Many visitors come to Chengdu for the temples, the shopping, the restaurants and sightseeing. Wenshu Temple and surrounding area has all that and more. Lined with quaint buildings in the ancient Chinese architectural style, each part of this fascinating area has its own feel and its own culture, yet it is all united in a single cultural experience. Officially, the area is called the City Recreation District or Wen Shu Fang (文殊坊), but some people opt to call it by its more light-hearted nickname: Wen Shu “FUN”.
The entrance to Wenshu Temple is a short way down an alley off Zhongren Lu, just north of Wenshu Station. The Wenshu Temple, or Manjusri Monastery, originates from the Tang Dynasty. It is the oldest and best maintained Buddhist Temple in Chengdu. There are many things about Wenshu Temple that attract both visitors and locals: the crowds, the monks, the history, the buildings, the statues, and of course the food and drink.
One of the most popular places is the teahouse, one of the largest and busiest in Chengdu. Here, there are tables seemingly packed into the outdoor walled area, and there are always crowds of people enjoying the tea and atmosphere. Adjoining the teahouse is a vegetarian restaurant, serving delicious, healthy meals that are recommended for all.
Over 400 statues can be found dispersed throughout the temple’s five main halls and in many of the smaller buildings. In the Scripture Halls, one can find a great number of Buddhist cultural relics and arts, created by some of China’s best known artists, including Biyan, Zhuchan and Zhang Daqian.
The temple also houses the broken skull of the famous Tang Dynasty monk Xuan Zhang. Other special sites are the White Jade Buddha (from Myanmar) and the Thousand Buddha Pagoda. Scroll through The Hall of Scriptures and you may be lucky enough to see an enthralling and authentic Buddhist ceremony taking place.
Before leaving, it is well worth walking through the small, but tranquil garden, and enjoying a small piece of serenity in the middle of a bustling metropolis.
Add: 15 Wenshuyuan Jie, Wenshufang, Qingyang District, Chengdu
Tel: 028 8695 2830
Opening hours: 10:00 - 22:00
Price: 30RMB per person
Old Chengdu Club
2) Old Chengdu Club 成都会馆View In Map
The Old Chengdu Club is just a stone’s throw away from the Wenshu Temple. This is another well known landmark in the city. Once a closed door club, restricted to a limited and exclusive membership, The Old Chengdu Club, under the guidance of an adopted Australian manager, has since been transformed into a place for everyone.
Nowadays, the building is home to a luxurious 20 room boutique hotel which boasts several top class Chinese, Western, Japanese and Korean restaurants; a relaxing spa and a banquet hall for large scale functions such as weddings. Unlike Wenshu Temple’s spiritual atmosphere, the grounds of the Old Chengdu Club embrace a deep sense of culture; you feel like you’ve suddenly left the streets of old China and walked into another era.
Add: 28 Wuyuegong Street, Wenshufang, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan, 610017
Tel: 028 8695 6688; Fax: 028 8695 6677
3) Outside the temple
Wenshu Temple area’s attractions are not limited to the two attractions mentioned above. The streets surrounding the temple and the Old Chengdu Club, known as the City Recreation District or Wenshufang, are attractions in their own right and also well worth exploring.
The most striking aspect of this area is the presence of newly restored ancient buildings that are now home to a large number of Chinese and Tibetan stores, restaurants and shops. In keeping with the old Chengdu spirit, there are also many fortune tellers, bunion removers, soothsayers, healers and countless other individuals practicing ancient traditions and customs in the area. Built in an architectural style unique to Sichuan, these buildings are one of the few remaining symbols of ancient Chengdu.
Due to their close proximity to the Wenshu Temple, many of the stores sell artefacts and souvenirs related to the Temple. There is also no shortage of stores selling incense, to either burn in the temple or to take away. The Tibetan culture is well represented in this area’s shops, and one can find an abundance of stores selling Tibetan statues, paintings, clothing and trinkets. Buddhist related art and artefacts are, of course, readily available for purchase throughout the area.
The traveller can choose to sit inside a teahouse, or dine at one of the many Buddhist, Chinese or Tibetan restaurants. The restaurants here come in many styles and sizes and some offer outdoor seating. However, in terms of dining, the area is perhaps best known for the many food stalls and snacks that can be found along its streets and the area is often host to food festivals and other culinary related events. In short, visitors to the Wenshu Temple area needn’t worry about going hungry – there are plenty of snacks and restaurants to choose from.
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Keywords: Wenshu temple Chengdu wenshufang area Chengdu wenshu temple area attractions city recreation district Chengdu ancient buildings street Chengdu
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