Located in Hunyuan County, Datong, Shanxi Province, Hanging Temple was famous for its precipitous location, and it’s the only existing temple which combines Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism together in China.
The Hanging Temple was constructed in the late Northern Wei Dynasty (491AD) and has a long history over 1500 years. The whole temple is protruding from the cliff of Cuiping Peak and is 50 meter above the ground. Its construction is based on the principles of mechanics and uses rocks as its invisible support. The hanging wooden structures root in the holes and pillars that hook each other into the rocks. The hanging plank road is supported by the wooden pillars and girders which are inserted into the rocks. All wooden supports had soaked in the tung oil for mothproof and anticorrosion. Covering an area of 125m2, it’s not large, yet it has over 40 rooms, all are wooden structures.
Times magazine selected the Hanging Temple as one of the Top 10 Unique and Precipitous Architectures in 2010.
The whole temple is 32m long and can be divided into three parts.
The southern part has three floors in total, and it’s about 8m long and 4m wide. It has Chunyang Palace, Sanguan Hall and Leiyin Hall. Chunyang Palace is mainly worshiping the Lü Dongbin – one the Eight Immortals of Taoism. Sanguan Hall is the largest hall of Hanging Temple, and the clay sculptures in the hall are the precious works from Ming Dynasty (1368 – 1644). The largest clay sculpture here is 2 meters in height and it’s the largest one of the whole temple. Leiyin Hall is a Buddhism hall and it’s located at the highest part of the southern part.
The northern part is about 7m long and 4m wide. It has Wufo Hall, Guanyin Hall and Sanjiao Hall. Wufo Hall is the lowest hall of the three, and is famous for worshiping the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Guanyin Hall lies in the middle part, while Sanjiao Hall is located at the top part. Sanjiao Hall is the symbol of the combination of three religions (Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism), and the statue of the founders of the three religions – Shakyamuni of Buddhism, Laozi of Taoism and Confucius of Confucianism are worshiped in this hall.>
Changxian Bridge is a 10m hanging plank road that connects the southern part and northern part.
The Hanging Temple is located at the foot of Mt. Hengshan, in the southeast of Hunyuan County, Datong. It’s about 65km from Datong city center. Travelers can take mini bus at Datong Railway Station to Hunyuan County, then take a travel bus to the Hanging Temple from Hunyuan County. Travelers can also take city bus (like Bus 8) from Datong to Mt. Hengshan, then take a taxi or walk to the Hanging Temple. .
The most convenient way is taking a chartered car or taxi, the whole drive will be about 1 hours (no traffic jam).
Distance to other attractions:
Yungang Grottoes: about 70.7km
Huayan Temple: 59.9km
Nine Dragon Wall: 59.7km
Peak season (March 1st ~ October 31st): ¥124/person, half price is ¥65/person.
Low season (November 1st ~ next February): ¥115/person, half price is ¥63/person.
Note: in the China Travel Day (May 19th) and World Travel Day(September 27th), travelers can enjoy a discount price of ¥100/person. The tour guide service is ¥30 for one time.
Hanging Temple is located in between two gorges, so the best time for photography is when there is a direct sunlight shines the cliff in the morning. In winter, the sunshine duration is very short, and the temple is already under the shadow of the other cliff. So if you want to have a good light for your photograph, you need to get to the temple in early.
The Hanging Temple is very crowded in peak season, and normally, it will take 2 ~ 3 hours to purchase ticket and to queue up. Thus, early morning or late afternoon is more suitable in the peak season.
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