Shuanglin Temple

Shuanglin Temple, Pingyao
Shuanglin Temple
Located in the Qiaotou Village about six kilometers (four miles) to Pingyao Ancient City, the Shuanglin Temple is reputed to be the 'ancient painted sculptures museum'. It houses more than 2,000 colorful sculptures reflecting the exquisite skills of the artisans of the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. In 1997, it was included in the World Heritage List by UNESCO as an important cultural site of Ping Yao City in 1997.

Originally, Shuanglin Temple was called the Zhongdu Temple but it was renamed Shuanglin during the Song Dynasty (960-1127). In Chinese, Shuang means two or double, and Lin, forest. The temple got its name from a Buddhist story. According to the Buddhist sutra, Sakyamuni who was the founder of Buddhism, entered nirvana under two trees; Hence, its name Shuanglin.

Reconstructed in 571, the Shuanglin Temple has a history of about 1,400 years. It consists of ten large and small halls, and the sutra chanting hall and the monks' rooms. The ten halls include the Heavenly Kings' Hall, the Arhats' Hall, the Mahavira Hall (Da Xiong Bao Dian), and the One-Thousand Buddha Hall, the Sakyamuni Hall, the Bodhisattva Hall, the Ti-tsang Bodhisattva Hall, the Guan Yu's Hall and two other halls. Guan Yu was a famous general of Shu during the Period of Three Kingdoms. Later, he would be worshipped as a god.
Painted Sculpture, Shuanglin Temple
Painted Sculpture


Heavenly Kings' Hall in Shuanglin Temple

Standing in front of the Heavenly Kings' Hall, tourists will see the sculptures of the four Heavenly Kings below the eaves of the veranda, which look mighty and magnificent. Below the eaves of the hall hangs a plaque with the three characters 'Tian', 'Zhu' and 'Sheng' written on it. In the Heavenly Kings' Hall, the sculpture of Maitreya is worshiped with two Bodhisattvas attending on his left and right. There are also four Heavenly Kings and eight Bodhisattvas. With a height of three meters (ten feet) each of the four holds a Pipa (a Chinese musical instrument), a sword, a snake or an umbrella in hand. All the sculptures in the hall are vivid and lifelike.

Arhats' Hall in Shuanglin Temple

In the middle of the Arhats' Hall is the sculpture of Kwan-yin with eighteen arhats standing to the left and right. The facial expressions of these arhats differ from each other. With one drunken arhat, another sick, yet another as a dwarf while others fat and thin, they all exemplify the ancient artisans' excellent skills. The mute arhat is the most famous. His face is exaggerated with his eyebrows frowned and lips sealed. It seems that he has seen much unfairness in the world but can not express this to others.

One-thousand Buddha Hall in Shuanglin Temple

In the One-thousand Buddha Hall is enshrined Kwan-yin sitting on the pedestal with her right leg bent and left one stepping on a lotus leaf. The Veda in the hall is reputed to be the best in China and well worth exploring. There are also about 500 sculptures of Bodhisattva in different carriages.
Painted Sculpture, Shuanglin Temple Painted Sculpture, Shuanglin Temple Painted Sculpture, Shuanglin Temple

Sakyamuni Hall and the Bodhisattva Hall in Shuanglin Temple

The Sakyamuni Hall and the Bodhisattva Hall are also two must-sees of the Shuanglin Temple. In the Sakyamuni Hall is the sculpture of Sakyamuni attended, on left and right, by Manjusri and Samantabhadra. The sculptures on the walls depict some stories related to Sakyamuni. The sculpture of One-thousand Hand Kwan-yin is the most renowned in the Bodhisattva Hall while on the walls of the Hall are embedded about 480 sculptures of Bodhisattvas.

