Plan your trip to Shaolin Temple? It is advisable to combine Shaolin Temple with a added trip to Zhongyue Temple and Songyang Academy in Dengfeng, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan Province.
Dengfeng is located at the southen foot of Mount Song. Mount Song is one of the five sacred mountains in China. In history, Dengfeng was regarded as a spiritual center due to the fact it was home to several important religious sites including Shaolin Temple (Buddhism), Zhongyue Temple (Taoism) and Songyang Academy (Confucianism). The major religions in China are converged here in Dengfeng, which has a poetic name, the spiritual “centre of heaven and earth”.
In 2010, several of the most famous sites around Dengfeng were listed under the title “Historic Monuments of Dengfeng in “The Centre of Heaven and Earth”.” The well known sites include Shaolin Temple, Zhongyue Temple and Songyang Academy.
To visit Zhongyue Temple, you need to go to Dengfeng City, which is located between Luoyang (80km) and Zhengzhou (70km). Travel overland to Dengfeng is the only way either from Luoyang and Zhengzhou. Numerous buses shuttle to Dengfeng from Luoyang and Zhengzhou. It is also quite easy to hitchhike along National Highway 207 from Luoyang to Dengfeng or Expressway S85 from Zhengzhou to Dengfeng.
Usually a visit to Zhongyue Temple is often arranged after a trip to Shaolin Temple since Dengfeng City is only 12km to the east of Shaolin Temple. Zhongyue Temple is 5km to the north of Dengfeng city center.
Well, please follow me into the mysterious world of Zhongyue Temple in Dengfeng.
After visiting Shaolin Temple, I walk across the national highway No.207 passing by the entrance to Shaolin Temple aboard the Public Bus No.8 running from Shaolin Temple to the city center of Dengfeng. Now it is late February, still a low tourist season and there are not so many passengers on the bus.
There are not so many passengers on the bus from Shaolin Temple to Dengfeng.
I soon arrive at Dengfeng, which is located at the southern foot of Mount Song with a population of 640,000 (2010). It has a total area of 1220 Square kilometers, 56km long from east to west and 35.5km from north to south. Dengfeng City is regarded as a city of China’s Martial Arts as well as a city where three Chinese religions are converged including Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism.
The city of Dengfeng is quite clean and well organized.
Zhongyue Temple is situated 5km north of the city center of dengfeng, you take the public bus no.2 or take a taxi to Zhongyue Temple. A taxi ride costs you about RMB 15.
It is an important Taoist temple in China dedicated to the God of Mount Song. It was originally built in Eastern Zhou Dynasy in 770 BC. In Wei Dynasty, it was renamed Zhongyue Temple and became a taoist temple. Zhongyue Temple was further expanded in the successive dyansities of Tang, Song, Ming and Qing.
Entrance fee: RMB 30
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Zhongyue Temple is a group of ancient structures. Inside the temple, there are totally 11 yards and gates from the first gate to the last hall. By the both sides of the axis, there are six palaces and yards.
Entering the Temple, the first architecture you will see is “The First Gate of the Famous Mountain”.
Behind the “First Gate” is the “Distant Worshipping Pavilion”, a delicate pavilion with double octagonal eaves
A delicate pavilion with double octagonal eaves
This is the largest hall in Zhongyue Temple – Junji Palace dedicated to the God of Mount Song.
Junji Palace is similar to the Super-Harmony Hall of Forbidden City in Beijing since Zhongyue Temple is built based on the style and structure of the Forbidden City in Beijing.
The splendidly built eaves with mythical animals indicate the high status of the temple, which could be found in Forbidden City in Beijing where emperor lived.