Located in the old city area of Hohhot and built in 1585 for the 3rd Dalai Lama, Xilituzhao Temple features both Tibetan and Chinese style. Xilituzhao Temple (Xilituzhao si, or Xiaozhao si), containing the residence of the 11th Grand Living Buddha, is the largest temple in town.
The Xilituzhao Temple is similar to the Dazhao Temple in terms of architecture and shape, originally built in the Ming Dynasty (1468-1644 AD) as well. It was, however, razed to the ground by fire and then rebuilt in the nineteenth century, then partially destroyed in the Cultural Revolution (1966-76 AD), before again being restored. Xilituzhao remains active, and has, since 1735, always acted as the official residence of the Living Buddha, who reins over Buddhist religious affairs in the city.
The new restoration is a work of art, with much of the temple structures left with attractive bare wood or painted in quiet reds and greens, that differentiates it from the other temple and many temples of its type around China. On entering nowadays you may come across Tibetan monks and followers in prayer; you may get the chance to see one of the temple festivals, where traditional instruments are played; you may get the chance to head underneath the temple, where caverns contain graphic depictions of the tortures that will be metered out for those who are sinners in this life, a sort of Tibetan Buddhist version of hell. It is sometimes possible to find a monk who can speak English and can take you around.
Tips: From the intersection of Tongdao nanjie and Zhongshan lu (at the Great Mosque), head southwards along Danan jie and the temple will be on your left.
Shanghai, Huangshan Mountain, Wuyuan, Jingdezhen, Beijing
Beijing, Shanghai, Suzhou, Hangzhou, Xi'an, Guilin, (Hong Kong)
Beijing, Xi’an, Shanghai, Guilin
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