How to get to Shuanglin Temple from Pingyao Ancient City

Take Pingyao Bus 108 South Line to Shuanglinsi (Shuanglin Temple).
Entrance Fee CNY 35
Opening Hours Mar. - Nov.: 8:00 - 18:00
Dec. - Feb.: 8:00 - 17:30
Recommended Time for a Visit 1 - 2h

 Recommended tour with the visit to the Shuanglin Temple:
3 Days Pingyao City Tour from $429
Pingyao Day Tour to Wang Family Compound & Shuanglin Temple from $140
More Pingyao Tours
- Last updated on Apr. 08, 2021 -
Questions & Answers on Shuanglin Temple
Asked by Wong Mun Teng from SINGAPORE | May. 28, 2016 09:27Reply
Shuanglin Temple
Are the taxis readily available if i want to go anywhere near outside of Pingyao City?
Answers (3)
Answered by Grace from UNITED KINGDOM | May. 28, 2016 21:55

Yes, you are right. The temple is near the ancient city, about 3 miles. Outside of the north entrance of the ancient city, you can find many taxis are available, and the fare to the temple is about CNY20. Or you can also try the motor tricyle. Rent a bike to cycle to the temple is also a good idea.
Answered by Wong Mun Teng from SINGAPORE | May. 29, 2016 03:46

How much is the tricycle? And how many people on one tricycle? Don't need license right?
Answered by Grace | May. 31, 2016 03:38

Each can hold two passengers. The driver will take you there. Thus, no liscense is required for you.
I remember that the start price is CNY 2-5/person within 2 km. For longer distances, you need to negotiate the fare with the driver before boarding. Have fun! :)
Asked by DALE from USA | Jun. 18, 2014 07:08Reply
How can I get to the Temple by public transportation? Is there a bus?How much is a taxi 1 way?
Answers (5)
Answered by Mina from CANADA | Jun. 18, 2014 22:30

Are you heading for the temple from Pingyao? Well, it is only 6km from Pingyao Railway Station, so it is best to catch a taxi or charter a van with other travelers. The taxi may cost you around CNY20 and you only need pay CNY10 for a chartered van.
Answered by DALE from USA | Jun. 19, 2014 06:27

I want to go to Zhangbi Castle and then Wangs compound. From there I would like to get to the temple. Do I need to go back to Pingyao first or is there a bus?
Answered by Mina | Jun. 19, 2014 22:25

By public trabsportation, you have to go back to PY to transfer. Well, the distance between these attractions is not far, so I recommend you hire a car or mini-van to travel and the driver will stop and take you back from any scenic spot. This shall be a more convenient choice.
Answered by DALE from USA | Jun. 23, 2014 11:15

Thank you. when you say to get a chartered van do you mean a local bus?
How much do you think a driver for the day would be to drive me to these 3 places and wait for me??
Answered by Lily from USA | Jun. 23, 2014 23:02

I once hired a local private from the ancient town to Wangs Compound, then Zhangbi Castle, the Shuanglin Temple and then back to the town and this trip cost me around 220RMB.

I think the chartered van Mina means is the local private car just like what I hired.
Asked by Mr.Thomas from SPAIN | May. 16, 2010 20:17Reply
Do you know when Shuanglin and Zhenguo temples are opened to visitors? Because we want to see them first and then the city.
Is it possible to buy Pingyao ticket (120Y) in these temples or must I buy it in Pingyaos gate?
When are the Gates seller of ticket(120) Pingyao opened?

Thank you for your attention.
Answers (1)
Answered by Mr.Kevin | May. 18, 2010 02:18

Shuanglin Temple: 8:00-17:00. Zhenguo Temple: 8:00-17:30

I don’t know if you can buy the ticket in Shuanglin and Zhenguo Temples. Actually, you can enter the city for free if you don’t want to visit those attractions inside. And you needn’t worry about the opening hours of those attractions. If you can not finish those attractions in one day. You can visit them next day with your ticket. All you need to do is go to an office beside Rishengchang Draft Bank to get your ticket stamped.
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