights Luoyang from Beijing (2h), Shanghai (2-2.5h), Chengdu (2h), Chongqing (1.5h), Guangzhou (2.5h), Shenzhen (2.5h), etc., and high speed trains from Beijing (4-4.5h), Xian (1.5-2h), Zhengzhou (40 min), Shanghai (5 ~ 9h), etc. All flights land on Luoyang Beijiao International Airport and all high speed trains arrive at Luoyang Longmen Railway Stations.
Luoyang to White Horse Temple:Luoyang is not equipped with metro at present, and there is no direct public connecting White Horse Temple with Luoyang Longmen Railway Station, Luoyang Beijiao Airport or other attractions of Luoyang. If you want to use public transportation, you can take a bus to Luoyang Railway Station first and then transfer to White Horse Temple.
It is strongly recommended to travel with China Discovery. Our local travel guide and driver will pick you up at the airport or train station as you arrive with an air-conditioned and non-smoking vehicle, and then escort you to your hotel or every attraction listed in your itinerary. Great freedom will be given to you when you need to stop for sightseeing and photograph if possible. You are sure to enjoy a comfortable, safe and efficient experience.
Best Time to Visit White Horse Temple
As a temple with cultural charm, White Horse Temple is suitable to visit all the year around. If we take weather into consideration, the best time to visit Luoyang from April to October, especially April, May, September and October when the climate is most comfortable. If you visit in spring, you get an opportunity to see many colorful peony flowers. The annual Luoyang Peony Culture Festival take place from early April to early May. During this festival, the whole city will be immersed in the happiness of festival and the beauty of peony flowers. In the garden of White Horse Temple, you can see many beautiful flowers as well.
How to Plan Your Travel in Luoyang
Usually, it takes 2 ~ 3 days to have a Luoyang tour. The highlights of Luoyang include Longmen Grottoes which is known as the finest examples of Chinese Buddhist art, 1900-year-old White Horse Temple (also China's first Buddhist temple), 2000-year-old burial site - Tianzi Jialiu Museum and beautiful Luoyang Museum with a lot of history to tell. Of course, you can't miss a Kung Fu exploration in Shaolin Temple (in Dengfeng city) if you visit Luoyang. It is only 55 km (about 1.5 hours' drive) away from Luoyang City.
It's strongly recommended to extend your Luoyang tour to its attractive neighbors. After Shaolin Temple visit, you can spend 1 day exploring Zhengzhou or Kaifeng. If you are fond of nature, Mount Yuntai, Guoliang Village and Xiaolangdi Reservoir on Yellow River are recommended.
However, the best way to extend your Luoyang trip is starting a Xian Tour. Owning world-class treasures, Xian offers a lot to see and do. Taking a 1.5~2 hours high speed train, you can unveil an incredible experience of two old capital cities. It is quite popular to travel Beijing and Xian with Luoyang, because Luoyang is just located between them. Get inspired from our Xian Luoyang Tours now!
√ 6 Days Ancient Xian & Henan Tour （Xian / Luoyang / Dengfeng / Zhengzhou）
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Luoyang and nearby Shaolin Temple are very popular with our customers. Since 2012, we have helped thousands of customers visited the region successfully. With our fully-inclusive private tour packages, all of our customers enjoyed their trips to magnificent Longmen Grottoes, legendary Shaolin Temple, educational Luoyang Museum, beautiful Yuntain Mountain, etc. Some of them even had the rare opportunities to take part in the grand International Peony Festival in Luoyang. Many customers suggest visit Luoyang with Beijing, Xian, Pingyao and Shandong in northern China to explore authentic Chinese culture. Below are some inspiring travel stories:
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★ Sucking Cultural Fragrance from Time-honored Architectures (Kathmandu - Kunming - Lhasa - Shigatse - Xian - Luoyang - Pingyao - Datong)
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