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Xiantong Monastery

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../images/tuku/Xiantong Monastery
../images/tuku/Xiantong Monastery
../images/tuku/Xiantong Monastery
../images/tuku/Xiantong Monastery
../images/tuku/Xiantong Monastery

The Xiantong Monastery (Xiantong Si) distinguishes itself by being the largest of the Wutaishan temples. Built in the Eastern Han Dynasty (25-220 AD), this temple is generally viewed as one of the two oldest temples in China, along with Luoyang's Baima Temple.

The centrepiece for religious activities in the monastery is the Grand Hall (Daxiong baodian), a commodious building that houses a large statue of Sakyamuni, as well as two other top-ranking Buddhas. The large bronze bell here, is sounded on important Buddhist dates, adding to the already solemn religious aura. The Chinese calligraphy on the exterior of the bell is a beautifully executed sutra.

Probably the most glamorous room in the whole complex is the Bronze Hall (Tong dian) which has an interior aptly made completely from bronze. There are said to be over 10,000 bronze Buddhist statues in here, the largest of which is a large portrayal of the Wenshu Buddha (Manjusri, Buddha of Wisdom), seated on a lion. Of the other interesting bronze works in the monastery two pagodas in the central courtyard are particularly intricately patterned.

There are numerous other attractions in this temple. Wandering the seven rows of halls is ideal if you're looking for a relaxing day.