Nanhua Temple

Nanhua Temple is a famous Buddhist site, where the sixth founder of the Buddhism generation in Tang Dynasty (618-907), Hui Neng, established the southern sect of Zen. It is located in Maba Town, Qujiang District, about 22 kilometers (14 miles) southeast from downtown Shaoguan. With a history of over 1,500 years, the temple contains many national treasures, including the Da Zang Sutra, decree and cassock of a thousand years ago.

Leaning against mountains, the south-facing temple covers an area of more than 42.5 hectares (105 acres). It has a set of magnificent Buddhist buildings, including the Hall of Heavenly Kings, the Grand Hall, Sutra Depository, Sixth Ancestor Hall, Lingzhao Pagoda and 690 Buddhist statues. Most of the buildings were renovated in 1934 as the original temple was damaged several times. The new one preserves the distinctive characteristics of Chinese ancient architecture and the buildings are rhythmically arrayed along the central axis.

The majestic Hall of Heavenly Kings was originally built in 1474 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and rebuilt in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The statue of Maitreya is enshrined in the hall and the mighty statues of the four Heavenly Kings holding religious objects stand on both sides of the statue of Maitreya. Behind the hall is a three-storey bell tower which was constructed in 1301 of the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). On top of the bell tower, there hangs a brass bell from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The massive bell is 2.75 meters (9 feet) high with a diameter of 1.8 meters (5.9 feet).

The Grand Hall, constructed in 1306 during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368), stands in the center of the temple. Covered by glazed tiles, the grandiosity of the building is inferior to none in the Buddhist constructions of Guangdong Province. The sublime statues of Sakyamuni, Medicine Buddha and Amitabha are situated in the sacrarium of the hall. The gilded figures are all over 8.3 meters (27 feet) high, giving a feeling of loftiness and magnificence. Besides, there are about 500 fine clay sculptures of Buddhist arhats inside the hall. With a wavy sea sculpted out of clay as the background, the clay sculptures mix with the lofty mountains and seas, expressing profound Buddhist meaning.

The temple holds many precious cultural relics; the most precious being the statue of Hui Neng, which is worshiped in the Sixth Ancestor Hall. There are 360 Buddhist arhats figures which are the only Chinese wooden carvings preserved from the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). It is notable that the lifelike figures have been made by highly-skilled carvers and each of them has a distinct sitting posture, representing the different characters of the arhats. Some were engraved with epigraphs which are of high value. The rare cassock trimmed with dainty embroidery of over 1,000 Buddhist figures is also worth mentioning. Many of the valuable cultural relics being kept in the temple are national treasure and significant in the study of Chinese architecture, sculpture, painting and Buddhism.

Admission Fee: CNY 20
Transportation: By Bus from Shaoguan City: There are buses leading to the Nanhua Temple in Shaohua Hotel which is near the Shaoguan Railway Station.
By Coach from Guangzhou: There are luxurious coaches in Guangyuan Coach Station and Guangzhou Coach Station taking to the temple.

- Last updated on Sep. 19, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on Nanhua Temple
Asked by Robert Lui from CANADA | Sep. 16, 2019 10:15Reply
Is there food at the Shaoguan Nanhua temple?
Answers (1)
Answered by Samuel from NEW ZEALAND | Sep. 19, 2019 19:12

You can eat vegetarian food in the temple.
Asked by Inna from NEW ZEALAND | Mar. 26, 2018 18:55Reply
What is the best way to get to Nan Hua Temple from Chengdu? Thanks
Answers (1)
Answered by Bob from FINLAND | Mar. 26, 2018 19:44

You are suggested to take a bullet train from Chengdu East Railway Station to Guangzhou South first, which takes about 10h. After arrival, transfer to another bullet train to Shaoguan East, and it takes about 1h.
From the east railway station there is a special bus line straight to the temple. You can catch it!
Asked by Inna from NEW ZEALAND | Mar. 18, 2018 19:24Reply
Does anyone know if it’s possible to stay at Nanhua Temple for a foreignerfor a few days?
I’d like to travel from New Zealand specifically to meditate and perhaps for some teachings but I speak English only..
Any info is much appreciated.
Answers (1)
Answered by James from CANADA | Mar. 18, 2018 20:06

I’m afraid you can’t stay inside the temple, but many hotels nearby can be a good choice.
As for language problems, don’t worry! English can work everywhere and many other visitors can help you!
Asked by OOI from SINGAPORE | Sep. 09, 2017 10:03Reply
May I know what is the opening hours of Nanhua Temple in Shaoguan for the public?
Also, I heard from another website that bus 23 departs from Shaoguan Railway Station is able to reach the temple. Therefore, may I ask what is the last bus timing of bus 23 to return back to Shaoguan Rail Station from the temple?
Answers (1)
Answered by David from ICELAND | Sep. 10, 2017 21:58

As I know, the temple is open from 8:00 to 18:00. Bus no. 23 will do and the last return bus leaves at 17:45.
Asked by Boon Tiong from SINGAPORE | Jan. 31, 2017 04:32Reply
Does the coach still travel to Nanhua Si from Guangzhou? What is the cost for the direct trip?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kinsley from GERMANY | Jan. 31, 2017 21:54

You can take a coach from Guangzhou Tianhe Bus Station to Shaoguan South Bus Station first. The buses depart are 08:00, 09:00, 10:00, 11:30 and 13:00. The ticket fare is CNY 107 per person. After arriving, take a taxi to the temple. It would cost around CNY 20 in the day time.
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