Nansha Tin Hau Palace (Nansha Mazu Temple)
Facing the Lingdingyang (Lingding Ocean), the mouth of the Pearl River, Nansha Tin Hau Palace is a mazu temple on the southeastern slope of the Dajiao Mountain in Guangzhou City and covers about 100 hectares (247.1 acres). The architecture combines both the style of the Forbidden City in Beijing and the sublimity of Dr. Sun Yat-sen's Mausoleum in Nanjing. It is the largest palace compound of its category in the world. It is reputed as the 'First Tin Hau Palace under Heaven' and the biggest Mazu Temple in southeastern Asia.
History of Nansha Tin Hau Palace
Nansha Tin Hau Palace was built to worship the Goddess of sea, also called Mazu (or Tianhou in Chinese, literally meaning Heavenly Empress) by the people, whose real name is Linmo (960-987). There are many touching stories about her helping people in shipwrecks, so she was thought to be the incarnation of the goddess of sea and was paid homage by over 100 million believers in more than twenty countries.
This palace was first built in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), then was renovated during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1737-1795) in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), but was later ruined. The one we see now was rebuilt in 1994 and completed in 1996.
Tin Hau Square
When you arrive at Nansha Tin Hau Palace, you will first reach the Tin Hau Square which covers an area of 1.5 hectares (about 3.7 acres). At the center of the square stands a huge statue of the Goddess. The statue faces the Lingdingyang and is about 14.5 meters (about 47.6 feet) high, made of 365 pieces of granite. It symbolizes that mazu could bless fishermen and bring favorable weather for the whole year.
The Memorial Archway
Behind the square is the memorial archway, on which the name of the palace is written over the top, and some inscriptions written on both sides. Once you have gone through it, you will come to the main gate where honored the statues of two legendary immortals, Clairvoyance (thousand-mile eye) and clairaudience (wind-accompanying ear).
Hall of Blessing & Main Hall
Walking up the flagged path after entering the gate, you will come to the Hall of Blessing where a statue of the heavenly empress is honored. She is guarded by four Dragon Kings (the Gods of the sea) holding up a jade tablet and standing at each side. Then comes the Main Hall, the center of the whole palace. In the hall, two statues of the Goddess are honored in a shrine. One is 3.8 meters (about 12.5 feet) high, plated and carved from the fragrant sandalwood. The other is known as 'soft-body' statue, whose hand and foot joints are movable. The entire Main Hall is filled with a sense of benevolence and majesty, rectitude and holiness. Behind it is the Resting Hall, the living room of the Goddess, where a sitting sculpture of the goddess is displayed together with some simple instruments of her daily life.
At the very back of the Nansha Tin Hau Palace is the Nanling Tower, an 8-storey building. It rises to a height of 45 meters (about 148 feet) and is the highest point of the whole palace. There is an unwritten folklore spread widely among Chinese people that the code of a God is singular, while that of a Goddess is plural. Because of that, the number of all stories, steps and tiles there is plural.
Dajiao Mountain Forts
In addition, there are seven forts together called Dajiao Mountain Forts in Nansha Tin Hau Palace, which have been listed as national priority cultural relic protection sites in 1982. Additionally, the Free Life Pond is also worth a visit, where tourists could set free small creatures. Every year, this place attracts a lot of visitors by its charming scenic beauty and classical buildings. It definitely deserves a visit on your trip to Guangzhou.
How to get to Nansha Tin Hau Palace
2. Take bus Nan 4/ Nan 54 to Tianhougong Dongmen (East Gate of the palace).
3. Take bus Nan 3/ Nan 5/ Nan 18/ Nan 19/ Nan 53 to Nanshanwan and walk south for 10 minutes to get there.
Guangzhou Bus / Metro Search
|Entrance Fee||CNY 20|
|Opening Hours||08:30 - 17:00|
What is the schedule of the bus going there and coming back?
Actually, you can take bus Nansha 4 Line to reach its terminal at Jinzhou Station. Jinzhou Station is not the first station of this line, but its terminal is the east gate of this palace.