Zhenguo Temple

Zhenguo Temple Zhenguo Temple

Zhenguo Temple is a Buddhist temple located in the village of Haodongcun, 12 km away from Pingyao. The temple's oldest hall, the Wanfo Hall, was built in 963 during the Northern Han dynasty, and is notable for featuring very large brackets that hold up the roof and flying eaves. The sculptures inside the hall are among the only examples of 10th century Buddhist sculpture in China.

The history of the temple begins in 963, when it was recorded that Wanfo Hall was built. The date is written on a beam in the hall, and is also the date given by a local history of Pingyao county written in the 19th century. A stele written in 1819 also confirms this date. Wanfo Hall is the oldest building at Zhenguo temple, and is the only surviving building that dates from the short-lived Northern Han dynasty. It is a three-bay single-eaves hip and gabled hall that is nearly square in shape, measures 11.6 by 10.8 meters, and is 8.8 m high. The hall contains eleven sculptures from the Northern Han period. These are the only Chinese sculptures from the period that survive from outside the Mogao Grottoes. There is a main statue of Sakyamuni flanked by Bodhisattvas and the Heavenly Kings.

Although little is known of the temple's history, stele record that it was renovated in 1540 and in 1816. In 1997, along with Pingyao city and Shuanglin Temple, the Zhenguo temple was inscribed on the World Heritage list as ‘Ancient City of Pingyao’.

The temple contains two main halls and a gate, with two courtyards in between the three buildings. There is a wall surrounding the entire complex. The temple opens to the south, with the Tianwang Hall acting as the temple’s gate. The next hall, to the north, is the Wanfo Hall, and the final hall is called Sanfo Hall, which dates from the Qing Dynasty. The northern courtyard also features two minor halls facing to the east and west called the Guanyin and Dizang Halls, which both date from the Ming Dynasty. There are also two bell towers located on either side of the Tianwang Hall.

Location: Haodongcun Village, 12 km away from Pingyao
Entrance Fee: RMB 20
Transportation: You can take taxi or rent a bicycle to go to the Temple.

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