Hanging Temple

Brief Introduction

Located in Hunyuan County, Datong, Shanxi Province, Hanging Temple (also called Hanging Monastery or Xuankong Si) is famous for its ingenious cliffside location. In apparent defiance of gravity, interestingly, the temple is dedicated to not just one religion, but three: Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism. It is quite rare to see the saints of the three religions being enshrined in one temple. It is said that this is also part of the reason this temple can survive the vicissitude of dynasties in the history.

It is said that the Hanging Temple was built by a monk called Liao Ran during the Northern Wei Dynasty (A.D. 491) and has a long history . Its most attractive part is that the whole temple is protruding from the cliff of  Peak .It’a truly amazing feat of engineering and one of the world’s forgotten wonders.

Times magazine selected the Hanging Temple as one of the Top 10 Unique and Precipitous Architectures in 2010.

Why Visit the Hanging Temple?

1.it’s great miracle of architecture

The whole temple is a wooden frame structure , and the Temple was built to reassure people who were afraid that it would fall down. What actually support the temple are the 27 cantilevers inserted deeply into the cliff-side. The top of the cantilever beams is jacked with wedges. When they are put into the holes drilled on the wall, the wedges will firmly stick on the stone walls, which are similar to today’s expansion bolts. The deeper they are drilled, the more firmly they are fixed.

2. it’s unusual design for location

The design is also the temple’s highlights.it consists of 40 rooms linked by a dizzying maze of passageways .It’s located at the inward concave of the cliff and the protruding part is like an umbrella, which makes the temple free from the impact of rain and falling rocks. the condition also takes part in helping the temple avoid the risk of being flooded

3.it’s the only existing temple which is dedicated to three regions

The most outstanding feature of the Hanging Monastery is the side-by-side sculptures of Laozi, Confucius, and Shakyamuni — the founders of the three main religions of China: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism, respectively.The temple has a fine collection of religious statues , 80 in all , including statues in bronze, iron, terracotta, and stone. All are remarkably true-to-life.

Highlights of the Hanging Temple

The Hanging Monastery consists of two pavilions, a bridge, and 40 halls. It’s 32 meters long in total. Here are its three highlights:

  • The South Pavilion is three-story, 8 meters (26 feet) long and 4 meters (13 feet) wide. This pavilion holds the biggest hall and the tallest sculptures of the temple.
  • The North Pavilion is also three-story, 4 meters in width, but 7 meters (23 feet) in length. Inside this pavilion a typical hall on the third floor holds statues of the three Chinese traditional religious founders: Confucius left, Laozi right, and Shakyamuni in the center.
  • The Long Bridge, connecting the two pavilions, is about 10 meters (30 ft) long. There is a pavilion above the bridge with a hall for worshiping statues.

You can visit the Hanging Temple all year around, but considering the Datong weather, we truly recommend visit  the temple in March to mid-June or mid-September to November.and the temlpeorder to protect the temple, the number of visitors is limited to 80 in the temple at a time. Therefore, it is recommended to visit the Hanging Temple early in the morning to avoid long waits especially in the high travel seasons (summer and holidays).

  • Open:8am to 6pm from June to October, otherwise 8:30am to 5:30pm
  • Recommended visit duration:2–3 hours

Contact us and we will customize a Datong tour including the Hanging Temple for you.

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