Shanhua Monastery (South Temple) in Datong
Attractions Overview: The best-preserved extant Liao and Jin Dynasties temple
Attraction Type: Temple; Cultural
English Name: Shanhua Monastery (South Temple) in Datong
Best Time to Visit: All Year Round
Recommended Visiting Time: 2 Hours
Open Hours: 8:00-18:00 from May 1 to October 14 in summer and 8:00-17:30 from April 30 in winter
Admission Fee: 50 RMB / Person
Address in English: No.6 Nansi Street, Datong City
Address in Chinese: 大同市城区南寺街6号
Why is Shanhua Monastery So Special?
Built in almost 1,000 years ago, Shanhua Temple, also called South Temple, covering an area of more than 13,900 square meters. The temple has the best-preserved extant layout of the Liao (907 – 1125) and Jin (1115 – 1234) Dynasties in China. The temple was originally built during the Tang Dynasty but it was destroyed by war at the end of the Liao Dynasty. During the Jin Dynasty it was rebuilt on a large scale.
Where is Shanhua Monastery?
Shanhua Monastery is a Buddhist temple located in southern part of Datong City. The address of the temple is No.6 Nansi Street, Datong City. And the temple lies about 6 km from Datong Railway Station, and about 19 km from Datong Yungang Airport.
How to Get to Shanhua Monastery?
Travel with China Dragon Tours (top recommended)
If you want to get rid of hustle of transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Shanhua Monastery with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on travel.
For independent travelers you can
By Bus: Tourists can take local bus line 17 to reach Datong Government Station (Da Tong Shi Zheng Fu) and then walk along South Yongtai Road to Beidu Street. Cross a square, one can reach the Shanhua Temple.
By Taxi: Tourists can also take a taxi to the temple directly and the taxi fare is around CNY 7.
Main Attractions in Shanhua Monastery
Shanhua Temple has three main buildings on the north-south axis: the Main Gate, the Hall of the Three Saints and the most important building, Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian). To the west of the Hall of the Three Saints lies the Puxian Pavilion. Kwan-yin Pavilion and Ksitigarbha Pavilion are situated on the two sides of Mahavira Hall.
The Main Gate
The Gate of Shanhua Temple is the main entrance, on both sides of which are the statues of the Four Heavenly Kings, who look solemn and forbidding. Its length is around 27 meters and width is 10 meters.
The Hall of the Three Saints
In the Hall of the Three Saints stand three famous Buddhas: Sakyamuni, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Manjushri Bodhisattva. Four upright tablets are well kept in the halls, which if of great importance in studying the history of Shanhau Temple. It is a typical wooden architecture of the early Jin Dynasty.
The Mahavira Hall is the biggest and the main hall of this temple. It is the only architecture of Liao Dynasty that was not damaged by the years of the war. There are two drum towers on each side of the hall and a wide platform in the front. On the platform, you can see a memorial archway and a pavilion built in the Ming Dynasty.
Useful Travel Tips
- Some Datong attractions such as Nine Dragon Screen, Huayan Temple and Drum Tower are easily to reach from Shanhua Temple.
- Children under 1.2m in height and the elderly over 60 are free of charge.
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- Huayan Temple in Datong
- Yingxian Wooden Pagoda in Datong
- Mount Hengshan in Datong
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