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Ancient Places / Trip Ideas

Where to pray for luck in China?

By Yuewei Yang

June 26

According to Chinese tradition, burning incense and offering prayers can bring good luck. Here are some of the top spots as holy destinations for prayers. Why not take a culturally intriguing temple tour?

According to Chinese tradition, burning incense and offering prayers can bring good luck. Here are some of the top spots as holy destinations for prayers. Why not take a culturally intriguing temple tour?

It’s popular to throw coins into a pool for good luck. According to Chinese tradition, burning incense and offering prayers in does the same, especially during the Spring Festival.

Whether you believe this or not, why not take a culturally intriguing temple tour? Among the countless temples spread across the country, here are some of the top spots as holy destinations for prayers.

1/7  Nanshan Temple, Hainan  海南南山寺

Nanshan Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Liang Jiaxian]
Nanshan Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Liang Jiaxian]

Nanshan Temple is located in Sanya Nanshan Buddhism Cultural Tourism Zone (三亚南山文化旅游区) which is one of the largest cultural tourist attractions of its kind in China. It has been deemed an auspicious and blessed place in Brahma. A giant 108-meter-tall statue of the Bodhisattva Guanyin, constructed out of gold, diamonds and jade, is the key feature of the temple. It is the world’s tallest outdoor statue of Guanyin.

Entry: 150 yuan/person

Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.

Getting there: Take Xinguo Tourist Line to Nanshan.

2/7  Emei Mountain, Sichuan  四川峨眉山

Emei Mountain [Image Credit: Xinhua]
Emei Mountain [Image Credit: Xinhua]
As one of the four most divine Mountains of Buddhism in China, Mount Emei contains numerous temples and buildings that have borne witness to the development of Buddhism since the religion’s introduction to China over 2,000 years ago. Every morning streams of Buddhist pilgrims armed with joss sticks conquer the steep stairs of the mountain and swarm into the countless temples.

Entry: 185 yuan/person

Opening Hours: 6:00 a.m.- 6:30 p.m.

Getting there: Take a Chengdu-Leshan-Emeishan Intercity High-Speed Train to Emeishan Station, and then change to city bus 5A to this site.

3/7  Jiuhua Mountain, Anhui  安徽九华山

Jiuhua Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Sun Zongkui]
Jiuhua Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Sun Zongkui]
The mountain’s name literally means “nine glorious mountains”. It is not only a sacred Buddhist mountain, but also home to other famous temples that have been revered since ancient times. Visitors are always impressed by the exquisite architecture and grand structure, among which Huacheng Temple (化城寺) is the oldest and holiest.

Entry: 190 yuan/person

Opening Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Getting there: Hefei Tourism Bus Station has regular buses to this mountain hourly from 10:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m.

4/7  Lingyin Temple, Zhejiang  杭州灵隐寺

Lingyin Temple [Image Credit: cfp]
Lingyin Temple [Image Credit: cfp]
With a history of more than 1,600 years, Lingyin Temple is a Buddhist temple situated in the northwest of Hangzhou. Lingyin in Chinese literally means the soul’s retreat, so the temple is also called the Temple of Soul’s Retreat. There are many rock carvings of Buddha on Feilai Peak (飞来峰), where the temple is nestled. Among the carvings, the vivid image of Maitreya, the fat bare-bellied Buddha with a smiling face, has become the symbol of the Lingyin Temple.

Entry: 30 yuan/person

Opening Hours: 7:00 a.m.- 6:15 p.m.

Getting there: Take bus no. Y2, Holiday Line 4, 7, 324 or 807, and get off at Lingyin Station.

5/7  Putuo Mountain, Zhejiang  舟山普陀山

Putuo Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Zheng Yuefang]
Putuo Mountain [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Zheng Yuefang]
Putuo Mountain, sitting on a small island of the Zhoushan Archipelago, is one of China’s four sacred Buddhist Mountains. There are more than 200 temples on the mountain, with Puji (普济寺), Fayu (法雨寺) and Huiji (慧济寺) being the largest and most famous. Travelers can absorb the unique culture through the sculptures, stone carvings and architectural style that is found there.

Entry: Putuo Mountain: 60 yuan

Opening hours: 6:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Getting there: Take the ferry from Ningbo, Zhoushan to Putuo Mountain.

6/7  Wutai Mountain, Shanxi  山西五台山

Wutai Mountain [Image Credit: Chinanews]
Wutai Mountain [Image Credit: Chinanews]
Standing at the northeast part of Shanxi Province, Wutai Mountain is one of the four mountains of China sacred to Buddhism. It has the distinction of having been identified as the most prestigious and oldest one. 360 temples were built here dating back to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) but now only 47 of them exist. Among these magnificent temples, five are the most famous: Xiantong Temple (显通寺), Tayuan Temple (塔院寺), Manjusri Temple (普萨顶), Shuxiang Temple (殊像寺), and Luohou Temple (罗睺寺). Thousands of pilgrims and visitors come here every year.

Entry: 168 yuan/person (April- Oct.); 140 yuan/person (Nov. – March)

Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Getting there: Take bus No.201 to Taiyuan East Long Distance Bus Station, where there are buses to Mount Wutai. It takes about 4 hours to Mount Wutai, and the fare is about 70 yuan per person.

7/7  Yonghe Temple, Beijing  北京雍和宫 

 Yonghe Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Zhang Xiaodong]
Yonghe Temple [Image Credit: photostock.china.com.cn/ Zhang Xiaodong]
Yonghe Temple, situated in the northeast part of downtown Beijing, is the largest and best-preserved lamasery in Beijing. As a famous site of the Lama Buddhist sect, the temple attracts many pilgrims and travelers every day. Based on the belief that incense offerings should be made as early as possible to improve one’s luck for the coming year, thousands of worshipers congregate outside the temple on the eve of Chinese New Year waiting to rush inside on the stroke of midnight.

Entry: 25 yuan/person

Opening Hours: 9:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

Getting there: Take Buses No. 13, 62, 116, 117, 684, or take subway Line 2 or 5 to Yonghegong Lama Temple Station, Exit C.

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