Yuantong Temple

Yuantong Temple is at the foot of Yuantong Hill in the northern part of Kunming. With a history of more than 1,200 years, it is one of the grandest as well as the most important Buddhist temple in Yunnan Province. King Yimouxun of the Nanzhao Kingdom built it during the late eighth century as a continuation of Putuoluo Temple, and the restorations  performed from the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) onward had not changed its unique mixed architectural style of the Yuan (1271 - 1368) and Ming (1644 - 1911) Dynasties.

Unlike all other Buddhist temples, which are built on an ascendant, you enter Yuantong Temple from above and descend along a gently sloping garden path. The view before you starting your peaceful walk beneath the gigantic cypress trees that line the garden path to the temple with its extensive array of flowers and foliage is deeply restful and impressive. A memorial archway with four Chinese characters -Yuantong Shengjing (Yuantong Wonderland)-is standing on the halfway; you can see the entire temple from here.
 

Yuantong Hall

The temple complex is built around Yuantong Hall (Mahavira Hall), which is known as the Fane on the Water for it is surrounded by a very large pond filled with limpid water and fish. A delicate stone bridge which has an elegant octagonal pavilion stands in the center connects Mahavira Hall and the Yuantong Temple entrance. The pavilion is connected to the rest of the complex by various bridges and walkways.
 

Yuan Dynasty Statues

Sakymuni, Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha, all Yuan Dynasty statues, are found in the main hall. The surrounding 500 Buddhist Arhats who are carved in the walls are rare treasures noted for their perfect proportions and lively appearances. Also in this hall are two ten meter high pillars from the Ming Dynasty that are each engraved with a dragon - one yellow and one green - who are trying to extend their bodies and claws into the air as if they are ready to fly. Like the Arhats, they impart the feeling that at any moment they could spring into action.
 

Stone Staircases

Outside, on each side of the main hall, there are stone staircases that are carved out of the mountainside and wind their way to the top of the hill. As you climb these stairs, there are ancient inscriptions along the way and various tone artworks that are considered the most important historical relics in Kunming. From the top of the stairs, you are presented with a terrific panoramic view of the entire complex. It is from here that you can most appreciate the architecture of the remarkable temple complex.
 

Copper Buddha Hall

In 1982, Thai Buddhists sent a copper statue of Sakymuni to Yuantong Temple as a symbol of friendship, and the statue is three and a half meters high and four tons in weight. A few years later, in 1985, a Copper Buddha Hall was built in a combination of Chinese and Tai styles to house this exquisite gift.
 

Buddhist Scriptures

Surrounding the temple pond are a series of halls where you will find old women praying, people sitting and chatting, ongoing classes in Buddhist scriptures, a magnificent calligraphy studio, an exhibit of temple photographs taken at the end of the Qing Dynasty by Auguste de Francois, a shop, a restaurant, and more.

Yuantong Temple is a working temple that also represents the Buddhism of China today. Along with the patronage of the local people of Kunming and Yunnan in general, Buddhists from around the world come here on pilgrimages to pay homage, there are special Buddhist services two times each month, and the Buddhist Association of Yunnan Province is located here. This temple plays a very important role in history and in the modern world.
 

How to get to Yuantong Temple

1. Take Subway Line 2 to Chuanxingulou and walk west for about 15mins to the Yuantong Temple.
2. Take bus 85, 92, 95, 100, 101, 119, 187, 235 or Z5 to Yuantongjie.
3. Take bus 4, 59, 74, 83, 129, 234, A2, or Z63 to Yuantongshan.
Kunming Bus / Subway Search

Entrance Fee CNY 6
Opening Hours 8:00 - 18:00
- Last modified on May. 25, 2017 -
Questions & Answers on Yuantong Temple
Asked by Tang from THAILAND | May. 23, 2017 03:47Reply
I will travelling to Kunming in this June and start from Main Railway Station at 2 p.m
And go back to the railway station at 8p.m. Can you suggest an attraction and resturant near by the railway station and bus no for me?
Thank you
Answers (1)
Answered by Lina from RUSSIA | May. 25, 2017 04:28
00Reply


As I know, Cuihu Park is only about 5 kilometers from the Main Railway Station. You can take bus no.2 at Zhanqian Road Bus Stop to Wuyi Crossing Bus Stop. Upon arrival, you may walk 80 meters ahead along Middle Renmin Road and turn right to JInghong Street for about 270 metrs to the park. There are many restaurants near the station, and you may find them when you get out. Therefore, you may choice one as your willingness.
Asked by CITRA_ONG | Jan. 15, 2017 12:51Reply
I stay at Glad Inn nearby to Kunming Railway station
I wish to visit Dianchi Lake, Jinbi Square and Yuantong Temple. Can you suggest me a best route and bus no for me. Thanks
Answers (3)
Answered by CITRA_ONG | Jan. 15, 2017 12:58
00Reply


How about the bus fare, is it same for every route?
Answered by Rick from UNITED KINGDOM | Jan. 16, 2017 03:26
20Reply


You are suggested to follow this route: Yuantong Temple - Jinbi Square - Dianchi Lake.
To YT Temple: take metro line 1 from the railway station to South Ring Road Station, then transfer to line 2 to Chuanxin Gulou Station. Walk westwards for 850 yards to the temple. (Metro fare: CNY4)
To Jinbi Square: take a taxi from the temple to the square at a cost of CNY10.
To Dianchi Lake: take bus no. 73 from Jinma Fang Station to Haigeng Park Station and then start your visit of the lake. (Bus fare: CNY2)
Answered by CITRA_ONG | Jan. 16, 2017 05:41
00Reply


Hi Rick,

Thank you so much for the suggestion.
Asked by EK from THAILAND | Nov. 23, 2016 11:54Reply
We will be back from Stone Forest and want to travel for further to Yuantong Temple.
So, from East Bus Station, how to go to the temple? What is the bus number or how much is the taxi fare and how long to reach the temple?
Answers (1)
Answered by Danny from USA | Nov. 24, 2016 01:16
10Reply


Take bus line 22 or 29 from East Bus Station to North Huancheng Road Station. Then, switch to bus line 85 to Yuantong Street Station, and you can see it. The trip takes about 45 minutes. The bus fare totals CNY 3.

If by taxi, the fare may be around CNY 25, and it takes 15 to 20 minutes.
Asked by luna yoko from INDONESIA | Nov. 22, 2016 02:45Reply
I am travelling to Kunming January 2017,and would like to see cherry blossom near the Yuantong.
Am i able to see them in January? And how to get the Yuantong Temple from train station? whether yuantong close to Green lake Park ?
Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Cheryl from UNITED KINGDOM | Nov. 23, 2016 00:29
00Reply


Well, the cherry blossom starts to bloom at the end of February, and is in full bloom in March and April. I am afraid that you cannot see them in January.

To the temple, take bus line 83 from Kunming Railway Station (Beijing Road) Station to Yuantong Mountain Station. Then, walk west for about 500 yards to the temple.

The Green Lake Park is about 0.9 mile to the west of the temple. You may take bus line 100 or 235 from Yuantong Street station to North Cuihu Road Station. Then, walk south for about 150 yards to the park.
Ask a Question
Question Summary (100 characters)
Details (optional) (2,000 characters)