No. 8: Qita Temple, Ningbo, Zhejiang

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on February 13, 2012.)

The new halls (殿) at Qita Temple (七塔寺) in Ningbo, Zhejiang (浙江,
宁波市), are a pleasing combination of gray brick and light wood.
August 23, 2009 - After my day in the mountains outside of Ningbo, I finally entered the center of the city itself.

I had lunch at a vegetarian restaurant, then walked back east past the Catholic Church, through Tianyi Square, and across the Fenghua River to my goal, the Qita ("Seven Pagoda") Temple.

Founded in the Tang Dynasty in 858 AD, the temple has gone through many names and reconstructions. It was destroyed during the Taiping Rebellion in the middle of the 19th century, and rebuilt by the Guangxu Emperor of the Qing Dynasty in 1895. At this time, the name of the temple was changed to reflect the seven small pagodas outside the temple's front wall, and it was thenceforth called Qita ("Seven Pagodas") Temple.

The temple suffered again in the Cultural Revolution, and was rebuilt in 1983. It is considered to be one of the major Buddhist temples in eastern Zhejiang Province.

A peculiar story is recorded about the temple. It seems that during the Ming Dynasty, in 1386, a nobleman named Tang He cleared nearby Putuoshan Island (where I had previously visited) of its monks and destroyed its temples; but he brought with him a large statue of Guanyin, and housed it at what is now Qita Temple.

Although that statue is long gone, the main hall is still graced by a beautiful statue of Guanyin.

The entire temple, although new, is one of the most beautiful I have seen, with black tile roofs, gray brick walls, and lacquered but unstained woodwork. There are some old trees surrounding these modern structures to lend an air of authenticity.

The Guanyin in the Drum Tower, and the Dizang in the Bell Tower, are especially fine Bodhisattva statues, in natural wood finishes.

After paying them homage, I headed back to Beilun.

GPS Info:
  • 29.864709, 121.567462



Some of the seven pagodas in front of Qita Temple
Gateway in front of the Heavenly Kings' Hall
Courtyard: Drum Tower (left) and Main Hall
Guanyin statue in the Drum Tower
Dizang statue in the Bell Tower
A small courtyard with bonsai tree
Guanyin statue in the Main Hall, descendent of the famed original

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