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Thursday, July 22, 2010

No. 25: Langya Temple, Chuzhou, Anhui

The Beamless Hall (无梁殿) at Langya Temple (琅琊寺) in Chuzhou, Anhui (安徽, 滁州市) is one of
the many attractive sights on this mountaintop temple. It was built in the Ming Dynasty.
The day after my visit to Hefei, I returned to Anhui, this time to Langya Temple in the Langya Mountain Scenic Area near Chuzhou.

Entrance to this tourist trap was a whopping 95 RMB, plus another 5 RMB for the shuttle bus up the mountain. This was by far the most I had ever paid to visit a temple from my list, even though the temple itself was technically free.

When I arrived, though, all complaints melted away. It was paradise.

In addition to the magnificent natural setting, there were some unusual features. The topmost hall contains 1,000 jade Buddhas from Burma, each about a foot high.

Behind that hall is a Snow Goose Cave, and it has a rather unusual inhabitant. The keepers were happy to waive the 1 RMB fee to let me see a giant salamander living in the cave. It must have been at least 50 centimeters long! (What this has to do with snow geese escapes me.)

On the upper terrace of the temple, a kindly old monk tended a small hall with an unusual set of murals on three of its walls. In a fairly primitive style, they purportedly showed the 500 Arhats--although nowhere near that many were present.

At lunchtime in the main compound area, that same old monk invited me into the monks' dining room. Kind indeed.

Back near the temple gate is the "Beamless Hall," in fact a building with a barrel vault made of brick. The lay attendants assured me this one dated to the Tang Dynasty (when the temple was founded); in fact it was "only" from the Ming.

Back down the mountain to the train station, and on to another temple east of Nanjing.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily July 2, 2012.)

GPS Info:
  • 32.27492, 118.28177



Map:




GALLERY

The first gate at Langya Temple
Gateway to the 1,000 Jade Buddha Statue Hall
Entrance to the Snow Goose Cave, home of a giant salamander
Part of the "500 Arhat Mural" in an old hall on the upper terrace
The main courtyard at the temple
A narrow corridor
Front of Langya's ancient "Beamless Hall" (postcard above)

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