No. 97: Huacheng Temple, Jiuhuashan, Anhui

(This article was published in the Shenzhen Daily on May 26, 2014.)

The village pond (池) stands in front of Huacheng Temple (化城寺),
said to be the first one built on Jiuhuashan, Anhui (安徽, 九华山).

June 23, 2012 - Across the road from the cable car station below Baisui Gong, there are several small plazas hemmed in by shops and temples. On the far side of one of these, across the large half-moon pond, lies Huacheng Temple, said to be the first Buddhist temple built on Jiuhua Shan.

Founded in 401 by an Indian monk, the temple far predates Jiuhua Shan's association with Dizang (Kshitigarbha) Bodhisattva, which dates only from the death of the Korean monk Jin Qiaojue in 794. Nevertheless, today it is the site of many rituals dedicated to Dizang.

Unlike the remote, atmospheric mountain temples, the entryway to Huacheng was a hurly-burly on this late Saturday afternoon, perhaps due to the many day-trippers from the cities of Anhui north of the mountain.

All the same, the temple was loaded with charm, and not the least of it was in the museum displays in the first hall. Here I saw pictures and artifacts from Jiuhua Shan's history, as well as modern images of its many sights (including quite a few I had already seen).

Moving on into the temple proper, I was delighted by the dark halls and colorful statuary. The flow of devoted visitors lighting incense and performing other rituals only added to the peaceful atmosphere found away from the front gates.

Resting outside again before I started the trek back to my hotel, I watched a local woman set up her charcoal-burning and water-heating operation in front of the now-closed temple's gate. It was just another scene from the life of the village which surrounds this most central of Jiuhua's temples.

GPS Info:
  • 30.4787, 117.80261


(Regarding problems with this map, please see the CHINA section on this page.)


More pictures can be found here.

Huacheng Temple on Jiuhua Shan lies on the far side of a half-moon pond
The first hall of the temple houses a museum
The main courtyard at Huacheng Temple
The interior of the main hall is quite dark.
An historical drawing of the temple shows the half-moon pond

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