Introduction of Hanging Temple
Chinese Name: Xuankongsi (悬空寺)
Location: Western side of Mount Heng
Opening Hours: Summer: 8:00 AM - 6:00 PM; Winter: 8:30 AM - 5:30 PM
Recommended Visiting Time: 1-3 hours
The Hanging Temple, located in Shanxi Province, China, was originally called "Xuankong Ge" (Suspended Monastery) because it appears to hang from a cliff. It combines elements of Chinese Taoism and Buddhism. Built during the late Northern Wei Dynasty (491 AD), it is over 1,500 years old. The temple is known as "China's first aerial tower" and is one of the world's most extraordinary and dangerous buildings. It is the only surviving temple in China that integrates Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. The entire structure is made of wood and is a stunning sight when viewed from below. Despite enduring various dynasties and harsh weather, the temple stands strong, impressing visitors with its thousand-year-old history and its location on the steep cliff.
Features of Hangying Temple
The Hanging Temple of Hengshan stands approximately 50 meters above the ground, showcasing its contribution to the development of Chinese architectural traditions and styles. Its architectural characteristics can be best described with three words: extraordinary, suspended, and ingenious.
The design and location selection of the temple are truly remarkable. The Hanging Temple is nestled within a small basin in a deep mountain gorge, suspended in the middle of a cliff. The cliff's peak, resembling an umbrella, shields the ancient temple from rainwater erosion and prevents it from being flooded during heavy rainfall. The surrounding mountains also provide shade, reducing the exposure to sunlight. The favorable geographical position is a key factor in the exceptional preservation of the Hanging Temple.
The temple comprises 40 halls and pavilions, seemingly supported by several thick wooden columns. However, some of these columns do not bear any weight. The true support lies within the solid rock, ingeniously utilizing the principles of mechanics with half-inserted flying beams as the foundation. This structural ingenuity allows the temple to maintain its suspended appearance.
The Hanging Temple showcases remarkable ingenuity in its construction. It maximizes the natural state of the cliff to strategically arrange and build different parts of the temple. This three-dimensional approach incorporates the layout and architectural elements commonly found in flat temple structures. Mountain gates, bell towers, main halls, and side halls are meticulously incorporated, resulting in an intricately designed and cleverly crafted masterpiece.
Hanging Temple Travel Tips
The Hanging Temple is situated approximately 60 kilometers from downtown Datong, and it takes around 1.5 hours to reach by car. If time is limited, we highly recommend renting a car for a day or joining a guided tour that includes visits to the Hanging Temple, the Wooden Pagoda in Ying County, and the Jingtusi Temple.
Best Visiting Time: The ideal time to visit is between 9-10 am and 3-4 pm when the sunlight directly illuminates the Hanging Temple. These hours offer optimal lighting conditions for capturing breathtaking photos. Please note that these times are approximate and may vary depending on the season and weather. We hope you can capture the enchanting beauty of the well-lit Hanging Temple.
Duration of Visit: A condensed visit can be completed within one hour, allowing you to explore the entire scenic area. If you have more time available, we recommend dedicating around two hours for a more immersive experience of the area.
Guided tours including Yungang Grottoes
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