Finding the Spirit in Wuxi: Exploring Temples New and Old

Finding the Spirit in Wuxi: Exploring Temples New and Old

Wuxi, a city with a history almost as long as China itself has despite its fast economic growth preserved a considerable amount of its religious architecture. Apart from the preserved ancient buildings, Wuxi also boasts an impressive array of newly built, but nonetheless impressive religious architecture.

1) The Big Buddha of Lingshan
The Big Buddha of Lingshan is one of the landmarks of Wuxi and a must for any visitor to the city. The Buddha statue is located on the shore of Lake Taihu in the outskirts of Wuxi city. The statue can be seen from far away facing the lake to the south and Lingshan to the north. With its 88 metres in total and 79 metres for the statue itself, this is the tallest statue of the Sakyamuni Buddha in the world. Even the lotus petals on which it stands are nine metres tall.

The numbers which went into the creation of this statue alone are astonishing: 700 tonnes of cast copper were used to create the 1560 copper plates, each 6-8 millimetres thick, that were in turn used to build the statue. The total area of these plates amounts to more than 9000 square metres or the equivalent of one and a half football fields. It is therefore no wonder that the statue is very impressive even when seen from afar.

Apart from the Great Buddha, the scenic area also boasts other Buddhist buildings such as the Great Screen Wall of Lingshan which is 39.8 metres long and 7 metres tall. The front of the wall depicts the great spectacle of Lingshan with thousands of life-like people carved in stone, while the back side of the wall shows the monk Tangseng, of Journey to the West fame, in deep meditation at Lingshan. Another eye catching monument in the area is the huge Buddha hand placed in the aptly named Buddha’s Hand Square. If it looks familiar then it’s because it’s an exact replica of the hand on the Big Buddha itself.

Lingshan Buddhist Scenic Spot (灵山大佛)View In Map
Add: Inside the national holiday resort area of Taihu, Wuxi
地址:无锡太湖国家旅游度假区内
Ticket price: 180 RMB per person. The ticket includes entrance to: Lingshan Great Buddha, Nine Dragons Bathing the Baby Buddha, Buddhist Palace as well as entrance to see the carrying out of The Prayer for Auspiciousness. Children’s tickets are 90 RMB.
Opening hours: Daily, 07:30-17:30
Website: http://www.lingshan.org/ls/jindian.html (in English)
Getting there:
By bus: Bus lines 88 and 89 from Wuxi train station all goes to the scenic spot.


 

2) Lingshan Buddhist Palace
The Buddhist Palace of Lingshan is one of the most impressive pieces of architecture in the area. The palace, which is built primarily in stone, is situated right on the Taihu Lake facing the massive structure of the Big Buddha, making the palace a very impressive site indeed. The palace occupies no less than 70,000 square metres, and the façade is 150 meters wide. The somewhat peculiar style of colonnades, beam columns and lofty domes which dominates the palace is meant to symbolise the deep and profound knowledge and sublimity of Buddhism as well as being a mix of traditional and new styles. 

Inside the palace you will find a host of cultural artifacts spanning the history of China. These include woodcarvings from Dongyang, wall paintings from Dunhuang, coloured glaze products, embossed frescos, lacquer ware from Yangzhou, cloisonné lamps as well as ceramics from the famous china factories in Jingdezhen.

Please note:
1) When touring the Buddhist Palace you must wear a shoe cover which will be available onsite.
2) The third floor of the Buddhist Palace is a rather big buffet dining area. It is open between 10:30-14:30. It costs 38 RMB per person.
3) The Buddhist Palace stages a large scale performance called The Prayer for Auspiciousness four times a day. This performance is very interesting and worth a look.

Lingshan Buddhist Palace (灵山梵宫)View In Map
Add: Inside the Lingshan Buddhist Scenic Spot in Wuxi.
地址:无锡灵山大佛景区内
Ticket Price: The Buddhist Palace is included in the ticket for the Lingshan Buddhist Scenic Spot.
Opening hours: Daily, 07:30-17:30
Website: http://www.lingshan.org/ls/jindian.html (in English)
Getting there:
By bus: Bus lines 88 and 89 from Wuxi train station all goes to the scenic spot.

3) Nanchan Temple
Nanchan Temple was built in the Tang Dynasty and is the oldest surviving temple building in China today. It is located 22 kilometres southwest of Wutai County city in the village of Lijiazhuang. Even if it is impossible to scientifically prove the time of temple’s erection, historical records from the time states that it was rebuilt during the reign of the Dezong Emperor of the Tang Dynasty (782ac). This temple, with a history of over 1200 years, is a small and exquisite building a lot smaller than many other temples from later times. The temple has three temple halls, among which the Great Buddha Hall is especially worth mentioning since it contains 17 magnificently sculpted Buddha sculptures dating back to the founding of the temple in the Tang Dynasty. Apart from the statues, visitors can also marvel at Tang Dynasty tile carvings as well as stone pagodas and stone lions.

You should also be sure not to miss the beautiful ancient pagoda standing adjacent to the temple. With its seven stories and upturned eaves, the 43.3 meters tall pagoda is a beautiful sight to behold.

Surrounding the temple is a lively market area dealing in antiquities, coins, stamps and birds. The area also has a healthy selection of snack shops, teahouses and hotels.

Nanchan Temple (南禅寺)View In Map
Add: 32 Xiangyang Lu, Wuxi 
地址:无锡向阳路32号
Ticket price: Free
Getting there:
Bus: Bus lines: 24, 313, 40, 53, 67, 81, 85, 105, 201, and 312 all go to Chaoyang Guangchang near the temple.

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Keywords: temples in wuxi travel in wuxi lingshan big Buddha

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