The history of China has stood for thousands of years and its diversity and profound knowledge of religion and spiritualism is undeniable.
1. Temple of Heaven
This masterpiece is regarded as the landmark of Beijing and situated in the Southern part of Beijing. This ancient temple is dated back to 1420 AD and is now a major tourist attraction of Mainland China where the complex of the temple congested with travellers from all parts of the world. It is a place of worship to the god of heaven for good harvest since Ming dynasty and the architecture itself depicts profound understanding of astrology and spiritualism. The temple is just extraordinary, and I give my wholehearted recommendations!
2. Shaolin Temple
This temple is the reality of every Chinese Kung Fu movie! It is located in Hennan Province which mean it is surrounded by mountains. Attain great reputation and large number of tourists now and listed UNESCO heritage site. Exploring the underlying histories and learning more about Buddhism is another interesting thing. There’s an awe-inspiring Kung Fu demo in the morning which you can participate if you want to. It is touristy but definitely worth visiting.
3. Famen Temple
Xi’an is a town of ironic history and this is where Famen temple is located. This is a sacred place where the Finger Bone Relic of Sakyamuni is enshrined. It is such a huge complex but there’s a tram linking primary temple and newly constructed one. Save your energy for other use! If you are visiting Xi’an for Terracotta warriors, then do save some time to visit this temple too.
4. White Horse Temple
This is the first Buddhist temple in China which is also located in Hennan Province. The temple is unlike others; mainly a place of worship and not every area within the temple is open to over-inquisitive tourists. I suggest you to hire a tour guide as without realizing the thought-provoking legend behind, it is just another Buddhist temple.
5. Confucian Temple
The Confucian Temple or the Temple of Confucius is another major temple in Mainland China and is the largest Confucius temple ever built. If you glimpse into the Chinese history, you will realize the significant role of Confucius and his philosophy. It has been listed as UNESCO World Heritage site since 1994 and the glory of this temple is just incredible.
6. Jokang Temple
Indeed, China attains many UNESCO world heritage sites and Jokang Temple (as part of the Potala Palace) is another one of them. What make this temple unique is the Tibet worshippers; who deeply believe in Buddha and the way they pray during the cold weather of Lhasa truly reflects their belief. Like any other religious sites, it has its own history and chronicles. However, if there aren’t any pious worshippers, this is just another temple with Buddha image and I am sure it can’t lure the tourists. To sight the authentic lifestyle of Tibet people would be the only reason of my visit to this spiritual heart of the city!
7. Chongseng Temple
Just like the commercials, Yunnan province indeed is colorful; it preserves scenic landscapes, delightful minorities and legendary temples. Speaking of temples, the three pagodas of Chongseng temple is something you shouldn’t miss in Dali. It is nestled on the base of Cangshan Mountains and the bank of Ershai Lake. The view is just spectacular! If you are a student or even the exchange student, they generously set 50% discount.
8. Hanging Temple
The most prominent temple in China would be Hanging Temple also known as Xuankong Temple. The temple is uniquely constructed into the cliff of Mt. Hengshan, Datong city. It was listed in the “Time” magazine as the world's top ten most odd dangerous buildings. This site features many interesting facts and the combination of three Chinese religion; Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism is one of them. Even if you are not into history, religion or spiritualism, this is a must see place!
9. Xichan Temple
If you need to escape from bustling Fuzhou city with skyscrapers and traffic and tired of shopping, Xichan temple is place you should go. It is beautiful aged-old temple and stood over 1130 years. The precious relics are believed to be enshrined in within the building since the Tang Dynasty. It is definitely worth to spend an hour or more, with monks and locals praying, souvenir shops nearby and a lake full with fish and tortoise. A nice opportunity for photos too!
10. Xiangguo Monastery
This is one of the biggest and greatest monasteries in China. Another antique masterpiece dated back to 555 AD and recommended for history enthusiasts and those who are pursuing orient studies. All of the temples listed are definite worth-visiting and astonishing. Just one last note_ make sure you wear decent clothing for cultural sensitive areas like temples, and some temples may not allow footwear. Do respect the culture and tradition of every destination! Xie Xie for reading!