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Tonghuai Temple of Guan Yu and Yue Fei

Tonghuai Temple of Guan Yu and Yue Fei
By Nikita Jaeger

TP 202005 CHINA 01The Tonghuai temple of Guan Yu and Yue Fei is a small but vibrant temple located in the heart of ancient Quanzhou on Tumen Street. The temple is a type of martial temple, meaning that exceptional leaders in the military and in warfare, other than kings, are the deities worshipped here.


Guan Yu was the primary deity in these temples during the Qing dynasty, and Yue Fei was another national military hero who defended the Southern Song dynasty from Jurchen Jin. From 1912, after the establishment of the Republic of China, both of them worshipped here鈥撯 hence the name of the temple. Although the Chinese no longer officially promote martial temples, these temples still hold an immense cultural significance in Fujian province.


The strong scent of incense will lead you directly to the entrance of the temple. You will notice a distinct hint of southern Fujian architecture in the temple鈥檚 intricate wood carvings and clay sculptures. The premises are packed with incense sellers, but you will feel a pious vibe as soon as you step through the gate. The beauty of the temple is further enhanced in the dark of night when yellow light highlights the carved nuances of the structure.


You can combine your visit to the temple with a visit to other notable places in the city.




Reaching There

TP 202005 CHINA 08The Tonghuai Temple of Guan Yu and Yue Fei, located in Quanzhou, is about 2,035 km from Beijing and 940 km from Shanghai. You can reach Tonghuai Temple from Beijing by train, car, or air, or by a combination of two modes of transport.


Flight: Flying from Beijing to Quanzhou is the fastest option, and a one-way ticket will cost you around CNY 800鈥1,000. The flight takes about 3 hours.


Train: Chinese railways operate trains from Beijing South to Quanzhou. One train departs at 8:40 a.m. and another at 12:05 p.m.. 2nd class tickets cost CNY 780 and 1st class tickets cost CNY 1,300. However, the journey takes an average of 10.5 hours.


Combination: You can take a train from Beijing to Tianjin Station, and then take a flight from Tianjin Binhai Airport to Quanzhou, which will cost you a total of about CNY 1080. You can also fly from Beijing to Xiamen on a 3-hour flight, followed by a short taxi ride to Gaoqi. From Gaoqi, you can take the subway to Xiamen North, and another subway to Quanzhou. If you plan a trip like this, it will cost you approximately CNY 930.






Around Guan Yu Temple


Kaiyuan Temple


TP 202005 CHINA 01 2The Kaiyuan Temple is a renowned Buddhist temple built in 686 during the Tang dynasty. Restorations have transformed it into a complete complex, with notable monuments including Tianwang Hall, Gongde Tang, Daxiong palace, and the Sutra Depository. The main temple has 34 Buddhas, angels, and columns.


寮鍏冨鍗犲湴闈㈢Н78000 骞虫柟绫炽傚畠瑙勬ā瀹忓ぇ锛屾瀯绛戝.瑙傦紝鏅壊浼樼編锛屾浘涓庢礇闃崇櫧椹銆佹澀宸炵伒闅愬銆佸寳浜箍娴庡榻愬悕銆


Qingyuan Mountain National Park


TP 202005 CHINA 02This national park has three significant spots: Mount Qingyuan itself, Mount Ling, and Mount Jiuri. The place is brimming with cultural artefacts of Taoist and Buddhist sculptures, and also contains the shrine of Master Honyi. It has the 鈥淔our Superlatives鈥, namely, the statue of Laozi, statues of Buddha for Three Lives, holy Islamic tombs, and 鈥淧ray for Wind鈥 stone inscriptions.




Qingjing Mosque


TP 202005 CHINA 03The oldest Arabic style mosque in China, which sprawls across 2,500 km2, acts as a symbol of friendship between China and Arabic countries. The south-facing gate consists of four archways made of white granite and diabase. It has several symbolic carvings. You can also find a large platform in the mosque complex for viewing the Ramadan crescent. There are two more stone tablets mentioning the reconstruction timelines of the mosque, and another with the imperial edict of Zhu Di, the protector of Islam in China, engraved. There is also a central prayer hall, Mingshan Hall, which bears the Chinese architectural influence.




Chongwu Ancient Town


TP 202005 CHINA 0450 km east of Quanzhou is the coastal town of Chongwu, also known as 'the natural film studio' and 'Beidaihe of the South.' It was initially a defence town with a granite wall for protection against Japanese pirates, and it has a uniquely intriguing architecture. The government is actively turning it into a tourist hub, promoting famous scenic spots along the coastline of the town.




Cao鈥檃n Temple


TP 202005 CHINA 05Cao鈥檃n is a Manichean temple which is thought to be the only intact Manichean building that has survived. It has a stone statue of Prophet Mani, known as the 'Buddha of Light', who founded Manichaeism. Although it was originally a straw hut, since its restoration the temple is similar in structure to a Buddhist temple.




Xunbu Village


TP 202005 CHINA 06Located about 10 km from the city, the fishing village Ximnbu Village is known for its oyster shrimp and red sturgeon. The natives of the village are initially descendants of Arabs who settled here when entering Quanzhou from the port during the Song dynasty. You can notice some traditional houses- 'Keke cuo,' constructed with oyster shells. Have a conversation with an elderly granny who will tell you all the stories of ancient times while flaunting their extravagant head ornaments.






Quanzhou is one of the three great cities in Fujian, and rightly so due to its unique treasures of history and culture. You can spend days exploring the monuments and religious sites or just walking around the streets and discovering lip-smacking local food dishes. If you want to take in the true spirit of the city, use public transport, or if you are on a tight deadline, maybe just hire a private car and embark on your planned adventures.

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