Jing'an Temple

The Oldest Temple in Shanghai

Jing'an Temple is located in the prosperous Jing'an District in the city center of Shanghai. The entire building area is 22,000 ㎡. The whole temple is composed of three main buildings which are the Mahavira Hall, the Hall of Heavenly Kings, and the Triple Saints’ Hall, having the structure of the shrines being at the front and the pagodas at the rear. In the legend, it is said to have been first built during the Chiwu reign of Emperor Sui Quan in the period of the three kingdoms (A.D.247). Its original name was Hudu Zhongxuan Temple but it was renamed Jing'an Temple in the first year of the Dazhongxiangfu reign of the Song dynasty (A.D.1008). Now it has become the Oldest Temple in Shanghai. The architectural style of the temple is integrated with the Tibetan style, which is rarely seen in the eastern part of China. The silver Buddha enshrined in the Mahavira Hall weighs 15 tons. The jade Buddha in the Muny Hall is larger than that in Shanghai’s Jade Buddha Temple.

Quick Facts
  • Chinese name: 静安寺 Jìng Ān Sì
  • Duration: 1 hour
  • Entrance Fee: RMB 50
  • Opening hours: 7 : 30-17 : 00
  • Best time to visit: All year round
  • Address: No.1686, Naning West Road, Jing’an District, Shanghai City
  • How to get there:
    Bus Lines: Take No.15, 20, 40, 45, 57, 76, 93, 94, 113, 315, 321, 327, 330, 824, 830, 838, 921 and 927 and get off at the station of Jing'an Temple.
    Subway lines: Take Line 2 or 7 and get off at the station of Jing'an Temple.

Highlights of Jing'an Temple

After you enter the temple, there is a square with a large censer cast with 15 tons of white copper in the center. In other temples, most halls are located on the medial axis. However in the Jing'an Temple, the Hall enshrining Bodhisattva is connected with the room for monks to do homework, encircling the square. There are two floors for you to visit from the bottom up.

The First Floor

At the right side on the first floor is the east wing room with the Bodhisattva Hall. Inside the Hall stands a 6.2 meter tall Bodhisattva statue made of millennial camphorwood. The west wing room at the left side has the Muny Hall. A 3.87 meter tall jade statue of Sakyamuni is enshrined in it and is larger than the jade Buddha in the Jade Buddha Building of the Jade Buddha Temple. It was too large to be brought into the Temple so that the temple gate had to be demolished in order to bring it in.

At the north-west corner on the first floor is the Jing’an Pagoda. The top of the Pagoda is decorated with a Tibetan-style four-sided Pagoda, which enshrines 868 Buddhist statues and many esoteric treasures. However the Pagoda can only be seen from the outside.

The Second Floor

On the second floor you can see a gate in the south, and the Hall of Heavenly Kings. On either side of the Hall of Heavenly Kings are the Drum Tower and the Bell Tower. However, the red drum and bell can only been seen from windows or through cracks. On the east and west side of the second floor are many rooms for monks to do homework or perform ceremonies. Please do not disturb them. On the north side of the second floor is a great hall, the Mahavira Hall, which is to teach about Buddhism. Inside the Hall is enshrined the Tathagata statue made of 15 tons of silver. The three-dimensional paintings on the back of the Buddhist statue are very exquisite and precious. To tell the Buddhist stories, they are made up of jewels, corals, shells, jades and pearls according to their colors with golden foil stuck onto the lotus-shaped frames.

In the Jing'an Temple, the halls are copper-tiled. At the doorway, the four-sided statue of roaring lions on the high column is golden. The pagodas behind the temple are covered with gold on the top. Observed from a distance, the golden roofs glisten in the sunshine.

By Shirley Li
Web Editor